Muscles, ligaments, and tendons hold the elbow joint together. The Extensor Carpi Radialis Brevis (ECRB) muscle and the tendon is usually to blame for tennis elbow, a painful condition caused by overuse. Tennis elbow causes a burning pain on the outer part of the elbow and weak grip due to a damaged tendon.
Treatment may include anti-inflammatory medications, bracing and steroid injections, in severe cases surgery may be considered to repair the inflammation. Under general anaesthesia, Dr Heymans will make an incision above the bone on the side of the elbow. He will then remove the damaged pieces of tendon and reattach the healthy end to the bone. This surgery may also be done endoscopically.
After a tennis elbow repair, some swelling, pain and stiffness along the elbow and arm are to be expected. Your arm will be immobilised with a splint temporarily to allow healing of the joint. After one week, the splint may be removed, and you may now stretch the arm and elbow. After a few weeks of recovery, Dr Heymans will advise you to begin with physical therapy to exercise the joint and regain strength. While recovery depends on the severity of damage in the tendon, most patients can return to normal within 8 weeks and return to physical activity with full strength in 4-6 months.