Various types of treatments are in practice for tennis elbow, which range from the rest to the joint to intra-articular injections into the joints to surgical procedures. Tennis elbow, being a self-limiting condition, often gets better on its own broth with or without treatment. Here we discussed about the 10 types of treatment options for those who seeking knowledge on Tennis Elbow injury.
1.Certain lifestyle alterations: The affected arm should be kept at rest as far as possible and avoid doing any activities which put extra stress on the tendons. Certain lifestyle modifications in daily activities will be of great help, like, the affected arm should restrain from movements like lifting, gripping or rotating. Lifting of a heavy object should be performed ensuring that our palms are facing upwards. This helps in reducing the stress on our wrist muscles. If possible, one can discuss with the employer for a change from a strenuous activity, which could cause pain and exacerbate the affected arm. While at work, it is recommended to take breaks at regular intervals. Tennis racquets should be of a proper size. Certain factors like, greater stringing tensions, playing on harder surfaces also are some of the risk factors to develop tennis elbow. Evaluation of stroke mechanics to make sure that the ball is being hit in the middle of the racquet; and that players are not leading the racquet with the elbow flexed, is necessary. To have a swing and racquet evaluation, one can consult a tennis instructor. One should find out the best possible measures to lower strain on the damaged tissue. This may require adopting certain tennis techniques, or taking some ergonomic measures at workplace to make sure that, the symptoms of tennis elbow are not aggravated by the movements of the wrist and forearm.
2.Medications: For the control of inflammation and management of pain, analgesics, such as paracetamol and ibuprofen, may be of help in mild cases of tennis elbow. However for severe pain, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, that is NSAIDs either as oral or topical preparations is prescribed. Aspirin and NSAIDs should be generally avoided in children below the age of 16 years. Because of side effects, like nausea and diarrhea, caused by oral NSAIDs, these topical creams or gels are preferred to relieve pain and decrease inflammation effectively. However, ketoprofen can cause photosensitivity reactions in some patients. Hence, while using ketoprofen, as well as for a period of two weeks after the treatment has completed, exposure of the affected area to sunlight should be avoided.
3.Corticosteroid injections: A corticosteroid injection is usually prescribed, if the condition is very painful, and is making movements difficult. Corticosteroids contain steroids, known as cortisone, which is a type of hormone. This medication is injected directly into the most painful area around the elbow. A local anesthetic is used before the administration of the corticosteroid injection, in order to make the patient feel less pain at the time of the injection into the affected area. Though such injections provide significant relief to the patient, but care should be taken that such shots should not be repeated often. However, a research study has reported that the effect of corticosteroid injection therapy lasts only for a period of six weeks. Following a corticosteroid injection, the patient should keep the arm at rest, and avoid overstrain; normal activity should be started gradually in due course of time to avoid recurrence.
4.Elbow brace: Sometimes, wearing an elbow orthosis also known as an elbow cast; or a forearm strap or brace is effective. Sometimes, a splint , which is an elasticated band placed just below the elbow joint, supports the elbow and also promotes the healing of the tendons.
5Physiotherapy: Physiotherapy is usually recommended in patients who have severe and persistent symptoms of tennis elbow. Certain physical methods, like massage and manipulation; and simple stretching exercises strengthen the forearm muscles, promotes the healing process.
6.Thera-Band FlexBar: The use of a specific strengthening tool, known as Thera-Band FlexBar is in fact a new method of treatment for tennis elbow, and this tool is very effective in relieving the pain.
7.Extracorporeal shock wave therapy: Treatment with this method is still a matter of controversy. This method of therapy is to induce microtrauma to tissues, by making use of sound waves; which in turn stimulates the healing response and thus alleviates pain. However, studies have not reported any strong evidence in support of this method of treatment.
8.Autologous blood injection: One’s own blood is drawn from a vein, and is then injected into the affected tendon. This helps in the stimulation of the healing process. Some studies have reported this to be an effective method of treatment, but of course not better than other methods of treatment.
9.Platelet Rich Plasma , or PRP: A recent research in American Journal of Sports Medicine has reported the importance of a new kind of treatment for tennis elbow, known as Platelet Rich Plasma, which is commonly abbreviated as PRP. PRP is almost similar to an autologous blood injection. A small quantity of blood is drawn from a vein of the patient, which is then centrifuged for a period of 20 minutes. Most of the erythrocytes and plasma are removed, leaving behind a concentrated amount of blood platelets and related growth factors. Following the use of a local anesthetic to the region, this concentrate which is rich in blood platelets and growth factors, is then injected directly into the degenerated area of the tendon. This is usually performed under the guidance of ultrasound, to make sure about the perfection of the procedure.
10.Surgery: If the above-mentioned conservative methods of treatment fail to give relief, then the only surgical procedure is recommended as a method of treatment of tennis elbow. This usually involves the removal of the degenerated area of the tendon. Sometimes, the attachment of the damaged tendon is released. A repair of the healthy area of the tendon is sometimes also performed. However, apart from these surgical procedures, in some patients arthroscopy of the elbow is found to give successful outcomes.