Pain in the muscles and tissue around the forearm is known as lateral epicondylitis, or tennis elbow. This condition occurs when the muscles and tendons have become inflamed or swollen, usually from overuse.
What is Lateral Epicondylitis?
Too much stress on the tendons that attach to the bone outside the elbow, or degeneration of the tendon’s attachment to the bone, can cause pain when the muscle is active. This condition occurs from overuse, such as gripping and grasping activities that put extra strain on the muscles and tendons, or a direct blow to the elbow in an accident.
Pain is area right outside the elbow is the most common symptom of lateral epicondylitis and typically occurs when performing lifting or gripping activities. In some cases, the pain will travel down to the hand and simply moving the elbows can be painful.
Dr. Kilaru will perform a series of tests to determine the extent of damage to the tendons and muscles around the elbow, and what type of treatment would help relieve symptoms and heal the tissue.
Treatment for Lateral Epicondylitis
Non-surgical treatment is usually the first course of action for patients with tennis elbow. Limiting activities that caused the condition, taking anti-inflammatory medication to alleviate pain, and wearing a tennis elbow brace can help. In some cases, stretching and strengthening exercises or heat treatment can help reduce pain. Steroid injections can help with inflammation in the area. Another option is to use platelet rich plasma (PRP) to help the tissues heal.
Surgery is the last resort if all non-surgical treatment options have failed. If the pain is extreme or symptoms have lasted 6 to 12 months, Dr. Kilaru may recommend surgery to remove diseased or degenerating tissues.
What to Expect with Treatment for Lateral Epicondylitis
Most patients see symptoms resolve from nonsurgical methods shortly after starting treatment. Physical therapy can be especially helpful for strengthening the muscles and restoring healthy circulation for natural healing. Reducing stressful activities that caused the condition is a necessary step and staying pain free might involve limiting those activities in the future.
Recovery from surgery can take a few months and will depend on the patient and surgical technique used. Dr. Kilaru will provide detailed information about what to expect after treatment during your visit.
If you’re experiencing symptoms of tennis elbow, don’t wait for things to get worse before you seek treatment. Schedule a consultation with Dr. Kilaru today.