Are Elbow Injections Effective
Different types of injection-based treatments are often suggested for tennis elbow or golfer’s elbow. According to the research on tennis elbow so far, most of them don’t live up to their promises. They can also have side effects. These are usually temporary, like pain at the injection site. Each injection is also associated with a low risk of inflammation or injury to the elbow. Most of these injections contain one of the following active ingredients:
So previous studies suggest that it’s a good idea to be very cautious when injection treatments are offered. Injections are usually only considered if the pain is especially bad, and nothing else helps.
What Is Tennis Elbow
Tennis elbow is a type of tendinopathy, which means it affects your tendons. It develops when your common extensor tendon develops tiny tears and then thickens and swells. This causes pain and tenderness.
Tennis elbow is a common condition that affects between one and three people in every 100. Anyone can get tennis elbow, but you are most likely to get it in your 40s and 50s. You can get it in both arms, but it usually develops in the arm you use most.
It usually develops gradually and, depending on how severe it is, can last between six months and two years. Sometimes, it can come back in the future.
The Fast Cure For Tennis Elbow
Posted on July 13, 2016
Tennis elbow, or lateral epicondylitis, is a painful condition of the elbow caused by overuse. Not surprisingly, playing tennis or other racquet sports can cause this condition. But several other sports and activities can also put you at risk.
Tennis elbow is an inflammation of the tendons that join the forearm muscles on the outside of the elbow. The forearm muscles and tendons become damaged from overuse repeating the same motions again and again. This leads to pain and tenderness on the outside of the elbow.
There are many treatment options for tennis elbow. In most cases, treatment involves a team approach. Primary doctors, physical therapists, and, in some cases, surgeons work together to provide the most effective care.
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How Do I Prevent Tennis Elbow
There are a number of steps you can take to reduce the likelihood of developing tennis elbow:
- Avoid repetitive arm motions, especially those that require excessive gripping, to the extent that you can.
- Build arm and wrist strength through exercise.
- Stretch your arm and shoulder muscles before sporting activities.
- Reduce strain on your elbow by relying more on your shoulder for initiating arm movement.
- Keep your limbs loose and flexible during work or workouts.
Prp Injections For Tennis Elbow
Platelet rich plasma is a treatment that may be offered by a surgeon in hospital to treat tennis elbow.
PRP is blood plasma containing concentrated platelets that your body uses to repair damaged tissue. Injections of PRP have been shown to speed up the healing process in some people, but their long-term effectiveness is not yet known.
The surgeon will take a blood sample from you and place it in a machine. This separates the healing platelets so they can be taken from the blood sample and injected into the affected joints. The procedure usually takes about 30 minutes.
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Physical Therapy Guide To Tennis Elbow
Most people who get tennis elbow don’t play tennis! In fact, less than 5% of all tennis elbow cases occur in people who play the sport. Tennis elbow can happen to anyone who repeatedly uses their elbow, wrist, and hand for their job, sport, or hobby. Physical therapists help people with tennis elbow gently heal the affected areas, build muscle strength, and avoid further injury.
Physical therapists are movement experts. They improve quality of life through hands-on care, patient education, and prescribed movement. You can contact a physical therapist directly for an evaluation. To locate a physical therapist in your area, visit Find a PT.
When All Else Fails
So, youve tried the RICE method, over-the-counter medications, and simple stretches. Youve even hit up your local health food store and put a temporary halt to activities that aggravate your elbow joint, like playing tennis. But, when it comes to alleviating your elbow pain, still no dice. If youve been at it for a couple of weeks without witnessing results, then its probably time to consult with your local elbow specialist.
Fortunately, a board-certified orthopedist has many tricks up their sleeveand not all of these involve surgery. An elbow expert can help you network with the right professionalslike physical therapistswho can relieve your pain.
If your pain doesnt abate after 6 weeks of conservative measures, then you may want to consider surgery. A minimally invasive procedure, like elbow arthroscopy, is a sure-fire method to permanently silence your pain. For innovative, and minimally invasive treatments that you can trust, contact our elbow specialists at NJ Spine & Orthopedic today!
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How Can A Physical Therapist Help
For the first 24 to 48 hours after acute onset of your pain, your treatment may include:
- Resting the arm by avoiding certain activities and modifying the way you do others.
- Applying ice treatments to the affected area.
- Using elastic bandages or supports to take the pressure off the painful muscles.
Your physical therapist will decide if a brace or support to protect your muscles will aid your healing.
Supination With A Dumbbell
The supinator muscle is a large muscle of your forearm that attaches into your elbow. Its responsible for turning your palm up and is often involved in movements that can cause tennis elbow.
For all the supination exercises listed below, its recommended that you first practice isometric supination without weights: With your elbow fixed, rotate your palm up and hold for about 30 seconds.
