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Tag: Tennis Elbow

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Elbows General

What is the Difference Between Tennis Elbow and Golfer’s Elbow?

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Elbow pain due to overexertion may feel like it’s coming from all over, and patients really just want the pain gone. The first step in treating elbow pain, however, is to pinpoint the exact location of the problem, which is the primary difference between tennis elbow and golfer’s elbow.

These two common conditions bring many patients into our elbow doctor’s offices in West Bloomfield, Howell, Warren, and Macomb Township every year.

The good news is that both of these conditions are highly treatable with self-care, rest, or the use of an elbow brace. When these remedies are not effective, elbow surgery is an option as well.

What is Tennis Elbow?

Technically called lateral epicondylitis, tennis elbow occurs when the tendons that anchor the muscle to the bone on the outside (lateral) part of the elbow are overused. When these tendons degenerate or become inflamed, it weakens and causes stress on the entire site.

In other words, tennis elbow is caused by a swelling of the tendons that bend your wrist backward away from your palm. People who repeatedly use their elbow and arm muscles may be susceptible to tennis elbow, such as painters, plumbers, and butchers, as well as athletes.

Symptoms of tennis elbow include pain or burning on the outer part of the elbow, as well as a weaker grip. They typically are worsened with forearm activity, such as holding a tennis racquet or turning a wrench. The pain is typically mild at first, but worsens over time if the action that is causing it is not minimized. Tennis elbow is usually not associated with a traumatic injury.

The dominant arm is affected more often than the non-dominant arm.

Tennis elbow can usually be treated with rest, pain medication, Botox injections, or the use of a brace. Tennis elbow surgery may be recommended in more extreme cases.

Tennis elbow occurs due to overuse of the elbow’s outer tendons. This diagram shows the anatomy of the elbow in relation to tennis elbow.
Tennis elbow occurs due to overuse of the elbow’s outer tendons.

What is Golfer’s Elbow?

Golfer’s elbow is more formally called medial epicondylitis. It is sometimes referred to as baseball elbow or suitcase elbow.

The source of the pain is on the inner side of the elbow. It occurs when the tendon that connects the forearm muscles to the bone is overused.

Golfer’s elbow is about twice as common in men than in women. Despite its name, it is caused by general overuse and can affect virtually anyone.

Golfer’s elbow also can be treated with rest, pain medication, injections, and the use of a brace.

The main difference between tennis elbow and golfer’s elbow is the location of the inflammation. Tennis elbow hurts on the outside. Golfer’s elbow hurts on the inside. In this image, a golfer holds his elbow in pain.
The main difference between tennis elbow and golfer’s elbow is the location of the inflammation. Tennis elbow hurts on the outside. Golfer’s elbow hurts on the inside.

What is the Difference Between Tennis Elbow and Golfer’s Elbow?

While causes and treatments are similar, there are some differences between tennis elbow and golfer’s elbow.

The primary difference is the source of the inflammation. With tennis elbow, the outside of the elbow and forearm areas are inflamed, but with golfer’s elbow, inflammation is on the inner side of the arm and elbow.

Likewise, tennis elbow stems from damage to an outside tendon, and golfer’s elbow is associated with damage to an inner tendon.

Both are forms of elbow tendinitis.

Diagnosis and Treatment of Elbow Pain

For most people, the pain subsides by reducing or eliminating the action that is causing it. Physical therapy to strengthen the muscles in the arms may help as well. When self-care, rest, and the use of pain medications or a brace do not help, surgery may be necessary.

Elbow surgery options include:

  • Open surgery, which requires making an incision at the elbow and is performed on an outpatient basis.
  • Arthroscopic surgery, an outpatient procedure that uses smaller instruments and smaller incisions.

A common surgery to treat golfer’s elbow is called medial epicondyle release. It requires an incision along the arm over the medial epicondyle, and the surgeon’s goal will be to take tension off the flexor tendon.

