Treating tennis elbow

Guest post: Dr. Darin Rutherford, sports medicine.

A healthy tendon makes motion easy and pain free. But when tendons are damaged, movement in a joint, such as the elbow, can be very painful. This pain can limit your range of motion. Damage to a tendon can be caused by a number of factors. One factor can be trauma to the tendon from a hit, twist, or pull on the joint. A second factor can be repetitive motion, which causes damage to the tendon from overuse in work, exercise, or activity.

Lateral epicondylitis (LE), or tennis elbow, is a frequently occurring condition associated with chronic elbow dysfunction and pain at the outside (lateral) point of the elbow. Interestingly, 90 percent of people with tennis elbow don’t even play tennis. LE is an inflammation of the tendons that join the forearm muscles on the outside of the elbow. The forearm muscles and tendons become damaged from overuse—repeating the same motion again and again. This can lead to pain and tenderness on the outside of the elbow. The pain and loss of function may cause a person to withdraw from important daily activities such as work and sports. The symptoms may last for six months to 2 years but usually are self-limiting.

There are many treatment options for tennis elbow. A summary of treatment options includes the following:

  • Rest. Pain will eventually get better with rest, but it may take a year or longer to recover.
  • Medication. Anti-inflammatory drugs or cortisone injections manage pain and swelling. However, these medications are intended to control the pain but not necessarily address the cause of the pain.
  • Physical or occupational therapy. Used in conjunction with rest, medication, or surgery, therapy may help to restore strength and range of motion.
  • Open surgical procedure. This treatment option is used to remove the damaged tissue and is found to be beneficial in reducing pain. It is accompanied with potential side effects of general surgery, unintended damage to surrounding muscle and tissue, and a lengthy recovery period with restricted activity.
  • Tenex Health TX, or percutaneous tenotomy, is a new, minimally invasive procedure designed to precisely break down and extract damaged tendon tissue. Since the surrounding healthy tissue is not disturbed, patients enjoy less discomfort and quicker recovery times versus traditional open surgical procedures. Most patients return to normal activities within 2-6 weeks.

I offer Tenex Health TX, a new advanced treatment that quickly and safely removes the source of tendon pain. Based on technology developed in collaboration with the Mayo Clinic, Tenex Health TX is a minimally invasive treatment option for tendon and soft tissue injuries, such as tennis elbow, golfer’s elbow, jumper’s knee, Achilles tendonitis, and plantar fasciitis.

I am extremely pleased with the results I am seeing in my patients who have been treated with Tenex Health TX. They have reported experiencing a nearly painless treatment, a quick recovery, and lasting pain relief. I believe this new option will become a definitive treatment that removes the source of tendon pain.

To learn more or make an appointment with me at Mercyhealth Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation Center in Janesville, call (608) 754-6000.

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