Tennis players and golfers are familiar with elbow pain. But carpenters, mail handlers, painters, waiters and computer operators also may experience the symptoms of “tennis elbow” or “golfer’s elbow”.
Tennis elbow is a painful condition on and around the bony prominence (epicondyle) on the outside (lateral side) of the elbow. This location gives this condition its technical name lateral epicondylitis.
Golfer’s elbow describes a similar condition. The pain focus is the knobby bump on the inside of the elbow closest to the body (the medial side), so it is technically known as medial epicondylitis.
Both problems typically result from repetitive arm movement such as practising your golf swing or tennis stroke. However, other activities such as hammering, using the screwdriver, raking, typing or gardening can initiate the pain too. Over using the muscles in your arm can lead to tiny tears in the tendons that attach the muscles in your forearms to the epicondyles. If you continue to do the activity without allowing the tears to heal, the tendons can become inflamed.
In many cases, the tendons are normal, however, the ligaments of the elbow are the culprits. Ligaments are strong bands of connective tissue that join bones together and provide stability to joints. These bands are usually very taut but overuse of the arm can cause ligamentous laxity and pain, which may radiate into the shoulder or down toward the wrist.
Conventional treatment includes ice, anti-inflammatory medication, braces, cortisone injections and occasionally surgery
Prolotherapy involves the injection of non-cortisone based solutions such as dextrose (corn sugar) or glycerine into the tendon or ligament attachments. This stimulates the tissue to grow new tendon or ligament cells so that the strength of the injured structures can be regained. As a result, the inflammation naturally subsides therefore eliminating the pain. This treatment is extremely effective and safe.
Flexibility and strengthening exercises should be initiated after the prolotherapy so as to prevent reinjury.
Copyright © 2003 by Dr. Garrett G. Swetlikoff