Epicondylitis: how to treat tennis elbow

09 January 2020 - Therapies -
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Also known as "tennis elbow" because of the frequency with which it affects these athletes, epicondylitis is the inflammation of the tendons which connect the muscles of the forearm to the outer part of the elbow (lateral epicondylitis). A degenerative tendon process has recently been linked to this insertional tendinitis.

The causes

In addition to tennis racket enthusiasts, this problem can affect all people, mostly between the ages of 30 and 50, who perform repetitive and mechanical movements on the elbow joint which can generate inflammatory phenomena.

Symptoms

The main symptom which distinguishes it is pain in the elbow which can sometimes radiate up to the wrist and the hand and which can also be associated with local swelling, loss of functionality and arm strength, difficulty in extension movements and morning stiffness. Where during the initial phase of the disorder the symptoms can be small enough to be underestimated, as the problem progresses their extent may increase, resulting in a debilitating condition. The latter condition primarily concerns those belonging to at-risk professional categories (cooks, painters, tailors, etc.) who always repeat the same movements for their daily activities.

Diagnosis

The diagnosis is made during the exam by the specialist who performs a local palpation of the painful area, verifying the presence of any swelling. Palpation can also be combined with specific tests (i.e. Cozen test, Millis test), while instrumental analysis is not always necessary.

 

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Hilterapia - epycondilitis tennis elbow treatment

Therapy

Based on the degree of severity found, the specialist will prescribe different levels of therapy, ranging from simple rest to the use of appropriate supports up to drug therapy, by mouth or by infiltration, in the case of severe pain, especially during the acute phase.  Considering that conservative treatment is successful in about 80-95% of patients, the surgical option is only used in the rare cases for which conservative treatments have previously proved ineffective, and can include tendon detachment or removal of the degenerated tendon. Cycles of physical therapies such as TENS, ultrasounds, shock waves and laser therapy are frequently suggested to eliminate inflammation and pain. To promote functional recovery, physiotherapy exercises are then implemented.

And laser therapy?

Laser therapy has proved to be an important technique in the treatment of epicondylitis, both for its effect on pain and for its ability to promote functional recovery.

The study

A study by Ganzit and Gurin (1st Hilterapia congress®, 2006) reported on the application of Hilterapia® in 23 sports patients who had been suffering from epicondylitis for more than 6 weeks and had already been treated with other therapies without success. The patients, subjected to 10 treatments, showed a significant reduction in painful symptoms already after the 5th session, further improved with the subsequent ones. In parallel, the grip strength of the hand affected by the pathology was significantly increased at the end of the treatment cycle.

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