Equipment needed: table and 1-pound dumbbell
Muscles worked: supinator muscle
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What Causes Tennis Elbow
The most common cause of tennis elbow is overuse of muscle and weakness of muscles. As the name suggests, it is often caused by playing tennis or other sports that involve repetitive, forceful movements of the arm. The condition is also common among people who do carpentry, painting, typing, or knitting.
Tennis elbow is a type of tendinitis, or inflammation of the extensor carpi radialis brevis tendon. A tendon is a fibrous connective tissue that attaches muscle to bone.
Overuse or can strain the muscles attached to the elbow and lead to tiny, microscopic tears and inflammation near the lateral epicondyle of the elbow, causing pain, stiffness, and restricted movements.
Whats The Difference Between Tennis Elbow And Golfers Elbow
Tennis elbow is a condition of the lateral epicondyle tendon, or outer part of the elbow. Golfers elbow is a condition of the medial epicondyle tendon, or inner part of the elbow. The medical term for golfers elbow is medial epicondylitis.
People with golfers elbow have inner elbow pain that radiates down the arm. They can also have finger numbness and tingling. Golfers can get tennis elbow, just as tennis players may get golfers elbow.
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Can Tablets Or Gels Help
Non-steroidal such as ibuprofen and diclofenac can probably relieve the pain somewhat. They are most useful at the start, when the pain is the most severe. These medicines can either be applied to the elbow in the form of a gel or taken in the form of a tablet. NSAIDs are not suitable for long-term use because they can lead to stomach problems, among other things. There is no to suggest that they speed up the healing process.
Ways To Fix Tennis Elbow
+ Eccentric Strengthening Exercises
Eccentric strengthening exercises are whats going to strengthen your damaged tendon when youre suffering from tennis elbow. Eccentric exercises are those which involve a muscle contracting under tension while it lengthens. Its a completely different exercise than say a wrist extension exercise.
This type of exercise builds strength and load capacity in the tendon around the damaged area. Eccentric exercises have been shown time and time again to the right thing to do for tendinosis or tendinitis injuries like tennis elbow.
+ Dry Needling for Tennis Elbow
Dry needling is a therapy that involves stimulating trigger points in the tight muscles that you feel need to be stretched. Using small needles a rehab specialist can go directly into the trigger point and release some of the muscle tension, something thats hard to get done with stretching.
Additionally, trigger points are contributing to the pain you have associated with tennis elbow. Dry needling can relieve some of this pain and it can often do it quickly. Dry needling is a treatment only performed by specially trained healthcare professionals. Its safe, and you can actually see and feel the trigger points releasing during treatment.
Heres a cool case study about this treatment to check out if youre interested > Dry Needling for Tennis Elbow Relief
+ Cho-Pat Elbow Brace for Tennis Elbow
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How Is It Diagnosed
Tennis elbow most often occurs due to repeated movements. Other muscles and joints in the area may be affected as well. Your physical therapist will assess your elbow. They also will assess other areas of your body that may be affected or contributing to your pain.
They will perform special tests that detect any muscle weakness that might have led to the problem in the first place. Your physical therapist may ask you to gently tense or stretch the sore muscles. This will help them pinpoint the exact location of the problem. In some cases, they may refer you for an X-ray to aid the diagnosis.
How Can Tennis Elbow Be Treated And Prevented
If you have tennis elbow, it may go away on its own without treatment. You do not need to immobilise the elbow with a sling. The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners suggests that you remain active, but avoid actions that cause significant pain and dont lift heavy objects with your hands facing down.
Using an ice pack regularly and taking pain relievers can help. You may choose to use non-steroidal anti-inflammatories , but research has not been able to clearly show that they definitely help recovery.
If your pain persists, and certainly if it has not improved after 6 to 12 weeks, it is advisable to see a physiotherapist. A physiotherapist can suggest exercises to stretch and strengthen the muscles in the arm, and may recommend that you wear a brace or strap on your forearm to reduce stress on the painful area.
If your pain is severe and does not improve, your doctor may suggest corticosteroid injections, although these are only used for short-term relief. Another type of therapy, called platelet-rich plasma injections, may also be an option.
Surgery for tennis elbow is rarely needed, but might be used if other treatments do not work over several months.
Your doctor or physiotherapist may also suggest ways you can change how you do certain tasks, to reduce the strain on your arm.
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How Is Tennis Elbow Managed Or Treated
Tennis elbow may get better on its own with little, if any, treatment. However, that recovery may take up to 18 months. Proven nonsurgical techniques exist that can accelerate your recovery. Nonsurgical and minimally invasive treatments for tennis elbow include:
If symptoms dont improve after six to 12 months of nonsurgical therapies, your provider may recommend surgery, like an arthroscopic or open debridement of the tendon or a tendon repair. Surgery typically involves removing the injured tendon and muscle. Your provider replaces the damaged tissue with healthy tendon and muscle from a different part of your body. Recovery can take four to six months. Once youve had tennis elbow, you may need to wear a brace to keep symptoms from returning.
