ELBOW ARTHRITIS/ TENNIS ELBOW/ GOLFER’S ELBOW
Arthritis is a progressive disorder affecting the normal functioning and flexibility of the joints on all parts of the body. Arthritis can be caused due to aging with daily wear and tear, an auto accident or sports injury or any other causes. Arthritis affecting the elbows causes inflammation in the joint followed by movement restriction as the bones rub against each other. With arthritis the protective cartilage cover is destroyed resulting in swollen and painful elbow joint. Similar conditions affecting the elbow joints are Tennis elbow and golfer’s elbow. Tennis elbow is caused due to repetitive stress on the tendons and muscles that attaches the forearm muscles to the outer elbow bone. Repetitive stress on the muscles and tendons causes pain on the outer side of the elbow that extends to the wrists and arms. Golfer’s elbow is similar to the tennis elbow disorder with pain on the inside of the elbow joint. Overuse of the tendons causes pain, tenderness, stiffness and weakness in the elbow joint that radiated through the wrist and the arms. These conditions are common in sportsmen and may experience shaking hands, difficulty in lifting things or to flex the wrist.
The diagnosis is conducted through clinical and physical examination and imaging tests to understand the cause and severity of the condition. Conventional Treatment methods for Elbow Arthritis/ Tennis Elbow/ Golfer’s Elbow include medications to relieve the pain and swelling caused by the condition and physical therapy to stretch and strengthen the muscles and tendons of the elbow joint. Surgical treatments are followed by several session of physical therapy to regain the mobility and flexibility of the elbow joints.
ALTERNATIVE TREATMENT METHODS AT BETH YEHUWDAH ARTHRITIS CENTRE, PULLAD & DAYSTAR CLINIC, ALAPPUZHA
1) Platelet Rich Plasma in Osteoarthritis of Elbow joint/ Tennis Elbow/ Golfer’s Elbow : Plasma rich platelet prolotherapy is the recent trend in treating various joint conditions and is designed to stimulate repair of chronically inflamed synovium, partially torn ligaments in the affected joint and to reduce swelling and pain caused by the condition. PRP therapy uses only PRP, whereas PRP Prolotherapy is a combination treatment where PRP is injected into the joint and dextrose prolotherapy is given to the ligaments and soft tissue attachments around the joint. This treatment may help a patient who does not want surgery and helps to overcome the disease condition with minimally invasive injection techniques. The treatment method stimulates the natural immune repair mechanisms of the body and delivers the building block essential to build and repair damaged tissues.
How does PRP work? Blood components are of four major types - plasma, platelets, white blood cells and red blood cells. Platelets assist in clotting and are also the “first-responders” of the body post injury; helping repair an injured region and in building up of new tissue and thereby promoting the healing process. Once platelets contact collagen in damaged tissues, the platelets release various biological growth factors (Table 1 as given below) to promote healing in soft tissues locally. Activated platelets commonly release the following growth factors:
Table 1: Various biological growth factors released by PRP when activated
Platelet-Derived Growth Factor (PDGF)
Attracts cells of the immune system to the site and stimulates their proliferation. Also shown to assist in healing of ligaments and tendons.
Transforming Growth Factor-ÃŸ (TGF-ÃŸ)
Similar affects as PDGF. It is Secreted by all major cell types involved in healing.
Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor (VEGF)
Helps in formation of new blood vessel, thereby increasing vascularity in injured areas.
Fibroblast Growth Factor (FGF)
Promotes the growth of the cells involved in collagen and cartilage formation.
PRP injection delivers a high concentration of autologous (patient’s own) platelets to the Elbow, where Osteoarthritis/ Tennis Elbow/ Golfer’s Elbow is present. Platelets present in the blood are the first responders to an injured area and helps build up new soft tissues. Introducing high concentration of platelets directly into the joint using PRP injection stimulates the healing process and faster recovery from the joint condition.
