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Tennis elbow

By tennis elbow we recommend using UltiCare LT99 mini for its anti-inflammatory, healing and analgesic effects. The device can help to alleviate symptoms quickly and efficiently.

Tennis elbow/lateral epicondylitis/ is a painful condition of the outer part of the elbow joint. This common but painful condition is caused by an inflammatory reaction of the ligament attachments of forearm muscles which bend the wrist and hand upwards (extensors). Epicondyle is a bony projection of the bone of the upper arm that can be well palpable on the outer and inner part of the elbow. This is where muscles of the forearm are attached.

What is the cause of the disease and who is usually affected?

Lateral epicondylitis is also called tennis elbow. It usually affects tennis players and can be caused by irregular impact playing, wrong technique of the shot and wrong equipment.
It´s a paradox that it very often occurs in non-sportsmen after various repeated activities which overload muscles of the forearm, for example painting a room, assembling furniture or cutting trees. It is sometimes triggered after an ordinary bump of the outer part of the elbow against a wall or doorframe. This is how contusion and rupture of the ligament attachments of the forearm occur, followed by a defense inflammatory mechanism with pain. Although tennis elbow can occur at any age, it most commonly affects people aged 35-50 and it affects both genders equally.

How is tennis elbow diagnosed?
Diagnosing is based on a detailed case history – description of the occurrence and chronology of problems. Clinical examination with actions stimulating pain in the lateral epicondyle helps by diagnosing. Pain is very typical and varies from slight pain by pressure on the epicondyle to sharp stinging pain by moving the forearm upwards from the body or by lifting heavier objects. The X-ray usually doesn´t show pathological changes. More detailed diagnosing is done by USG and MRI.
What is the treatment?

Complex conservative treatment brings results in most cases:

  • The most important is the examination of the upper limb by limiting everyday routine activities.
  • Treatment with non-steroidal antiphlogistic drugs - NSA orally combined with local application of after-inflammatory ointments.
  • Physical therapy –electrotherapy, laser, magnet therapy, cryotherapy, bioptron light.
  • After the pain subsides, muscles and tendons of the forearm have to be stretched and strengthened.

How is the chronic pain treated?

If the pain persists after 6-8 weeks after the therapy, we speak of a chronic condition. In such cases we apply cortisone injections into the painful area. This injection is very efficient and popular, but repeated application may cause negative effects in the tendon structure.

When is a surgery required and how long does the recovery last?

If problems still persist for more than 6-12 months after the complex conservative treatment, surgery is recommended. The elbow joint has to be diagnosed by X-ray and MRI before the surgery.
In chronic cases, the elbow joint where the inflammation persists is also often damaged. In such cases surgery for pressure alleviation in the tendon and remove the damaged tissue is followed by an arthroscopic operation of the elbow joint. Sport activities can be started 3-5 months after the surgery. Before starting the full sports activity the weakened muscles of the forearm have to be stretched and strengthened.