Thursday, August 27, 2009

How we fix elbow tendonitis

For most people the pain is on the outside of the elbow. A minority of the time it is on the inside of the elbow. If it’s on the outside of the elbow, it’s called tennis elbow and if it’s on the inside, it’s called golfers elbow. You don’t have to play tennis or golf to get tendonitis in the elbow. In fact it’s often caused from typing.

Most patients will complain of pain, fatigue, and tenderness in the muscles. X-rays are not necessary unless there’s been a forceful injury that caused it. How we come to the conclusion of muscle/tendon pain is by stretching the muscle and having you pull against it. Normal muscles and tendons don’t produce pain when you do that. If there’s tendonitis it will be painful.

The way to get rid of it is to perform cross friction massage. With my thumb I will rub the tendon 90 degrees to the direction of the tendon. This can last up to 10 minutes. Within the first 3 minutes you will usually feel the tendon become numb to any pain. Often we will see a patient twice a week for 4-6 weeks. That’s usually enough to resolve it.

Ultrasound and cold laser therapy can help this condition. Athletic taping is helpful but only if there is not an excessive amount of hair on the elbow. The tape doesn’t stick to the skin otherwise.

Exercises for the elbow include doing extension curls. You would use a 5-10 pound weight and rest your forearm on a table. You would lift the weight using both arms and then slowly lower the weight to the bottom position. Three sets of 15 repetitions done twice a day for three months often is enough to fully rehabilitate the condition.

4 comments:

Steve Patrick said...

I am confused by the description of 90 degrees to the direction of the tendon. What exactly does this mean?

Dr. Story said...

If the direction of the tendon is going north to south, you move the tendon from west to east. Knowing the direction of the tendon is key to making it work.

Jacob Cunningham said...

Why does it take 4-6 weeks?

That's ridiculous. It's like you are taking advantage of the patient.

Melissa Grunow said...

I have had this description of pain for the past 3 weeks and i have tried OTC inflamatory reducing meds and it doesn't work. Please Help... my dr even prescribed me a topical cream but my insurance wouldn't cover it.