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Traumatic Tennis Elbows
Knowledge Center

Traumatic Tennis Elbows

April 23, 2019
Headshot of Garreth.

Garreth was in a car accident two years ago, which resulted in multiple broken bones, including his leg. Since the accident, he has also had a knee replacement. Unfortunately, he falls often because of balance issues and now has tennis elbow in both arms from repeated trauma.

Tennis elbow, or lateral epicondylitis, is an inflammation of the tendons that join the forearm muscles to bone on the outside of the elbow. The forearm muscles extend to the wrist and fingers. Symptoms of tennis elbow include pain and burning on the outer part of the elbow and weak grip strength. Garreth is an interior designer. Tennis elbow limits his hand movement to create sketches for clients.

He bounced around for a year trying to find a solution for his pain and hand and arm dysfunction. One of his design clients had similar issues and referred him to Dr. Erik Bruce at DOC, who recommended prolotherapy, an alternative medicine method that promotes connective tissue repair.

Prolotherapy is a series of injections containing a mildly irritating substance designed to produce inflammation in the injured tissue, Garreth’s elbows. The body’s natural response stimulates substances carried in blood that produce growth factors in the injured area to promote healing. New tissue is produced that strengthens unstable ligaments and tendons, and may support damaged cartilage.

Dr. Bruce has used prolotherapy treatment on Garreth’s painful elbows for one year. His right arm and hand are much better than the left because he has had 10 treatments in the right and only five in the left elbow. The injections have helped the pain and Garreth can use his hands again to sketch designs.

Garreth describes Dr. Bruce as the “real deal, a doctor with a plan to provide me with lasting pain relief, who actually does care.” Guests who undergo prolotherapy treatments usually experience significant pain relief and increased range of motion. Approximately 80% to 95% of patients nationwide with tennis elbow have success with nonsurgical treatments.

Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) is currently being investigated for its effectiveness in speeding the healing of a variety of tendon injuries. PRP is a preparation developed from a patient’s own blood and contains a high concentration of healing protein growth factors. Current research on PRP and lateral epicondylitis is very promising and may be another option for Garreth in the future. Many orthopedic surgeons within DOC utilize regenerative medicine therapies, including PRP and stem cells to naturally promote healing. If you would like to attend a free Regenerative Medicine seminar, ask your DOC provider for dates and locations.

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