Tennis elbow is the more commonly known name for the inflammation of the tendons that is attached to the lateral, or outside, of the elbow at the bony part of the upper arm bone. The medical name for this bony part is called as the lateral epicondyle, which is the reason that the phenomenon is also referred to as ‘lateral epicondylitis’. The tendons that move the wrist and fingers are attached to a tendon that is connected to the bone structure in that part. Tennis elbow is normally considered to be a Repetitive Stress Injury (RSI). The first course of action is to allow the elbow to rest so that it can begin to heal on itself.
Rest is the most basic treatment that can be given to the tendons. Also, the muscle should be left alone without any exercise. As the muscles work, there is a high supply of blood flowing through them. This enables a better and a faster healing. The next thing to do is to apply ice on the affected or the inflammed area. One might also need to take acetaminophen or an anti-inflammatory medication for pain relief. Also using counterforce braces and wrist splints can reduce symptoms by resting the muscles and tendons. If the symptoms do not improve within four to six weeks, the next step is a corticosteroid injection around the outside of the elbow. The injection may prove to be very helpful in reducing pain. Corticosteroids are relatively safe medications. They have minimum side effects and most of them occur after multiple injections. After the pain subsides, physical therapy can help in completing the recovery process. Non operative treatment is successful in approximately 85 to 90 percent of the patients suffering with a problem of tennis elbow.
Surgery is done on patients who have incapacitating pain that does not get better even after a minimum of six months of non operative treatment. The surgical process involves replacing the effected tendon with a normal tendon tissue to the bone. The surgery is an outpatient surgery so one does not need to stay in the hospital even for a night. The surgery may be performed with the help of regional or general anesthesia.