What is tennis elbow?

Commonly known as tennis elbow, lateral epicondylitis is a condition of the common extensor tendon that is anchored to the lateral epicondyle, a bony prominence on the humerus (upper arm bone). The stresses from tennis and other racket sports can damage this tendon. However, this condition affects more non-tennis players related to repetitive use, weight-lifting, and laborers. When this tendon is repetitively exposed to these forces without healing properly can lead to pain on the lateral (outside) elbow. The weakened grip from this tendon damage can make it difficult to perform daily activities such as holding a cup of coffee or turning a doorknob.

What is the treatment for tennis elbow or lateral epicondylitis?

Patients with confirmed tennis elbow generally respond well to non-operative therapies alone. There are several non-invasive treatment options available based on the patient’s specific injury. However, patients with persistent and severe pain or those who do not respond to initial non-operative therapies may require surgical intervention. The goal of surgically repairing tennis elbow is to decrease the tendon irritation caused by repetitive forearm use. Dr. Ronak Mukesh Patel, orthopedic elbow doctor, treats patients in Sugar Land, Pearland, and the Houston, Texas area, who have experienced Tennis Elbow and are in need of surgical repair.

How is tennis elbow surgically repaired?

A tennis elbow repair is typically performed as an outpatient procedure using an open surgery approach. The procedure begins by creating a small incision over the lateral epicondyle to access the injury site. When opened, Dr. Patel methodically analyzes the elbow structures. Following this evaluation, the common extensor tendon is examined and the damaged fragments are excised and removed. The remaining healthy tendon tissue is then fastened back to the lateral epicondyle with special surgical anchors that are secured within the bone.

What is the recovery period like after tennis elbow repair?

The patient’s specific injury often directs the care provided during the recovery period following tennis elbow repair. The recovery timeline is accelerated as techniques are minimally invasive. The majority of patients can expect a full recovery with a return to normal daily activities in approximately 2 to 3 months. Overall, patients in Sugar Land, Pearland, and the Houston, Texas area can expect:

  • Immediate immobilization of the elbow with a sling or splint following surgery for less than 1 week. The elbow is then transitioned to an elbow brace to allow early, controlled range of motion for approximately 6 weeks.
  • Pain, swelling, bruising, and general discomfort are to be expected during the first 7 to 10 days after surgery. A combination of rest, ice, and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs) can alleviate any of these post-operative symptoms.
  • Physical therapy will begin within 1 week after surgery. This physical therapy program aims to improve elbow movement and re-establish flexibility.
  • The key to a successful tennis elbow repair is active participation and completion of the physical therapy program utilizing a specific protocol. Dr. Patel will formulate an individualized rehabilitation program according to his intra-operative findings.

Tennis Elbow Repair Surgeon

If you are a weightlifter or have a job that requires heavy repetitive motions of the elbow and arm, you may be at risk of tearing your lateral epicondyle, a bony prominence on the upper arm bone. This condition is called epicondylitis or Tennis Elbow. Tennis elbow repair surgeon, Doctor Ronak Mukesh Patel,  provides diagnosis as well as surgical and nonsurgical treatment options for patients in Houston, Sugar Land, and Pearland, TX who have suffered a tear of the lateral epicondyle. Contact Dr. Patel’s team today!