Tennis Elbow – Lateral Epicondylitis
Tennis elbow is a condition affecting the tendon attachments on the muscles which extend the wrist and fingers (in contrast to golfer’s elbow, which affects the muscles that flex the fingers and wrist). Patients suffer from localised pressure pain on the outside of the elbow and in the affected muscles. Initially the pain only appears when the arm is under stress, but in later stages the pain can radiate through the arm when lifting light objects or even when at rest. The movement of the arm is limited and in advanced stages the arm’s strength diminishes.
Ultrasound can indicate the inflamed and thickened tendon attachments and in advanced stages an x-ray will show any calcification of the cartilage and surrounding musculature. Initially, the treatment is conservative, involving resting, application of creams, poultices and ant-inflammatory medicines. In the event of this therapy being unsuccessful, an operative intervention will effectively and permanently reduce tension on the musculature by cutting into the affected muscle. As for golfer’s elbow, the affected nerve at the end of the bone can be cut to eliminate or reduce pain.
Sometimes there is also nerve compression syndrome, which affects the radial nerve in tennis elbow and the ulnar nerve in golfer’s elbow. The nerve compression can also be released during the same operation.
Tennis elbow is categorized under tendinopathy.
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