Tennis Elbow? It’s Not What You Think! (May 01st, 2018)

Many people will come to our Sarasota Orthopedic Associates sports clinic with complaints of pain on either side of their elbow which has been present for months and is aggravated by gripping things or shaking hands. While often referred to as Golfer’s or Tennis elbow, this painful tendon condition usually occurs not from playing golf or tennis, but from repeatedly gripping or lifting objects improperly. Unfortunately, the condition can become severe enough where the tendons on either side of the elbow will become swollen, degenerated, and possibly torn causing persistent pain.

Despite being referred to as lateral or medial epicondylitis by the medical community, this condition is known not to be an inflammatory condition. Because of this, typical anti-inflammatory medications like Ibuprofen or Naprosyn often will not help. While steroid or “cortisone” injections can be tried and may give temporary relief, studies have shown that the condition often returns weeks to months later causing further delay in healing.

The good news is that this condition can be treated non-surgically. Medical studies have revealed that a dedicated specific exercise program that concentrates on eccentric (lengthen) strengthening of the elbow and wrist tendons often will successfully cure the problem. Even when rehabilitation fails, other procedures less invasive than having surgery can often be performed which can significantly improve pain in 90% of the cases.

So whether you are struggling with chronic elbow pain from playing doubles tennis or from lifting luggage at the airport, the physicians at Sarasota Orthopedic Associates can evaluate your elbow problem, correctly diagnose the cause of the pain, and suggest a specific treatment regimen which will get you back on the road to recovery.

Paul Lento, MD is Fellowship Trained and Triple Board Certified in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. He is a distinguished Sports Physician having served as team physician for major sporting events such as the Winter Olympics and major city marathons. Locally, Dr Lento is Team Physician at Lakewood Ranch and Booker High Schools. He is also a Castle Connolly Top Doc, a national recognition of the best physicians in healthcare. Dr. Lento sees patients at Sarasota Orthopedic Associates, voted the #1 choice for Orthopedic Care in Sarasota and Manatee .

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