Patient Benefits of PRP Prolotherapy
2) Comprehensive Dextrose Prolotherapy for Osteoarthritis of Elbow joint/ Tennis Elbow/ Golfer’s Elbow: Prolotherapy is a natural and cost effective alternative method to surgery. Prolotherapy is an almost painless injection technique under local anesthesia where very thin needles are used to inject high concentrations of dextrose solution (sugar similar to glucose) in to loose and damaged ligaments, tendon and muscle attachments around the osteoarthritic joint. Prolotherapy works by increasing the glucose concentration in the fluid outside the cells. This results in movement of fluid from inside the cells through the cell membrane to the outside of the cells thereby shrinking the cells and causing temporary cell damage (hyperosmolar damage). As the cells are temporarily damaged, they release many biosignals to the body which results in stimulation of the immune system of the body to accelerate the inflammatory process locally resulting in increased local blood circulation, fibroblast (fibrous cell) proliferation, ligament regeneration, tightening and repair. Prolotherapy is an effective non surgical treatment method used successfully in osteoarthritis/ degenerative joint disease condition. This treatment method has the ability to strengthen the existing intact, but weakened, ligamentous and tendinous structures in the joint. Along with the treatment technique, it is important to perform series of movement and muscle strengthening exercises to strengthen the already weakened muscles due to osteoarthritis joint condition.
Patient Benefits of Comprehensive Dextrose Prolotherapy
Neural & Soft Tissue Infilteration Therapy (NESTIT)
Low Dose Steroid Infilteration/ Neural & Soft Tissue Infilteration Therapy (NESTIT): Steroid tablets and injections of the group Corticosteroids, (which are very different from Anabolic steroids misused by some athletes) have been repeatedly proven medically for the last 70 years in the successful treatment of inflammatory conditions due to its potent anti-inflammatory effect. Though corticosteroids are very effective in reducing inflammation, they carry numerous potential side effects, which are undesirable. To circumvent this problem, and in order to utilize the potent anti-inflammatory effects of steroid injections, at the same time taking appropriate measures to considerably lower its side-effects, Dr Tejaz Koshy John in 2010 while working as an Orthopaedician in his private clinic in Guyana, South America developed NESTIT. NESTIT stands for (Juxta) Neural and Soft Tissue Infilteration Therapy. It consists of injecting small amounts of diluted anti inflammatory steroid solution indirectly near (juxta) nerve CCPs- (chronic constricting points) in the lower back/ hip/ neck/ shoulder regions, in order to reduce juxtaneural and perineural inflammation, as well as in certain soft tissue sites including but not limited to trigger points (painful muscle “knots”)/ myofascial syndrome and/or enthesitis (inflammation of soft tissue-bone junctions) and/or sites of nerve inflammation (neuritis/ radiculitis) and/or bursitis (inflammation of fluid filled cushions called bursa) and/or additional sites causing pain referrals (referred pain) to distant sites; in order to obtain a reduction in inflammation and pain in the concerned joint/ region/ limb. It is preferably given for those patients who have Rheumatoid Arthritis, Inflammatory Arthritis, Synovitis, Inflammatory Low Back Pain, Spondyloarthropathy & Nerve and Nerve root irritation. It is not a substitute for DMARDS (Disease modifying anti rheumatoid drugs), however when given with low dose DMARDS, in Dr Tejaz John’s clinical experience it may result in significant reduction of local inflammation, pain and improvement of joint function in most cases, also indirectly reducing side effects of high dose DMARDS.
In Dr Tejaz John’s clinical experience, the patient benefits of Low Dose Steroid Infilteration/ Neural & Soft Tissue Infilteration Therapy (NESTIT) treatment are:
At Beth Yehuwdah Arthritis Centre, Pullad and Daystar Clinic, Alappuzha we provide a variety of options for patients suffering from Elbow Arthritis/ Tennis Elbow/ Golfer’s Elbow. To know more about treatment options and plans, book an appointment now.Authored by Dr TEJAZ KOSHY JOHN
MBBS, MS Ortho (Christian Medical College, Ludhiana), Joint Replacement Fellowship (HOSMAT Hospital, Bangalore), Orthopaedic Trauma Fellowship (Hebrew University Hospital, Jerusalem, Israel)Read More