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Tennis elbow and Treatment

Tennis elbow and Treatment

Tennis elbow, also known as lateral epicondylitis, is a common overuse injury that affects the outer part of the elbow. It is often caused by repetitive motions of the wrist and forearm, which can lead to small tears in the tendons that attach to the lateral epicondyle of the humerus (the bony bump on the outer side of the elbow). It can be very painful and last for months. In Homephysio247, we use the Ultrasound to scan your elbow and assist in the clinical diagnosis.

Treatment of Tennis Elbow:

  1. Rest and Activity Modification: Reducing or modifying activities that exacerbate the pain is often the initial step in managing tennis elbow. Avoiding activities that strain the forearm muscles and tendons can help prevent further irritation.

  2. Physiotherapy: Physiotherapy is a critical component of treatment for tennis elbow. Therapists can guide patients through exercises to strengthen the forearm muscles and tendons, improve flexibility, and promote proper biomechanics.

  3. Bracing and Support: Wearing a brace or strap that stabilizes the forearm muscles can help reduce strain on the affected tendons.

  4. Anti-Inflammatory Medications: Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) may be prescribed to reduce pain and inflammation in cases of tennis elbow.

  5. Ultrasound-Guided Injections: In cases where conservative treatments are not sufficient, or when tennis elbow is causing significant pain and impairment, ultrasound-guided injections may be considered. These injections may include:

    a. Corticosteroid Injections: Corticosteroid injections contain powerful anti-inflammatory medications that can reduce inflammation and alleviate pain. They are often used when there is a notable inflammatory component to the condition.

Role of Ultrasound-Guided Steroid Injections:

Ultrasound-guided injections offer several benefits in the treatment of tennis elbow:

  1. Precise Localization: Ultrasound imaging allows the healthcare provider to accurately locate the affected area on the lateral epicondyle and guide the needle to the exact location that requires treatment. This precision ensures that the corticosteroid medication is delivered directly to the inflamed tendons.

  2. Reduced Risk of Complications: The use of ultrasound guidance minimizes the risk of complications, such as inadvertent injection into surrounding structures, as the provider can monitor the needle’s placement in real-time.

  3. Enhanced Effectiveness: Ultrasound-guided corticosteroid injections can enhance the effectiveness of the treatment by ensuring that the medication is delivered directly to the site of inflammation and pain.

It’s important to note that corticosteroid injections are typically used as part of a comprehensive treatment plan for tennis elbow and are not a long-term solution. Overuse or misuse of corticosteroid injections can lead to potential adverse effects, such as weakening of the tendon.

In many cases, a combination of treatments, including rest, physical therapy, and activity modification, is recommended to address the underlying causes of tennis elbow. Patients should work closely with their healthcare provider to determine the most appropriate treatment plan based on their specific condition and individual needs.