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Tennis Elbow

Dr. Steven Rueda is one of the most sought after doctors for tennis elbow treatment in Palm Beach. Tennis elbow, also known as lateral epicondylitis, is a condition affecting the tendon origins in the outer elbow. It receives the name “tennis elbow” since it is frequently seen in tennis players.

Tennis Elbow Symptoms and Diagnosis

The symptoms arising from tennis elbow reflect the degenerative damage of the tendon insertion on the elbow. Some of the most common symptoms include:

  • Pain in the outer elbow at the tendon insertion
  • Pain with wrist resisted wrist extension
  • Pain with lifting and gripping
  • Puffiness at the outer elbow at the tendon insertion

In some cases patients present with all of the symptoms, and in some cases only with some of them. The most common complaint is pain on the outer elbow in the lateral epicondyle.

The diagnosis of tennis elbow is given using a combination of history and physical examination. A typical history and examination performed by a hand surgeon are usually enough to diagnose the condition. An xray is typically needed to rule out any underlying elbow arthritis. Advanced imaging like MRI may be needed in some cases.

WHAT CAUSES Tennis Elbow?

The extensor carpi radialis brevis (one of the muscles in the back of the forearm) has a tendon that originates in the lateral epicondyle of the humerus. The role of this muscle is to help extend the wrist. In tennis elbow, this tendinous origin undergoes degeneration leading to weakening and inflammation. As a result, patients experience pain at the location of the tendon origin with activities that cause wrist extension.

Tennis Elbow Treatment Options

There are five main ways to treat tennis elbow: activity modification, therapy, splints, steroid injections, and surgery. Treatment begins with activity modification to reduce damage and irritation from overuse. This usually means reducing the intensity of the activity that triggers the symptoms (playing tennis, rowing, etc).
Therapy and exercises are essential for a good recovery and usually are done together with activity modification. These focus on stretching and strengthening muscles in the affected area. All these conservative treatments are recommended for at least 9 months prior to considering other options. Use of a wrist splint also provides significant relief in some patients.
Steroid injections are an alternative treatment that enjoys good success rates. Dr. Rueda uses ultrasound guidance to place the steroid injection into the affected tendon origin. This medication helps reduces inflammation and therefore symptoms of pain.
Dr. Rueda performs surgery for lateral epicondylitis only in cases that have failed conservative treatment for at least 6 months.

Tennis Elbow Procedure

Surgery is very effective at improving pain caused by tendon degeneration in tennis elbow. The procedure removes the diseased tendon origin that is causing the symptoms thereby relieving pain.

Incisions

A single incision centered on the outside elbow is used; this is Usually 5-6cms in length

RECOVERY AND DOWNTIME

Outpatient procedure. There is tightness, swelling and bruising for first few days after surgery. A splint is applied and removed in 5 days. Pain from tennis elbow improves about 2-3 weeks after surgery. Use of a removable wrist splint during laborious activity is encouraged for 3 weeks after surgery. Elbow and wrist range of motion are initiated immediately after surgery.

Most patients generally return to work in 1 week. Exercise is not allowed until 3-4 weeks after the surgery.

Why Choose Precision Hand Center for your Tennis Elbow Procedure?

Dr. Rueda, a Hand Fellowship trained surgeon who has 7 years and 2,000 procedures of experience will be your safe and best choice for tennis elbow treatment. Successful results in this procedure requires a surgeon that is experienced and knowledgeable in hand surgery and hand anatomy. Dr. Rueda has published articles in expert peer reviewed journals and his work has been presented in several national conferences. Dr. Rueda’s passion for patient education and custom centered approach will guarantee you feel comfortable every step of the way. Dr. Rueda also believes in treating his patients as if he was treating his own family; you can trust you will enter a trusting and long-term relationship and have some of the best tennis elbow treatment Palm Beach can offer.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQ)

Patients with classic history, symptoms, and exam who have failed conservative treatment are good candidates for the procedure. Most patient’s get cured without the need for surgery, so Dr. Rueda advises to wait at least 6-9 months prior to discussing any intervention.

Complications are very rare in tennis elbow surgery; it is a very safe procedure. Some of the uncommon risks include infection and bleeding of the surgical site. There are also other major complications that are very unlikely including persistent pain.