If you’re experiencing outer elbow pain, it’s very likely you have tennis elbow, which is an inflammation of the tendons on the outside of your elbow. The experienced team at Star Health & Aesthetics, can determine if your elbow pain is due to tennis elbow and provide the most appropriate treatment.
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What is Tennis elbow?
It is a general term people use to describe pain on the outside of the elbow. However, the specific diagnosis may be lateral epicondylitis, which is tendon inflammation. Or more likely, tendinopathy, which describes wear and tear or degeneration of the tendon.
The wrist extensor muscles attach to the lateral epicondyle (bony bit) on the outside of the elbow. Tennis elbow pain usually occurs where the tendon of the ‘extensor carpi radialis brevis’ muscle inserts into the bone. At this point, there are a large number of pain receptors. As a result, the region is particularly tender to touch. Symptoms are either acute or chronic.
Acute Tennis elbow
- Acute injuries occur immediately after an activity such as hitting a backhand shot in tennis with poor technique.
- The extensor muscles on the back of the forearm (wrist extensors) become suddenly overloaded. This causes small micro-tears in the tendon where it attaches to the elbow.
Chronic Tennis elbow
- Chronic injuries normally develop over a period of days/weeks. It often follows a bout of intense exercise or unaccustomed activity. For example, lifting heavy boxes and other DIY jobs.
Is it lateral epicondylitis or extensor tendinopathy?
- The medical term often used is lateral epicondylitis. However, this can be misleading as the ‘itis’ on the end of the word implies that there is inflammation.
- In long-term cases, the acute inflammatory stage has passed and tendinopathy is an appropriate term. This is because it describes degeneration of the tendon rather than acute inflammation.
Tennis elbow symptoms
Symptoms usually develop gradually over time becoming progressively worse and include:
- Pain approximately 1 to 2 cm down from the bony protrusion (lateral epicondyle) on the outside of the elbow.
- Symptoms may flare up suddenly but they usually develop gradually over time.
- You may have weakness in the muscles around the forearm and wrist.
- As a result, performing simple tasks such as gripping objects, opening a door handle, or shaking hands is painful.
- A professional therapist may perform a number of specific assessment tests including resisted wrist extension, ‘Mills maneuver’ and the ‘neural tension’ to help diagnose lateral elbow pain.
What causes tennis elbow?
The most common cause of Tennis elbow is overuse or repetitive strain. In particular, repeated extension (bending back) of the wrist. For example:
- Gripping or turning objects like a manual screwdriver.
- Lifting heavy weights during strength training.
- Repeatedly performing occupational activities, such as lifting bricks.
How is tennis elbow traditionally treated?
Typical treatments for tennis elbow includes a series of at-home exercises, rest, ice, and stretching to help reduce the pain in your elbow. If this fails, the following treatments are typically tried.
- Tennis Elbow Brace
- Physical therapy
- Cortisone injections
- Night Wrist splints
If these treatments fail to improve your pain, surgery may be recommended.
|Cost||HSA, FSA, Interest Free Payment Plan Eligible||Deductible, co-pay, medications, time-off work, etc.|
|Risk||No known side effects||Blood clots, infection, poor outcome, addiction to pain medications|
|Pain||Little to none||Can be severe for months|
|Recovery||Immediate||Months / Years|
Fix your tennis elbow pain with Shockwave Therapy (ESWT™)
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Radial Pressure Wave (RPW) + Focused Shock Wave (FSW)
If tennis elbow is causing elbow pain, the muscles that attach to these areas are attempting to repair themselves, causing inflammation. The treatment should not be to “anti-inflame,” as is the case with cortisone or with anti-inflammatories like ibuprofen. The correct treatment is to strengthen the muscle attachments that are inflamed due to the body’s attempt to strengthen the area. The muscles that extend the wrist attach at the lateral epicondyle and the muscles that flex the wrist attach at the medial epicondyle. ESWT allows for new blood vessel formation to fix the problem at the source. In more severe cases, we can combine ESWT with PRP to enhance the growth factors at the injured area by 2.5 x !
- Our Shockwave Therapy in Columbus, OH utilizes the most advanced and highly effective non-invasive treatment method that utilizes technology cleared by the FDA. This proprietary technology is better than those of classical treatments owing to the regenerative processes induced (angiogenesis and mechanotransduction). This regeneration allows for the stimulation of metabolism, enhanced blood circulation, and an accelerated healing process.
- Shockwave Therapy treats, acute or chronic musculoskeletal pain, and pain that significantly impairs mobility or quality of life including:
- Ligament Sprains
- Muscle Strains
- Tendon or tendon insertion pain
- Trigger points
Check out our complete list of Injuries we treat
- Some patients report immediate pain relief and increased range of motion after the treatment. Since the regenerative processes of the body are being restored, patients have a lower chance of pain recurring. STARTwave eliminates pain and restores full mobility, thus improving your quality of life. Over 89% of patients treated report to be pain free and have significant pain reduction.
- Injuries are first accurately diagnosed and the underlying cause of the pain is identified. A skin gel is then applied to the treatment area to allow the shock waves to be introduced into the body without any loss of energy. After these preparations, shock waves are applied as the therapy head is moved over the pain region in a circular motion.
- Yes. Extensive clinical studies and tests have confirmed its safety and efficacy. The technology that is used as part of STARTwave was developed in Europe, is FDA approved, and is currently used around the globe.
- Treatment sessions take approximately 10 minutes depending on the disorder to be treated. Generally, 5 treatment sessions are necessary over the course of 3 weeks for optimal results.
- The non-invasive treatment has virtually no side effects. In some cases patients may experience some minor discomfort which may continue for a few days. In a similar way that it is normal to have some residual pain after intense exercise or a full day of work.
- Your doctor will provide you with information about how these and other conditions might affect the determination to perform EPAT.
- DVT (Deep Vein Thrombosis)
- When Shockwave Therapy is performed by a Certified Provider, ESWT has a proven success rate greater than that of traditional treatment methods (including surgery). Without the risks, complications, or lengthy recovery time. The treatment does not require anesthesia and has no downtime.
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