Tennis Elbow

“Great treatment and great people!"

“Dr. Julka and his staff were fantastic. Amy was up to date on all of the paperwork necessary for my workers’ compensation claim and FMLA. Dr. Julka did a fantastic job on my surgery and follow up treatment. And Jennifer in OT was great to work with – guiding me through the rehab process without holding me back. I would highly recommend this treatment group for any hand/arm type of treatment. Great treatment and great people!”

~ Patty  from Google Reviews

Tennis Elbow

What is the tennis elbow?

Tennis elbow or Lateral epicondylitis is a condition in which degeneration of the common extensor tendon causes pain and difficulty with function.  The common extensor tendon is a tendon that is attached to a large muscle group in your forearm.  With age and activity the tendon attachment to the bone can degenerate and begin to cause pain with even the most simple activities. 

What are the symptoms of tennis elbow?

The key symptoms of classic tennis elbow/lateral epicondylitis are lateral or outside elbow pain that may be described as burning, sharp, dull or even radiating in nature.  Pain may be present throughout the day and can be associated with stiffness particularly in the morning.  The pain is usually worse when lifting objects particularly with the palm of the hand facing the floor (pronation).  The condition can occur in patients who work in positions where repetitive activity is required. Conversely, there are patients who do little repetitive activities who may still experience significant symptoms. 

How is lateral epicondylits diagnosed?

The good news about lateral epicondylitis is that it is easily diagnosed with an examination and history alone. We do not typically require Xrays for the diagnosis unless arthritis or deeper traumatic injury is a concern. 

Is an MRI necessary for diagnosis?

An MRI is not necessary for diagnosis of lateral epicondylitis. If you have had an MRI already performed Dr. Julka is happy to review it at your appointment to assure there are no additional concerning findings. 

What is done in lateral epicondyle or tennis elbow surgery?

Tennis elbow surgery is performed with a 2.5 cm incision on the outside of the elbow.  The diseased portion of the tendon is exposed and removed. The remaining healthy tendon is then sutured closed to close the gap left by removal of the unhealthy portion of the tendon.  The wound is closed with sutures under the skin and skin glue.  

What kind of anesthesia is required?

The vast majority of our tennis elbow repair surgeries are performed with numbing of the arm as well as sedation provided by an anesthesiologist. General anesthesia is not required. 

Do I have to stay overnight in the hospital?

All of our tennis elbow repair surgeries are performed in a surgery center on an outpatient basis. 

What can I do after my surgery?

You will be placed in a small soft bandage and sling after your surgery. Unless instructed otherwise you will be allowed to remove your bandage in 48 hours and place a small dressing or band aid over the incision.  We require you do not actively use your arm for pushing, pulling or lifting till 6-8 weeks after surgery. It is very important that we allow your tendon to fully heal prior to placing any stress on the repair. You will be allowed to shower once the dressing is removed. Guided therapy performed with an occupational therapist will start 2 weeks following surgery and continue for up to 3 months. We allow light use of the hand within 48 hours from surgery. 

When can I get back to my normal activities?

After tennis elbow repair surgery we will release you back to your regular activities at 12 weeks.  Some patients may be ready to return to normal activities slightly sooner and some a little later. We value every patient as an individual and will do our best to get you back to your normal life as soon as possible. 

How do I know if I need to seek treatment?

We recommend you seek treatment as soon as you feel it is effecting your quality of life.  We tend to have a better chance of treating you non operatively if we see you earlier in your disease process.  You do not have to live with elbow pain, our team of experts are here to help.