Learn about tennis elbow, or lateral epicondylitis, with Dr. Brian Gruber, MD, MBA, board certified orthopedic surgeon and founder of Integrated Orthopedics in Phoenix, Arizona.
In this video, Dr. Gruber, discusses tennis elbow. Being a very common condition, Dr. Gruber typically sees 5-7 patients a week who have symptoms and occurs most frequently in active people. This condition occurs on the outside, or lateral side, of the elbow.
Tennis elbow primarily is a clinical diagnosis. Pain with resisted wrist extension is one of the classic diagnostic findings and can happen over time or come on suddenly. Early treatment includes an anti-inflammatory like ibuprofen. As discomfort increases, we will do guided injections of a steroid. Ultrasound guided steroid injections for tennis elbow work very well and quickly.
Most people will recover from tennis elbow with conservative treatment interventions. However, there will be a handful of people who do not recover with steroid injections. If surgery is needed, we will obtain an MRI to see what is happening with the tendon.
The surgery is an outpatient procedure, is minimally invasive and takes about 20 minutes to perform. We open the EDC tendon and book it open and then see the ECB tendon – this is the problem tendon. We excise the ECB tendon from the bone. The ECB tendon is removed and we don’t miss it.
Patients will be in a removable brace after surgery for tennis elbow. A full recovery typically is between 2-3 months. Physical therapy is started about 2-3 weeks post surgery. However, normal activities can be resumed rather quickly after the procedure.
Again, the vast majority of tennis elbow injuries can be treated conservatively. Regenerative medicine is an exciting area of orthopedic medicine where we see potential for treatment and recovery.