Elbow Epicondylitis

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An Overview on Elbow Epicondylitis

Elbow epicondylitis, more commonly known as tennis elbow and golfer’s elbow, is caused by overuse and repetitive stress to the tendon attachment sites of the elbow. Both conditions cause patients to experience pain, either on the outer portion of the elbow (tennis elbow) or on the inner portion of the elbow (golfer’s elbow). The pain is typically worsened by activities involving the forearm and elbow such as shaking hands and gripping items. Both conditions typically respond to non-surgical treatment, but some Santa Barbara, Goleta, Santa Maria and Ventura, California patients will require surgical repair. Dr. Jervis Yau, orthopedic elbow surgeon, specializes in surgical repair of medial and lateral epicondylitis in order to restore strength and function to the elbow.

Conservative treatment measures such as ice, rest, activity modification, and stretching and strengthening exercises prove to be the mainstay treatment for medial and lateral epicondylitis. Those who fail nonsurgical treatment over time may be considered for surgical repair.

The proper surgery depends on injury severity. MRI scans are usually helpful to determine the severity of tendon injury and location. If the disease is moderate to severe, Dr. Yau will likely recommend debridement of the diseased tendon followed by reattachment of the healthy tissue to the bone. If the disease is minor, percutaneous tendon debridement may be performed under ultrasound guidance (Tenex Health System) to remove the diseased tissue.

Platelet rich plasma (PRP) injections have also been shown in numerous studies to be helpful in the treatment of lateral epicondylitis.

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Recovery and Rehabilitation Following Surgical Repair of Medial and Lateral Epicondylitis

Following a surgical repair, a splint will be used to protect the repair for the first 7 to 10 days. After splint removal, a detailed physical therapy program will be initiated and maintained until the patient reaches a full recovery and return to activities.

Surgical Repair of Medial and Lateral Epicondylitis Recovery Time

Many patients can expect to return to sports within 3 – 4 months after surgical repair.

For additional information on elbow epicondylitis, or to learn more about surgical tennis elbow treatment or golfer’s elbow treatment, please contact Dr. Jervis Yau, orthopedic elbow surgeon in the Santa Barbara, Goleta, Santa Maria and Ventura, California area.

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