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Why am I having persistent elbow pain?

Answered by: Hansa Kanuga

Consultant Physiotherapist,Apollo clinic,Vadodara.

Q. I am a 39 years old woman suffering from pain in my left elbow for the last 18 months. I consulted a doctor who told me that it is tennis elbow. I have a lot of pain and unable to straighten my elbow out. I have had several cortisone shots in it over the past year and a half. I have even done a few months of physical therapy on it. Once the cortisone wears off, the pain recurred. My doctor suggested a surgery for my problem, but on consulting a surgeon, I was asked to wear a wrist splint for 3 to 6 months. I have worn the splint now for a week, and my elbow seems to be worse. It becomes extremely stiff and also my wrist is starting to hurt now. Are stiffness and the new wrist pain normal after wearing a wrist splint?

A.  I agree you are in a bad condition.There is no reason to get upset. You will have to continue with your physiotherapy within your limits of pain. The condition you have described is also due to withdrawal symptoms of cortisones. Your doctor has given you the right time frame for recovery but , I differ in my opinion of using the brace all throughout the day. I would advise you to gradually increase the time frame of the use of brace and your activity as your range of motion of the joints improve Secondly never force your movements at the elbow. Your shoulder and wrist pain have no relation to wearing your brace.You can also use pillows to support your arm while sitting ,when you are not using the brace. It will be a very slow recovery so you will require all your patience.

A.  I agree you are in a bad condition.There is no reason to get upset. You will have to continue with your physiotherapy within your limits of pain. The condition you have described is also due to withdrawal symptoms of cortisones. Your doctor has given you the right time frame for recovery but , I differ in my opinion of using the brace all throughout the day. I would advise you to gradually increase the time frame of the use of brace and your activity as your range of motion of the joints improve Secondly never force your movements at the elbow. Your shoulder and wrist pain have no relation to wearing your brace.You can also use pillows to support your arm while sitting ,when you are not using the brace. It will be a very slow recovery so you will require all your patience.

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