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've been back to this office about 4 times already. Dr. Lehman is TOP notch. Her staff, TOP notch. I live out of state and have to travel but the Dr. and staff just make the experience easier. No,getting poked a bunch of times isn't fun but this office is just awesome. HIGHLY RECOMMEND."- B. / Google / Jun 26, 2023
"I've been back to this office about 4 times already. Dr. Lehman is TOP notch. Her staff, TOP notch. I live out of state and have to travel but the Dr. and staff just make the experience easier. No,getting poked a bunch of times isn't fun but this office is just awesome. HIGHLY RECOMMEND."- W.M. / Google / Jun 01, 2023
"Dr. Crider and his team are amazing! I had Regenexx done on my lower back and it worked beautifully! Everything was explained to me and I didn’t even need pain meds. I am getting so much relief from the 10+ years of horrible back pain. "- Anonymous / Healthgrades / Mar 29, 2023
"Asheville Regenerative Ortho is the closest provider of Regennex treatment to my home. My company covers Regennex, and as an alternative to knee replacement (both knees) I decided to take a chance. Very happy I did. Had left knee procedure at the end of May, and that knee is almost entirely pain free now. Planning to do right knee soon. Dr Lehmann and all the staff are very professional, explained the treatment and its potential for my specific situation."- R.B. / Google / Sep 19, 2022
"I had the Regennex procedure on my left knee in May 2022. 3 months later it is nearly pain free (compared to highly painful prior). Planning to have right knee done soon. Dr. Lehman and entire staff were friendly, professional, and explained the procedure and likely outcome in detail. Very satisfied with the results so far, and hoping this delays the need for knee replacements for several years."- B.B. / Facebook / Sep 19, 2022
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.
Elbow Pain FAQ
Why is PRP for tennis and/or golfer’s elbow better than steroids or surgery?
PRP is becoming a preferred treatment for ailments like tennis elbow and golfer’s elbow because of its minimally invasive nature, regenerative properties, and potential long-term results. Steroid shots risk making the condition worse over time while surgery is associated with many risks.
Will Asheville Regenerative Orthopedics & Sports Medicine suggest surgery to repair my elbow?
Only as a last resort after conservative treatment options and regenerative therapies have not improved your situation. Dr. Lehman and her team believe orthopedic surgeries can be risky and may not solve the problem. In some cases, surgery may worsen pain.
Are PRP injections for the elbow painful?
You may experience brief discomfort during the PRP process for your elbow pain. After the PRP treatment, you may also feel continued pain for a couple of days before the pain starts to subside. The healing process is typically gradual from that point on, and you may need another PRP treatment a few weeks later.
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.
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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