What is Elbow Pain?
At Asheville Regenerative Orthopedics & Sports Medicine, our goal is to diagnose your issue properly and provide alternative treatment options that can potentially alleviate your pain and provide lasting results. It is usually felt on the inside or outside of your elbow with pain levels rising at the end of each day. Elbow pain also typically causes stiffness or a decreased range of motion in the elbow, which can prevent patients from performing normal, everyday activities. Our experienced team, led by Dr. Christie Lehman, is passionate about the needs of our Asheville, NC patients. After a thorough assessment, we can effectively diagnose and treat virtually any elbow condition.
"I came to Dr. Lehman after enduring years of pain in my hips, especially my right hip. Previous corticosteroid injections, which would help for a few months, had ceased to be effective. Driving, standing, walking - everything had become very painful. Dr. Lehman’s exam revealed several sizable tears in the tendons of both hips. I received the regenerative platelet injections in each hip, directly into the tendon tears, to produce new cell growth to fill in the painful gaps/tears. At that time, my regular pain on a scale of 1 to 10 was: 4 or 5 in my left hip; 8 to 10 in my right hip. Today, after my 12 week checkup, I can honestly say that my left hip pain is usually nonexistent or, at most, a 1, and my right hip pain is no higher than a 2, maybe 3 after driving a long distance. That is like a 75 to 80% improvement for me, and we expect it to continue to improve. I am so grateful to Dr. Lehman and her team for helping me get past the pain and all the associated stress!"- D.K. / Google / Jul 21, 2021
"Three months ago, Dr. Lehman did a stem cell treatment on my knee for a torn meniscus and arthritis. She and her staff provided a thorough explanation of what was involved in the procedure and what to expect in the days after. I am now 80% pain free and able to walk several miles and up and downstairs without discomfort. I highly recommend this practice."- Anonymous / Healthgrades / Oct 14, 2021
"I came to Dr. Lehman after being told by several orthopedic surgeons that I needed a total knee replacement for advanced osteoarthritis. She treated me with stem cell & plasma rich platelet injections harvested from my own body. My knee was significantly improved afterwards and I can walk without my old limp!"- N.M. / Google / Oct 03, 2021
"I am extremely satisfied with my experiences with Dr. Lehman. I've had two procedures done and everything was handled professionally. She is an excellent communicator, and answered any questions I've had. Her bedside manner during the procedures is excellent as well. I've given her name to more than one friend, and highly recommend her to anyone who has joint/muscle issues that may benefit from her expertise."- L.M. / Google / Aug 03, 2021
"Dr. Lehman was excellent. I couldn't raise my arm above my head to wash my own hair. Now I'm swimming and living my life. It was wonderful"- T.C. / Healthgrades / Jul 01, 2021
What Are Tennis Elbow and Golfer's Elbow?
Tennis elbow and golfer's elbow are two of the most common elbow conditions. The former is an overuse injury that results in pain over the lateral, or outside, aspect of the elbow that worsens when squeezing objects. Although it’s quite common among tennis players, it can also affect other athletes and individuals as well. Golfer’s elbow, on the other hand, is similar, but occurs at the medial, or inside, aspect of the elbow. Pain may be worse with moving the wrist up and down.
How is Elbow Pain Diagnosed?
When you arrive for the evaluation of your elbow pain, our priority will be to determine exactly what’s causing your discomfort. To that end, we’ll begin by asking you detailed questions about your symptoms – including when they first appeared and if any activities seem to make them worse. From there, we’ll perform a physical examination of the joint, evaluating the area for tenderness, pain, and swelling. In-office ultrasound evaluation will be performed and consideration for further imaging - possibly Xray or MRI if needed.
HOW is Elbow Pain Treated?
Treatment options depend upon the severity of the injury, past medical history, access to medical care, and your physician’s preferences. In general, it is always best to start with conservative therapy. Treatment options include:
- CONSERVATIVE TREATMENT: This includes activity modification, ice, heat, and physical therapy. Nitric oxide patches have been shown to be helpful as well.
- MEDICATIONS: When conservative treatment options fail, NSAIDs and steroid injections are often recommended. The toxic effects of NSAIDs or anti-inflammatories are discussed in depth here. Steroids are powerful anti-inflammatory agents that can provide short term benefits but at a cost. A study here looked at data from many other studies and showed that steroid (cortisone) shots may actually make tennis elbow worse in the long run.
- SURGERY: Many different surgical options exist depending upon the severity of the injury including stripping away a portion of the tendon sheath to promote healing. The goal is to clean out any dead tissue as well as repair any tendon tears. In most cases, this should be the option of last resort.
- PRP SHOWN TO BE BETTER THAN STEROIDS: PRP injections have been shown in multiple clinical studies to be more effective than steroids (see review study here). Dr. Lehman is an expert in the treatment of Tennis and Golfers elbow. Under ultrasound guidance, PRP is injected into the areas of injury and tears to reduce swelling, promote healing, and accelerate recovery. See my Facebook post here.
Alleviate Your Pain
Elbow pain can be debilitating. Treatment options include conservative care, medications, steroid injections, and surgery. PRP is an effective, non-surgical option that is becoming the standard of care for tennis elbow and avoids the risks of surgery, and extensive rehabilitation. In addition, PRP injections avoid the risk of viral infection associated with operating rooms, hospitals, and ambulatory surgery centers. Don’t let elbow pain keep you on the sidelines. Let your own cells heal your ongoing elbow pain.
If you have elbow pain and are interested in effective, noninvasive, and exciting new treatments, request an appointment with ARO.
Supplements for Healthy Joints
Learn Dr. Lehman's preferred dietary supplements for joint health.Read
PRP Preferred Treatment Over Steroid Injection For Tennis Elbow
A recently published article looked at 8 studies that looked at the effects of corticosteroid injection.Read
New Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) Study On Tennis Elbow (Lateral Epicondylitis)
Gosens & Sluimer from the Netherlands, just reported on a prospective, double blinded, randomized study comparing PRP to cortisone injections.Read