Similarly, a lateral epicondylitis surgery can be used to treat tennis elbow. The goal of this surgery will be to release a portion of the tendon from the bone, remove the inflamed tendon, or repair tendon tears.

For proper treatment, it’s important to differentiate between tennis elbow and golfer’s elbow. For a diagnosis and treatment plan, make an appointment to see Dr. Arora at one of his southeast Michigan locations.

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Elbows General

5 Common Conditions that May Require Elbow Surgery

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Most elbow pain is temporary, but persistent pain or discomfort that affects your quality of life may require elbow surgery.

We treat several common conditions that may require elbow surgery at our southeast Michigan offices. Make an appointment to see our elbow surgeon in Macomb Township, Warren, Howell, or West Bloomfield for the following treatments or a diagnosis of your condition.

Cubital Tunnel Syndrome Surgery

Cubital tunnel syndrome occurs when there is too much pressure on the ulnar nerve, which runs along the ulna bone in the forearm and enters the hand near the pinky and ring fingers.

Causes of cubital tunnel syndrome include leaning on hand surfaces or bending the elbow for an extended period of time, or you may develop cubital tunnel syndrome due to an anomaly in the anatomy of your elbow. If you have this condition, you may experience severe pain and numbness in the elbow, as well as tingling or weakness in your ring and pinky fingers. It may become difficult to close your hand.

The first line of treatment for cubital tunnel syndrome is to avoid the action that is causing the pain. Using pain relief medications and wearing a splint at night may help as well.

When self-treatment does not help, cubital tunnel syndrome surgery may be recommended. The goal is to relieve the pressure by releasing and moving the ulnar nerve to the front of the elbow or increasing the size of the cubital tunnel.

Tennis Elbow Surgery & Other Treatment Options

Known as tennis elbow, lateral epicondylitis is a painful condition involving the tendons that attach to the bone on the outside (lateral) part of the elbow. The tendon’s attachment to the bone degenerates, which places increased stress on the area.

People who repeatedly use their elbow and arm muscles may be susceptible to tennis elbow, such as painters, plumbers, and butchers.

Tennis elbow can usually be treated with rest, pain medication, Botox injections, or the use of a brace. Tennis elbow surgery may be recommended in more extreme cases.

Elbow Fracture Examination & Treatment

Elbow fractures may occur due to a fall or direct impact. Pain, swelling, bruising, and stiffness in and around the elbow suggest a possible fracture. A snap or pop at the time of injury may be felt or heard as well.

Types of elbow fractures include:

  • Olecranon fractures
  • Fractures of the distal humerus
  • Radial head and neck fractures of the elbow

Depending on the type of injury and its severity, treatment options for elbow fractures include splint immobilization, casting the elbow, physical therapy, surgery to realign the bone fragments, and external fixation to stabilize the fractures.

Olecranon Bursitis Surgery & Assessment

The olecranon is the pointy bone at the tip of the elbow. A small sac of fluid called a “bursa” covers the tip of this bone. Sometimes this area gets irritated and the body makes extra fluid inside the sac, causing a big “balloon” that looks like a golf ball to form at the tip of the elbow.

Causes of olecranon bursitis include hitting the elbow on an object, overuse of the elbow, systemic diseases, and medical procedures.

It’s usually not painful, but it sometimes becomes infected. Remedies include using a splint and compression to rest the bursa, using elbow pads, using antibiotics to clear the infection, having cortisone injections, or drawing fluid out of the bursa with a needle in a procedure known as aspiration.

Olecranon bursitis surgery may be required if other remedies are not successful.

Golfer’s Elbow Treatment

Golfer’s elbow causes and treatments are similar to that of tennis elbow, but there are some differences between the two conditions.

The primary difference is the source of the inflammation. With tennis elbow, the outside of the elbow and forearm areas are inflamed, but with golfer’s elbow, inflammation is on the inner side of the arm and elbow.

Likewise, tennis elbow stems from damage to an outside tendon, and golfer’s elbow is associated with damage to an inner tendon.

