Lateral epicondylitis commonly known as "tennis elbow" is the most common affliction of the elbow.
Its cause is degeneration or injury to a tendon that controls upward movement of the wrist. This tendon attaches to a bony prominence over the outside part to the elbow.
It often presents acutely with pain on the outside of the elbow usually with usage such as lifting with the palm of the hand facing down along with stiffness of the elbow. Pain levels can vary from a minor annoyance to debilitating pain getting in the way of routine normal everyday activities.
The majority of the time its cause is from over usage such as lifting or working on a computer but can also occurs from an injury such as bumping the elbow. Tennis elbow can be resistant to treatment and it is not unusual for it to persist for up to a year.
Includes avoidance of activities that aggravate the symptoms, Non-Steroidal anti-inflammatory medications, Physical Therapy, Cortisone shots and splints. Platelet rich plasma (PRP) has also been used but at this time does not have a lot of scientific evidence to support its use and is not approved by most insurance companies, which can make it an expensive alternative. Surgery can be performed for symptoms that do not respond to conservative treatment and that have been present for up to a year. The surgery is performed as an outpatient procedure typically lasting about 30 minutes.
It can often take up to 6 months to get back to strenuous activity and postoperative physical therapy can be required.