Lateral epicondylitis is a condition in which the outer part of the elbow endures pain and swollenness due to being overused, specifically by repetitive motions. This is also known as “tennis elbow”. Although tennis players are predominantly affected by this, it can happen to anyone who indulges in repetitive use and extension of the forearm, wrist, and hand: painters, plumbers, carpenters, etc.
What are some treatment options?
Tennis elbow will usually heal on its own, which has been seen in approximately 80% to 95% of patients; however, if left untreated, tennis elbow can progress into an injury that could require surgery.
- Acetaminophen (anti-inflammatory) medications
- Physical therapy
- Rest and occasional splinting
- Steroid Injections are rarely recommended by our practice
- The right surgical approach for you will depend on a range of factors. Many patients are fully recovered within 4 to 6 months. Arthroscopic surgery can eliminate pain and restore range of motion.
Biceps Tendon Repair of the Elbow
Biceps is a single muscle on the front part of the upper arm attached to the forearm bones by tendons. The primary function is flexion of the elbow and supination of the forearm.
If you feel a sharp pain at the shoulder or elbow accompanied by a bruise, or have a feeling of weakness in the shoulder or elbow, it is possible that you have a biceps tendon tear.
What is a biceps tendon tear?
Biceps tendon tears can be either partial (damage to soft tissue but does not severe the tendon) or complete (tendon detaches completely). This commonly occurs when there is an unexpected force applied to the bicep muscle. Most ruptures occur when the elbow is in a flexed position.
Although tears of the biceps tendon distally (at the elbow) are uncommon, it is still possible. It most often results from an injury or lifting a heavy object. When this tendon tears, it tends to be a complete tear: the muscle is separated from the bone.
Why should I get surgery?
Without surgery, there will be prominent weakness in elbow flexion, but more importantly in turning the palm up. Surgery should occur as soon as possible, preferably before 2-3 weeks. This is because the tendon and biceps muscle begin to scar and shorten, which makes it nearly impossible to restore proper arm function.
Surgery reattaches the tendon back to the radial tuberosity. This ensures restoration of full functionality. The surgery to reattach the tendon may be performed with a single incision or with two incisions.
What can I expect afterwards?
Right after surgery, your arm may be placed in a cast or splint to restrict any motion that could disrupt the healing process. When appropriate, your doctor will then prescribe physical therapy to help you regain range of motion and strength.
The biceps tendon takes over 3 months to fully heal, so it is important to remain careful and to listen to your doctor’s after-care instructions.