Golfer’s elbow is more formally called medial epicondylitis, and it is sometimes referred to as baseball elbow or suitcase elbow.

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Conditions Elbows Treatments

Tennis Elbow Treatment, Causes and Prevention

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If you are experiencing pain in your elbow during exercise or routine activity, you may be suffering from tennis elbow. Fortunately, tennis elbow treatment can be very effective.

Tennis elbow, or lateral epicondylitis, is a painful condition involving the tendons that attach to the bone on the outside (lateral) part of the elbow. The tendon’s attachment to the bone degenerates, which places increased stress on the area. This, in turn, leads to pain when the muscle is active, such as during lifting or gripping actions.

Tennis elbow is a common overuse and muscle strain injury. In other words, people who repeatedly use their elbow and arm muscles may be susceptible to tennis elbow. Common causes of tennis elbow (besides playing tennis) include:

  • Work as a painter
  • Frequent use of plumbing tools
  • Driving screws in
  • Cutting up cooking ingredients, such as meat
  • Regular use of a computer mouse

The simplest tennis elbow treatment is rest, along with some pain medication if needed.

While it often gets better on its own, in some cases it may be advisable to explore physical therapy options for treatment. For instance, a physical therapist can coach you on ways to stretch and strengthen the muscles of your forearm, which can counteract the effects of tennis elbow and even help prevent it.

Other treatment options for tennis elbow include Botox or platelet-rich plasma injections into the affected tendon, the use of a brace, or, in extreme cases, surgery.

The best way to prevent tennis elbow in the first place is to avoid repetitive hand, arm, and wrist motions that could cause the deterioration of the elbow tendons. Ensuring the use of proper technique while gripping, lifting, rotating, or participating in any activity that involves your arm and hand should help as well.

If you’d like more information on tennis elbow treatment or would like to set up a consultation appointment, reach out to us at Arora Hand Surgery today.

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Elbows General Treatments

Which Treatment for Tennis Elbow (Lateral Epicondylitis) is Right for Me?

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Tennis elbow (lateral epicondylitis) is a painful medical condition that is caused when the tendons in your elbow become inflamed and overworked. Despite its name, many people get tennis elbow without ever playing the sport. Any repetitious motion of the arm and wrist that is performed almost every day can potentially cause tennis elbow. This condition is also commonly called lateral epicondylitis.

It is very easy to know if you are currently suffering from tennis elbow. The pain will radiate on the outside of the elbow, and it may also travel down the forearm to the wrist. This will make it very difficult to turn doorknobs, shake hands and hold round objects. Painters, plumbers, cooks and recreational racket sport players are at a much higher risk of developing tennis elbow because of the repetitive stress placed on the hand, wrist and forearm.

Treating your tennis elbow in a timely manner is the best way to quickly eliminate the pain. Ignoring your painful symptoms will only make the problem get worse over time. If you are suffering from tennis elbow (lateral epicondylitis) or if you suspect you may have the condition, then it is important to seek treatment as soon as possible.

In the vast majority of cases, we start with conservative measures. These may include changes in certain activities, anti-inflammatory medications, a brace, steroid injections, shockwave treatment and physical therapy. The exercises used in physical therapy may gradually strengthen and stretch the muscles in your forearm. Our doctor can give you recommendations on how to perform your necessary job tasks without harming your inflamed elbow tendon.

If conservative measures do not work, surgery may be the best option. Generally speaking, in order to qualify for surgery, you must have not responded to conservative treatments, and you must have had symptoms for at least six months. Surgery is considered to be the last resort for tennis elbow (lateral epicondylitis) sufferers. During this procedure, the problematic tendon tissue is skillfully removed. The techniques used during surgery will depend on the unique situation, but it is always an outpatient procedure and requires months of rehabilitation and physical therapy to fully recover.

During a consultation at Arora Hand Surgery, our doctor can assess your condition and come up with a personalized treatment for you that aims to relieve you of your symptoms. Contact us today to schedule an appointment at our office in West Bloomfield, Howell, Warren, or Macomb.

