Tennis Elbow Treatment – Causes, Surgery, Exercises

I’m Nick Ferran. I’m a Consultant- Trauma & Orthopedic Surgeon specializing in shoulder and elbow surgery. I’m passionate about delivering Awake Shoulder & Elbow surgery under regional anesthesia where appropriate and have interests in treating conditions such as Frozen Shoulder, Rotator Cuff tears, fractures and dislocations around the
clavicle, shoulder and elbow and nerve problems such as Cubital Tunnel Syndrome and Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. If you have any of these problems or want a consultation about your shoulder or elbow, please get in touch with our
Practice Management team. Tennis elbow is a common condition patients often ask me about. It usually is signified by pain on the outside of the elbow which has a gradual onset… and usually is not due to trauma or injury. Tennis elbow can sometimes be referred to as Tendinitis or Tendinopathy. The proper name is Lateral Epicondylitis. And although this term suggests that
inflammation is the problem, we now know that it is not. Tennis elbow is a degenerate condition that occurs in one of the tendons that attaches onto the outside of the elbow. There are many ways to treat this..
and certainly in the early phases pain killers including anti-inflammatories and over-the-counter
splints would allow patients to self-treat and manage their symptoms. In more
severe cases, the first step would be physiotherapy and seeing a
physiotherapist for a three month course of exercises to strengthen the tendons
and stretch them usually relieves symptoms. And we can often reassure
patients that their symptoms should improve within a year. In the past we
quite commonly treated tennis elbow with steroid injections. But most recent
evidence has shown that steroid injections are bad for tennis elbow and
can make patients worse off than if they weren’t treated at all. So I try to
recommend to my patients not to have steroid injections for your Tennis Elbow
as this produces some short-term good goals in terms of improved pain but in
the long run the pain can come back and often be worse off than before the
injection. If patients don’t respond to conservative management such as
painkillers splinting or physiotherapy then I recommend keyhole surgery to take
away or debride the damaged degenerated tendon and this often can relieve symptoms and have patients back to normal activity
within about three months. If you think you have tennis elbow, get in touch with
our practice manager and book an appointment for a consultation and we
can work out a treatment plan that’s right for you. Tennis elbow is a degenerate condition
involving one of the tendons on the outside of the elbow which can cause
significant pain. It usually affects patients who have either repetitive jobs
or certain sporting activities including tennis which put repetitive strain on
the tendon. Because this is a degenerative process, it can’t be cured but it’s
usually self-limiting in that the pain gets better on its own usually within a
year. And there are lots of treatments the patients can have to try to help
with their symptoms. The most obvious one is activity modification and that is
avoiding the activities that cause the pain. They can try painkillers to help
control the pain and often where they can purchase over-the-counter tennis
elbow splints, these must be worn properly and I’d recommend the patients
followed the advice leaflet that’s provided so that they’re worn in the
correct position and only during activity. Physiotherapy, however, has been
proven to improve symptoms of tennis elbow and that’s usually the first line
of treatment so that most patients can avoid surgical intervention. But if you
do need surgery I would often recommend keyhole surgery to debride the damaged
tendon and that often gets patients back to activity within three months.