Based on its common nickname of “tennis elbow,” you may assume that lateral epicondylitis only affects tennis players. However, this injury can happen to anyone who overexerts their elbow joint. Let’s discuss the symptoms, various treatment routes and circumstances under which surgical tennis elbow repair might be necessary.
All About Tennis Elbow Repair
After overusing or straining your elbow, you may develop pain and weakness in the joint, possibly extending to the forearm or wrist. These are telltale signs of tennis elbow. Although conservative, nonsurgical treatments are often helpful in relieving these symptoms, tennis elbow repair surgery might be needed in order for certain patients to see significant improvement.
If treatment interventions like avoiding activities that aggravate symptoms, taking pain relievers and performing physical therapy exercises don’t offer a full solution, a patient may explore this procedure with an orthopedic surgeon.
When considering surgical repair for tennis elbow, here are a few important things to know about the typical recovery process:
- After the procedure, your arm will be placed in a bandage to protect the surgical wound and stitches. You might also need to wear a splint or cast for around 7-10 days following surgery to support your arm as it heals. Since you won’t be able to use your operated arm during this time, it’s vital to arrange for someone to help you around the house.
- You’ll return to your orthopedic doctor for follow-up appointments to evaluate your healing and determine when you are ready to begin physical therapy. Performing the exercises may feel uncomfortable at first, but any pain should resolve within 3-6 months as your elbow strength and range of motion improve. You may be instructed to continue physical therapy for up to one year, depending on your progress.
- After tennis elbow surgery, most patients are able to resume their normal daily activities within around 2-6 weeks. Those who enjoy sports will likely be advised to allow 4-6 months for their elbow to heal before returning to athletic activities.
Ultimately, your rehabilitation journey and its timing will depend on your unique case, including the severity of your elbow damage, your personal healing rate and the type of surgery you opt to undergo. In many cases, elbow surgery can be done arthroscopically to minimize invasiveness and speed healing time.
See Dr. Soffer for Expert Elbow Treatment
If you’re experiencing lingering elbow pain and dysfunction, it may be time to see an orthopedic specialist like Dr. Soffer in Reading, PA. As an esteemed orthopedic surgeon and a co-author of the first elbow arthroscopy textbook published in the U.S., Dr. Soffer is well versed in elbow issues and how to address them effectively. He offers a full range of nonsurgical and surgical treatments to patients ranging from young athletes to elders, prioritizing the least invasive methods whenever possible.
To find out more about Dr. Soffer’s care offerings and schedule an appointment with him, call our office at 610-375-4949.