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Elbows General

Understanding Tennis Elbow Treatment and Causes

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Many people diagnosed with “tennis elbow” are surprised to learn about their condition because they may not play tennis at all. In fact, most cases occur in non-tennis players! (Mayo Clinic, 2015).

Technically, it is known as lateral epicondylitis and it is when tendons that anchor the muscle to the bone in one area of the outer elbow degenerate. This degeneration creates a weakness at the point where the muscles join, and this causes pain whenever the muscles are put to use. So, you might experience pain in your wrist when you are gripping something or lifting it, and this would be due to tennis elbow.

Causes of Lateral Epicondylitis

Tennis players aren’t the only ones who can experience the discomfort of tennis elbow; it can be caused by many things. Generally, any activity that continually puts stress on the point where the tendon attaches the muscle to the outer elbow can lead to problems. Ongoing stress from grasping and swinging a tennis racket can be to blame, but so can almost any repetitive movement with a similar nature. For example, house painters, plumbers, and even butchers and weavers have often experienced tennis elbow.

It is entirely possible to have tennis elbow from a single incident of trauma to the muscle-tendon unit. For example, a hard hit to the outer elbow can cause inflammation that leads to weakening of this area, or a single instance of force or extreme stress can injure the tendons.

People of almost any age can experience it, but it is most common in those between the ages of 30 to 50.

Tennis Elbow Treatment and Signs

How can you tell if the pain you are feeling is tennis elbow? It is rare for someone with tennis elbow to feel pain with any movement of the elbow. Instead, your discomfort may range from a noticeable tenderness in the area around the elbow to a pain that occurs whenever you grip or lift. Pain tends to radiate outward from the elbow, up the arm and may even be experienced in the hand.

Any pain of this kind should be dealt with immediately, and a hand surgeon or expert should be your preferred medical provider for tennis elbow treatment. They will assess the situation and consider whether to use non-surgical treatment or to use a less conservative, surgical treatment immediately. Generally, surgery is the course chosen if the issue has left the patient incapacitated or in pain for more than six months.

Before surgical remedies are used, the patient will usually be treated with a range of options. The mildest is simply modification of activity or grip to relieve the problem and allow the tendon to strengthen. Anti-inflammatory medications, including steroid injections may be used. Braces are also considered a good approach as they support the muscle and allow healing of the tendon. Physical therapy can be useful as this will allow the area to be strengthened, and can include other modalities such as heat and ultrasound.

A last resort before surgery is shockwave treatment, though this is not always available. Surgery is used to remove the damaged tendon and trigger healing and strengthening. This would be followed up by further physical therapy to ensure full range of motion and strengthening.

The good news is that there are many ways to deal with tennis elbow, and the first step is getting in touch with your qualified hand specialist or surgeon.

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Dr. Aroras office from my first call to schedule my appointment was friendly. Walking in the first day, I felt like I was in a nice atmosphere. Dr. Arora was EXCELLENT in taking great care of my hand injury. He was gentle and very understanding to the concerns I had about my hand. His expertise was admirable and I would recommend anyone with an injury to their hand to his office to be under his care. Because of him, I have healed faster than expected and will make an 100% recovery! Thank you Dr.

Jackie S.

I first thought I was going to have to have painful injections or surgery, but Dr. Arora suggested physical therapy may do the trick. I was doubtful, but I agreed to do it. Now, my pain is gone, and with the help of an ergonomic keyboard at work to keep my hands in the correct position, I am virtually pain free. The therapy strengthened my wrists and shoulders, and built more flexibility into my wrists.

Jerry T.

My experience with this doctor was positive from the outset. Dr. Arora was kind and spent a great deal of time with me. Staff was friendly. The office was nice and bright.

Ariel G.

Very friendly and helpful Great staff!!! Doctor Arora was very professional and did great work. I was very happy with everything!

L B.