Have you thought about getting surgery for your tennis elbow? Tennis elbow afflicts between 6.5 to 9.5 million people each year in the U.S. – and not just racquet sports players. Because it is caused by repetitive motions of the arms, this nagging injury affects golfers, gamers, musicians, construction and manufacturing workers, landscapers, hairdressers, cooks, butchers and even those who use a computer all day. It most often affects a person’s dominant arm.
As a result of overuse, damage to the tendons in the forearms can lead to pain, stiffness at the elbow, difficulty grasping or lifting objects and numbness or tingling in the fingers. Although symptoms may develop gradually, they tend to worsen over time and can become chronic if not treated.
Multiple treatment options exist – from conservative, over-the-counter methods to surgery. Patients are advised initially to rest the elbow, often combined with icing and pain medications like ibuprofen or acetaminophen. Braces or straps can offer temporary relief as well.
Professional therapeutic interventions include TENS, ultrasound and acupuncture to alleviate pain. Some physicians also will deliver injections of steroids like cortisone, or of platelet-rich plasma (PRP) to help reduce inflammation and stimulate healing.
Physical therapy may make use of some of these therapeutic options, along with manual therapy such instrument-assisted soft tissue mobilization (IASTM) and exercises to strengthen and stretch the muscles in the forearms to reduce strain on the tendons.
A new, convenient way to address tennis elbow at home is the Stā Active E5 tennis elbow device [make a link to your product page], which automates IASTM to deliver concentrated, repetitive linear strokes to the forearm, which breaks down adhesions and scar tissue and increases blood flow for pain relief, tissue regeneration, and functional restoration.
After six months to one year of treatment, if a patient has not sustained relief from tennis elbow, the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons (AAOS) recommends that surgery may be considered. Fortunately, surgery is rare in tennis elbow cases, with only about 3% to 11% of sufferers requiring it.
Here’s what to expect if you’re wondering “Should I get surgery for tennis elbow?”