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With Wimbledon now over, we are sure many people will dig out their racquets and jump on a court for a game. Hopefully people won’t suffer tennis elbow, but unfortunately it is a common condition.
Tennis elbow is a painful condition that causes discomfort down the outside of the elbow and reduced grip strength. Although it is common in tennis players it is certainly not exclusive to tennis players and affects many other people each year, particularly if their arms do a lot of repetitive activity. Often the pain starts out of the blue and is not necessarily associated with any trauma. The pain can be very debilitating and limit a person’s ability to do their daily activities, job and sport.
Tennis elbow is a problem with a small area of tendon at the outer side of the elbow just further down from the bony prominence that we can all feel on the outside of our elbow. The area of tendon becomes very sore and may become inflamed or even develop small tears. Fortunately, tendinopathies such as tennis elbow tend to resolve over the course of a year and rarely need surgery. The mainstay of treatment initially is painkillers and therapy which include eccentric strengthening exercises. A helpful video demonstrating these exercises can be found on my website www.tonycorner.com.
I also encourage patients to see a trained therapist who can support the patient through their recovery. Some patients find that a brace helps to control their symptoms. Occasionally patients may have an injection if they are really struggling with their symptoms despite therapy exercises and painkillers. If patients continue to have severe symptoms despite a long period of treatment, then a surgical release can be performed but only as a last resort!
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