Evaluating the Symptoms of Tennis Elbow and Choosing Effective Treatments

When an athlete is experiencing tennis elbow, the individual may notice pain as soon as the patient bends the wrist, and the condition significantly reduces grip strength and causes tightness in the person’s forearm. If a patient does not receive medical care, the athlete might suffer from fibrosis, which can harden the tissue and decrease the person’s range of motion.

Examining the Symptoms

Tennis elbow is generally caused by repetitive movements that slowly damage tissue in the arm’s central joint. If the cartilage becomes excessively thin, certain parts of the joint can scrape against one another, and consequently, the movements may produce swelling, weakness that affects the entire arm and tenderness.

According to several studies, at least 1 percent of Americans will experience tennis elbow during 2017, and the number of sufferers may increase by around 18 percent throughout the next year. Additionally, a separate report showed that more than 82 percent of surveyed patients required treatments.

Providing a Diagnosis

Once a clinic performs a test that utilizes magnetic resonance imaging, the specialists can examine the positions of the joints, the cartilage, nearby blood vessels and the density of an inflamed tendon. The evaluations allow physicians to ensure that the patient is not suffering from fractures, dislocated bones or calcification. The test can also help physicians to examine especially tense muscles, which are able to cause tennis elbow.


By adding tape that stabilizes the inflamed joint, a doctor may prevent damaged tissue from flexing, and the tape can decrease the pressure that might affect the joint and reduce the impact of excessively tense muscles. According to multiple reports, orthotics may reduce the recurrence of tennis elbow by approximately 22 percent.


If an athlete chooses treatments that involve prolotherapy, specialists will inject a serum that contains sodium salts into the elbow, and once the individual receives more than three injections, the compound can stimulate the growth of new tissue that may cushion the inflamed joints. After the treatments, the patient will generally experience pain relief and notice increased strength within two weeks to six weeks.

Shock Waves That Could Accelerate Healing

Certain clinics use devices that generate rapid shock waves, which can decrease the density of scar tissue, augment blood flow and thicken tendons that are near the elbow.

By increasing the production of tissue, the shock waves may significantly strengthen surrounding muscles, and the treatments can induce the release of vascular endothelial growth factor and proteins that reduce inflammation.

Decreasing Symptoms by Using Specialized Lasers

Some experts will regularly position the patient’s injured elbow near lasers that generate near infrared light, which can stimulate blood flow and reduce swelling.

The treatment might notably augment the concentration of collagen in the joint, and the therapy will typically lessen the sizes of calcium deposits that could affect a patient’s motion.

Treatments That Require Concentrated Plasma

A clinic might inject platelet-rich plasma into the elbow’s tissue, and the compound can boost the amount of oxygen that benefits the injured joint, enhance the density of the cartilage, reduce inflammation and prevent sensitization.

Furthermore, platelet-rich plasma contains growth factors that accelerate the production of new cells. Therefore, the treatment may reduce the risk of calcification and prevent the formation of scar tissue.


In this instance, an athlete was originally diagnosed with minor quadriceps muscle strain and was treated for four weeks, with unsatisfactory results. When he came to our clinic, the muscle was not healing, and the patients’ muscle tissue had already begun to atrophy.

Upon examination using MSUS, we discovered that he had a full muscle thickness tear that had been overlooked by his previous provider. To mitigate damage and promote healing, surgery should have been performed immediately after the injury occurred. Because of misdiagnosis and inappropriate treatment, the patient now has permanent damage that cannot be corrected.

The most important advantage of Ultrasound over MRI imaging is its ability to zero in on the symptomatic region and obtain imaging, with active participation and feedback from the patient. Using dynamic MSUS, we can see what happens when patients contract their muscles, something that cannot be done with MRI. From a diagnostic perspective, this interaction is invaluable.

Dynamic ultrasonography examination demonstrating
the full thickness tear and already occurring muscle atrophy
due to misdiagnosis and not referring the patient
to proper diagnostic workup

Demonstration of how very small muscle defect is made and revealed
to be a complete tear with muscle contraction
under diagnostic sonography (not possible with MRI)


Complete tear of rectus femoris
with large hematoma (blood)


Separation of muscle ends due to tear elicited
on dynamic sonography examination

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