Tennis Elbow, also known as lateral epicondylytis, is a type of tendinitis. It gets its name because it is caused by stress to the muscles and tendons on the outside of the elbow, much like the stress from the back hand stroke in tennis and other racquet sports. It’s a condition seen in tennis players but it can also be caused by strain on the joint through pulling or lifting with force, or from small repetitive actions such as typing, knitting or playing a musical instrument.
When the muscles and tendons in your forearm are strained, tiny tears and inflammation can develop near the bony lump on the outside of your elbow, causing pain and tenderness. The pain can vary from mild discomfort to severe pain that keeps you awake at night.
The symptoms of Tennis Elbow are pain on the outside of the elbow when gripping and lifting and when bending or twisting your arm. You may also find it difficult to fully extend your arm. It can affect people of all ages but is most common in people aged 40 – 50.
Tennis elbow is similar to another condition called golfer’s elbow, which affects the tendons on the inside of the elbow.
Treatment is most successful when Tennis Elbow is treated early, before it becomes a chronic condition. Rest from strenuous or repetitive activity is often all that is needed.
If pain persists, physiotherapy and anti-inflammatory medication is advised in the first instance.
If there is no improvement after 6 weeks, a steroid injection may be recommended. Steroid injections work by reducing inflammation and so can help reduce pain and swelling in your elbow to allow it to move more easily. An alternative to a steroid injection is a PRP (Platelet Rich Plasma) injection whereby blood is drawn and then treated to separate the healing platelet rich plasma. The plasma is injected back into the affected area to stimulate cell repair and trigger the healing process.
Injections aren’t curative and often only work in the short term. If symptoms return, it is possible to have more injections. If there is no improvement after repeated injections, surgery may be an option.
Tennis Elbow is treated with Elbow Release surgery. This can be performed as open surgery or arthroscopic surgery.
In open surgery an incision of 3 to 4 centimetres is made above the bone on the side of your elbow. The damaged piece of tendon is removed and the healthy part is reattached back to the bone. It may be necessary to remove a tiny piece of bone in your elbow to improve blood flow and help the area heal faster.
If surgery is performed arthroscopically, a few tiny cuts will be made in the skin over your elbow. Very small instruments and a camera go into the holes, allowing your surgeon to remove the damaged parts of your tendon.
With either type of surgery, incisions will be closed and dressed and the arm placed in a sling. You will usually be able to go home the day of your procedure.
The recovery time following surgery takes some time and it will be several weeks before you begin to feel the benefits. It is important not to rush your recovery as you could make the damage worse.
You will need to continue wearing a sling for at least a week following surgery to keep your arm immobilised and allow the repair to heal. After a week you can begin physiotherapy exercises to begin stretching and moving your elbow. After around three weeks you will be able to progress to physiotherapy exercises that will begin to improve your elbow strength.
You may feel pain for the first few weeks so continue to take pain killers and apply ice to help reduce swelling.
You will not be able to drive for at least one week after surgery. Your consultant will assess your progress at a follow up appointment, and will advise if you are able return to work. It’s likely you will need at least 6 weeks off work, longer if your job is manual. You are ready to return to your former level of activity when any swelling has gone down and you can grip objects, bear weight on your arm or elbow, and flex and move your arm and elbow without pain or difficulty. It will be 4 to 6 months before you can exercise and play sports again.
At One Healthcare we can book you in to see a specialist Orthopaedic surgeon, usually within 48 hours, for an initial consultation. Elbow release surgery is available at One Ashford Hospital in Kent and One Hatfield Hospital in Hertfordshire.
You can use your private medical insurance or pay for your Tennis Elbow treatment. We offer competitive, fixed price packages as well as the ability to spread your cost with the option of 0% finance. If you are using your health insurance please do contact your insurer first for approval and let them know you’d like to be treated at One Ashford Hospital
Why One Ashford Hospital
- Access to leading Consultants within 48 hours*
- 0% and low interest finance options**
- Competitive fixed-price packages
- Modern purpose-built hospital
- Fast access to diagnostics including CT, MRI, X-Ray and Ultrasound
- Private, spacious, ensuite rooms
- Specialist Physiotherapy and nursing teams
- Little waiting time for surgery
- Calm, dignified experience
*Dependent on Consultant availability
**Terms and conditions apply
Contact us and find out more
Contact our team to find out more information regarding private Tennis Elbow or to book an initial consultation.If you are based in and around Kent, Maidstone, Dover, Canterbury or Folkestone and would like to visit the One Ashford Hospital please click here