Tennis Elbow: sometimes it means more

Tennis Elbow: sometimes it means more

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Tennis elbow (or lateral epicondylitis) is common. Chances are you've experienced it or know someone who has.

You don't need to have played tennis. Typically, any repetitive activity straining the forearm extensor muscles can lead to it. It can be quite irritating and can restrict your activities a lot.

Physiotherapists often work on the forearm muscles. The good ones also try to improve the upper limb biomechanics.

GPs often prescribe anti-inflammatory medications or inject corticosteroids (rheumatologists do this too).

Sports doctors & orthopaedic surgeons may inject all sorts of stuff, including PRP (platelet rich plasma) or autologous blood.

Most cases are due to mechanical injury and repeated aggravation, and there is a clear need to avoid the repetitive aggravation.

But, sometimes, it's a symptom/sign of an underlying disease.

The tennis elbow may be very chronic and hard to treat. There may be repeated episodes affecting either elbow. Or the person suffering this complaint may be really prone to tendon injury. For example, they may also have suffered patella tendon issues or plantar fasciitis or been told they have heel spurs.

Tendons, and their Entheses, the region where the tendons insert, are a common area affected by spondyloarthritis. Think of Psoriatic Arthritis. Think of Ankylosing Spondylitis.

When faced with recalcitrant and/or widespread tendinopathy or enthesopathy (read Enthesopathy:What's that?), the rheumatologist will usually cast a wider net, and consider a deeper cause. Many of our patients have spent frustrating months or even years attempting to get their tennis elbow fixed.

Sometimes, it means more than overuse.

Does this change things for you?


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