Diagnosis Of Tennis Elbow
You may not need to see a doctor if you think you have tennis elbow. You may be able to treat it at home. But if your symptoms get worse and self-help and over-the-counter painkillers aren’t working, contact your GP for advice.
Your doctor will ask you about your symptoms and examine your elbow. Youll be asked to move your arm and elbow in different ways to see which are painful. Your GP may ask about your medical history, what job you do and any hobbies you have which may have caused your symptoms. Your GP will usually be able to diagnose tennis elbow without needing to do other tests.
If your GP isnt sure whether or not you have tennis elbow, they may arrange for you to have tests such as an X-ray, ultrasound, CT scan or MRI scan. These give detailed images of your elbow joint and can help to find out whats causing your symptoms.
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Natural Remedies For Tennis Elbow
- Try The RICE Method: RICE stands for Rest, Ice, Compression, & Elevation. When the inflammation of tennis elbow first arises, try to refrain from activities that rely heavily on the use of the forearm muscles. Your doctor may even recommend that you wear a splint or brace to force immobilization of the elbow. For the first 2-3 days, apply ice packs to the elbow and forearm for 15-20 minutes at a time, several times throughout the day. At the 4 day mark, try to apply alternating rounds of ice and heat. Now that the swelling has gone down, the heat will draw blood to the tendon. As needed, elevate the arm or use loose compression wraps to reduce any swelling.
- Take Anti-Inflammatory Medications: Try over-the-counter NSAIDs, like aspirin or ibuprofen, to manage your pain. Keep in mind that you can always upgrade to steroid injections or prescription-strength medications if OTC drugs do not prove sufficient relief.
- Eat a Diet Rich in Anti-Inflammatory Foods: If you would like to go a more natural route, then modify your diet to include anti-inflammatory foods. Some of the top anti-inflammatory foods include:
- Fruits, like pineapples, cherries, and berries
- Leafy Greens, like spinach, kale, or Swiss chard
- Fatty Fish, like salmon, tuna, or mackerel
- Nuts, like walnuts or almonds
- Healthy oils, like coconut or olive oil
- Superfoods, like Apple Cider Vinegar
- Antioxidant-rich foods, like beets
- Fragrant spices, like ginger or tumeric
Steroid Injection Or Surgery
Another option in the treatment of tennis elbow is to inject corticosteroids into the affected muscles or tissues. These steroids help reduce pain and inflammation, but their effects are only temporary.
Surgery may be considered if non-surgical treatments don’t work for you. In this case, your doctor will remove part of the bone at your elbow joint, which is the common site of the problem.
After surgery, you may need to do a physical therapy program before you can completely recover from the tennis elbow.
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How Is Tennis Elbow Diagnosed
The diagnosis of tennis elbow typically involves:
- Documentation of your health and medical history
- A write up of your symptoms
- A physical examination of your elbow, forearm, and wrist
- Range-of-motion and strength tests for your arm, wrist, and hand
- X-ray, MRI, or electromyography tests, to rule out possible alternative diagnoses, such as arthritis, nerve compression, or a herniated disc
What Are The Treatment Options
Doctors sometimes recommend very different treatments for both tennis elbow and golfer’s elbow. According to the studies done so far, the following treatments can help:
- Stretching and strengthening exercises: Special exercises that stretch and strengthen the muscles of the arm and wrist.
- Manual therapy: This includes active and passive exercises, as well as massages.
- Painkillers: especially non-steroidal .
- Injections: Steroid injections.
- Ultrasound therapy: The arm is exposed to high-frequency sound waves. This warms the tissue, which improves the circulation of blood.
The main treatment for symptom relief is usually a combination of stretching and strengthening exercises. NSAIDs are an option for short-term treatment. Steroid injections can also relieve the pain, but they may disrupt the healing process.
Most of the following treatment options for tennis elbow and golfers elbow have not been scientifically proven to work.
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The Best Way To Heal Tennis Elbow
The best way to heal your tennis elbow is a comprehensive rehab strategy of eccentric elbow exercises, dry needling, and bracing. Other treatments our chiropractic office offers that may help you are therapeutic ultrasound treatment and Graston Technique manual therapy. We treat tennis elbow frequently and are experienced in how to relieve tennis elbow pain.
Medical treatments for tennis elbow include cortisone steroid shots and surgery. Cortisone steroid shots for tennis elbow can provide significant temporary relief but many times elbow pain comes back after the steroid wears off. If you do have a cortisone shot in your elbow you should follow it up with by seeing a chiropractor for some rehab. The surgery option for tennis elbow should be a last resort, only if youve failed rehab or have a complete tendon tear.
Still curious about dry needling or wondering if could help you with other injuries? See some content I wrote about dry needling for other injuries!