How Shaving Your Arm Muscles Can End the Agony of Tennis Elbow; ME AND MY OPERATION TENNIS ELBOW REPAIR

Article excerpt

Byline: CAROL DAVIS

AROUnD 1.5 million Britons suffer from tennis elbow. Mark Boardman, 43, a machine operator from Manchester, underwent a new procedure. he tells CAROL DAVIS his story.

THE PATIENT

AS A keen fisherman and cyclist, I've always had strong arms. But one day last April, I suddenly found lifting anything incredibly painful. normally at work -- it was a packing factory -- we packed boxes using robots, but there were a few weeks when we had to pack them by hand.

Although they are only light, turning and loading a whole stack of them made my left elbow ache unbearably. within two weeks, it was just too painful to work at all -- I couldn't even lift a cup of tea in that hand without wincing.

My GP said it was tennis elbow -- I had damaged the tendon, which joins the wrist and hand bones to the outside of the elbow.

He gave me a steroid injection straight into the joint to reduce the inflammation but it didn't stop the pain, which stopped me sleeping at night.

I'd lie awake trying to get comfortable and when I did manage to sleep, the pain would wake me if I turned.

Any little movement hurt. I'd hold my fork in my right hand, not my left, which made meal times take much longer. I had to ask for lighter jobs at work. It was affecting virtually every aspect of my life.

I went back to the GP a week later. he referred me to a surgeon, Mr Bibhas Roy, who told me that your tendons can get these tiny tears, which are difficult to heal.

HE WAS going to cut the tendon away from the bone so that it wasn't constantly being stressed and could heal. My arm would be just as strong, because the other tendon would do the same job.

I was told that after the tendon is cut away, the small tears would heal; also, scar tissue would grow which would then reattach the tendon to the bone so that it works again.

The surgery was going to be keyhole, because that is quicker and less painful.

I had the operation last november. when I woke up from the anaesthetic there was a bandage on my arm and I was able to leave hospital a couple of hours later. For the first day I couldn't feel my arm at all because of the nerve block I had been given before the op.

It ached a bit when the feeling came back, but nothing like before.

Every day I could do a little more with it, even eating with my normal hand.

I saw a physiotherapist a few times who gave me exercises to strengthen my arm. I would also wrap a tea towel packed with ice around my arm to damp down the inflammation, which helped. It's wonderful; I can drive again and am even planning to go fishing now that I can lift a rod once more.

I'm back to my old self. And there's just a tiny scar.

THE SURGEON

Mr BIBHAS ROY, consultant orthopaedic surgeon at Trafford General Hospital, says:

BETWEEN one and five per cent of us will get tennis elbow at some time in our lives. tennis elbow is a kind of repetitive strain injury which can be caused by almost any action you perform repeatedly. …