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Elbow Epicondylitis Repair

Elbow Epicondylitis Repair

Treat Tennis Elbow or Golfer’s Elbow

Tennis elbow and golfer’s elbow, or elbow epicondylitis, are caused by overuse and repetitive stress to the tendons of the elbow. Both conditions cause patients to suffer from pain, either on the outer elbow (tennis elbow) or on the inner elbow (golfer’s elbow), and weakness of grip. The pain is typically aggravated by lifting or gripping activities. Elbow epicondylitis is most commonly treated by non-surgical measures, but some patients will require a surgical repair. Dr. Waterman is trained and experienced on how to treat tennis elbow and golfer’s elbow using an elbow epicondylitis repair.

The majority of patients who suffer from elbow epicondylitis have poor technique when swinging a club or racquet, or perform repetitive movements on the job. The continued strain causes microscopic tears in the tendon over time. The initial treatment for tennis elbow and golfer’s elbow are non-operative measures including ice, activity modification and stretching and strengthening exercises. If the symptoms do not improve, Dr. Waterman may recommend a surgical approach.

How to treat tennis elbow and golfer’s elbow after non-operative measures fail depends on the extent of damage to the tendon. Dr. Waterman will perform an MRI to determine the exact level of tendon tearing and degeneration. If the tendon tearing is moderate to severe, Dr. Waterman will recommend an elbow epicondylitis repair, either arthroscopically or an open surgery, to remove the diseased muscle from the elbow area and reattach healthy muscle back to the bone. Treating tennis elbow or golfer’s elbow surgically generally includes debriding or a tendon repair. Debriding requires Dr. Waterman to clean and remove the damaged tissues, while tendon repair requires him to suture the normal tissue to facilitate healing.

Recovery and Rehabilitation after Elbow Epicondylitis Repair

The arm will need to stay immobilized in a sling following a surgical procedure for elbow epicondylitis. The splint and sutures will be removed within 7-10 days and a physical therapy program will continue until the patient reaches a full recovery. Patients can expect to return to their normal activities approximately four to six months after an elbow epicondylitis repair.

At a Glance

Dr. Brian Waterman, MD

  • Chief & Fellowship Director, Sports Medicine, Wake Forest
  • Team Physician, Wake Forest University, Chicago White Sox
  • Military affiliation/Decorated military officer and surgeon
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