Tennis Elbow

Living With Arthritis Tennis Elbow

The condition known as tennis elbow is the result of arthritis of the elbow through strenuous physical activity, it is not the result of an immune system disorder such as rheumatoid arthritis.  In some cases an immune system disorder such as RA can actually cause the body’s immune system to attack healthy tissue like the cartilage found in the elbow.  Once the cartilage is depleted the only way to relieve pain from tennis elbow is to perform surgery and either transplant cartilage to the area from another part of the body or use a prosthetic “cartilage simulating” implant.

Once you have tennis elbow it can cause tenderness and swelling, and pain so severe it is difficult to move the arm.  Pain management is often necessary in addressing tennis elbow so that the patient can move their arm relatively pain free.  Tennis elbow is not only caused by playing tennis, many different athletic or everyday physical activities can cause it as well.  Most of those who suffer from tennis elbow were either athletes or those who used their arm to perform repetitive motion at work or at home.

During studies medical professionals noticed that many athletes (particularly tennis players) did in fact have tennis elbow, however in many cases it was contingent upon either a player’s overall number of years playing or the presence of a poor technique.  In order to determine whether or not a patient’s cartilage damage is serious enough to warrant a diagnosis of tennis elbow X-rays are performed to make sure that it is not a fracture or arthritis.  The number of tendon injuries over time will determine the likelihood of whether a person has tennis elbow or some other injury.  It is very important to try and avoid repeated injuries to tendons in the arm because they can result in tennis elbow.

Treatment for tennis elbow is vast and varied, depending on how serious the injury in many cases simply resting can alleviate much of the pain.  In addition to resting in many cases doctors will order a series of simple exercises to increase strength and flexibility in the elbow area.  Heat or ice is also a favorite to relax and numb the affected area in an effort to bring comfort to the patient while they heal.  There are also many cases in which soft tissue massage can be useful in encouraging the patient to heal.

There are other treatments to consider however they are considered extreme by many physicians and patients alike.  In some cases an injection of steroids is suggested and will encourage faster healing in the affected area, however if too many steroids are used the fat cells in that area will die leaving a marked area where the flesh appears to “cave in” at the injection site.  Almost 40% of tennis players have reported problems with their elbow and less than a quarter of them were under 45 years old.  Like many other forms of joint problems women found them more troubling than men.