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Tennis Elbow

Tennis Elbow Lateral Epicondylitis

Tennis elbow is a prevalent condition characterized by pain on the outer part of the elbow. Although it is commonly associated with tennis players, it is frequently observed in individuals who engage in repetitive hand movements.

Tennis elbow is a condition characterized by pain in the elbow and forearm. Initially, the pain may decrease with rest, but it progressively worsens and becomes severe over time. The pathology in the elbow involves damage to the tendons of the forearm muscles attached to the outer part of the elbow. Individuals often attribute the initial symptoms to fatigue, but as the pain intensifies, medical attention is sought.

Since it is a mechanical condition, understanding the underlying cause is crucial for effective treatment. The most significant mechanism is the impact of repetitive forces, which surprisingly occurs more in the wrist than the elbow. Activities such as continuous lifting and lowering of the wrist during computer use, hammering, dishwashing, and repetitive gripping movements exert these excessive forces. Those at risk include homemakers, workers in various occupations, office workers, and athletes. However, it can occur in any occupation involving strain and repetitive movements.

The pain can become so severe that even simple tasks like shaking hands, opening a doorknob, or lifting a light object can be unbearable.

The initial and most important treatment approach is to avoid the activities that trigger the condition.

However, in some cases, certain movements are inevitable and necessary. In such situations, ergonomic adjustments should be made. Shortening the lever arm, which means bringing the load closer to the body, can reduce the load on the elbow and forearm muscles. For workers, consultation with occupational safety experts and workplace physicians can help make adjustments based on the individual’s height, weight, and specific job requirements. For example, a homemaker can approach the sink while washing dishes, narrowing the carrying angle.

In sports, especially in tennis and racket sports, correcting the stroke technique is crucial for injury prevention. Proper technique, such as using shoulder movement instead of wrist and elbow during backhand strokes, can help prevent injuries. In fitness training, using excessively tight grips, lifting heavy weights with high repetitions, performing exercises with full extension (opening to the side) of the elbow can lead to strain and cause epicondylitis. Instead, performing exercises with a slight flexion of the elbow can help prevent injuries.

Treatment Methods

Treatment methods vary based on individual conditions. We recommend a treatment plan involving pain medication, elbow brace, and 15-minute ice application 5-6 times a day. If the pain persists, a steroid injection may be administered. Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy, using the patient’s own blood to promote healing, is also an option. However, its effectiveness compared to steroid treatment varies in studies. Drawbacks include the need for blood extraction and the cost of materials. Alternative approaches include radiofrequency treatment and physical therapy alongside exercise. In persistent cases, surgery to remove damaged tissues may be considered. Patients often express fear of injections and report temporary pain. Sedation during the procedure can enhance comfort and effectiveness.

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