Tennis elbow is something that people seem to only think you can get playing tennis. In my case, the condition lived up to its name.  I play tennis several days a week, and a few years ago, all of that repetitive motion caught up with me.  It was so painful, I could not even open a jar without wincing. I had to stop playing for a while which, of course,  I did not want to do, and eventually it went away.  However, this new treatment option might have healed it faster. Here's more from Dr. Irfan Chhipa of Rothman Orthopaedics in my chat with him on Living Well with Robin Stoloff.

The medical term for tennis elbow is Lateral Epicondylitis. It is a painful degenerative process of the tendon that attaches to the outside part of the elbow. It is an overuse injury that is caused by repetitive activity and can be caused by more than just playing tennis. Painters and plumbers often get it from using the same motion in their arms over and over on a daily basis. Tennis elbow can make simple tasks seem impossible. It can last anywhere from a couple of weeks to more than six months. Treatment is normally prescribed as physical therapy, regular icing, and stretching.

Most of the time tennis elbow is something that can heal on its own with time. However, if your symptoms last more than six months,  it could be more of a chronic issue. The tendons can degenerate and need to be repaired if they cannot heal on their own. There is a new treatment for chronic tennis elbow and it is called Tenex.

Getty Images/iStockphoto/Catherine Yeulet

Doctors look at your elbow with an ultrasound machine and identify the diseased tissue. Using local anesthetics, they insert a tiny needle into the tendon.  Just like liposuction, they suck out the bad tissue. This triggers an inflammatory response which causes the body to heal the tendon. The procedure takes around 15 minutes to do and has a 90% success rate. The best part is that it is an outpatient procedure and you can even drive yourself home after and expect only about a four to six week recovery period. 

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