Athlete or not, tennis elbow can last for a long time, and symptoms get worse without treatment. Explore five of the leading evidence-based treatments for tennis elbow offered at our practice.

Tennis elbow, or lateral epicondylitis, earned its nickname because of its prevalence among tennis players. Though it’s common in amateurs and professionals alike, it’s not limited to tennis players. Beyond racquet sports, lateral epicondylitis can come from any repetitive motion of your wrist and forearm, including typing, painting, golfing, or playing the violin.

Orthopedic specialists and surgeons provide world-class care for tennis elbow and other musculoskeletal injuries at North Point Orthopaedics in Munster, Crown Point, and Valparaiso, Indiana. Starting with gentle and conservative care, they ensure that your symptoms can and will improve.

You can anticipate evidence-based treatments like these in your individualized care plan:

1. Oral anti-inflammatories

Oral anti-inflammatory medications are available over the counter at any local drugstore. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen or aspirin work by reducing inflammation around an injury, which in turn reduces physical symptoms like pain and swelling.

They’re comparable to corticosteroids, which are prescription anti-inflammatory medications available orally or via injection.

2. Physical therapy

Physical therapy for tennis elbow targets your forearm muscles with stretches and strengthening exercises. Certain exercises are also designed to improve blood flow to targeted muscles so they’re better able to heal without much additional care.

While strength and flexibility exercises can enhance tennis elbow healing, physical therapy isn’t limited to musculoskeletal movements. Your physical therapist might use assistive strategies such as:

  • Ice therapy
  • Muscle stimulation
  • Ultrasound therapy
  • Supportive athletic tape

Similarly, your provider might urge you to change or refine your sporting technique in tennis or other sports in which tennis elbow is a common occurrence.

3. Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injections

Although it’s now known for skin care, hair growth, and other capabilities, PRP’s roots are in sportsmedicine. Long used as a treatment for athletic injuries like tendinitis, PRP injections improve local tissue repair.

To obtain PRP for treatment, your provider extracts a sample of your own blood and processes it in a centrifuge. The centrifuge rapidly twirls the blood sample, separating various cells and other blood components into distinct layers. PRP itself does not contain red or white blood cells, only liquid plasma and platelets. Platelets release growth factors to trigger cell reproduction and improve the injury-healing process.

4. Immobilization

Immobilization for tennis elbow can happen in a number of ways, but the key objective is to reduce your elbow joint’s range of motion to avoid aggravating the injury. Oddly, forearm or wrist splinting seems to be a more effective form of immobilization therapy than a brace or splint directly on the elbow. You may need to immobilize your forearm and wrist for up to 12 weeks to experience significant pain relief.

5. Minimally invasive surgery

Our experts at North Point Orthopaedics start tennis elbow treatment with conservative, noninvasive treatments. If your symptoms don’t improve with those measures, it might be time to consider minimally invasive surgery.

Minimally invasive surgical techniques can save you a lot of the time and trouble that come with open surgeries. Compared to open surgery, minimally invasive surgery offers:

  • Less healing time
  • Less pain
  • Fewer missed workdays
  • Less scarring
  • Smaller incisions
  • Less postsurgical pain

Minimally invasive surgery repairs damaged musculoskeletal tissue through small incisions. Your surgeon uses the assistance of an imaging device, like an ultrasound, to see and control their tools.

Start with personalized care today

Tennis elbow tends to get worse without treatment, especially if you continue to use the injured joint with repetitive movements. Call North Point Orthopaedics or schedule an appointment online today to start treatment with a comprehensive evaluation.

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