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

Article excerpt

AROUND 3 per cent of the Irish population suffers from painful tennis elbow and its debilitating effects. A 43-year-old machine operator, Mark Boardman, chose to undergo a new type of procedure. He tells CAroL dAVIS his story.

THE PATIENT

AS A keen fisherman and cyclist, I've always had strong arms. one day last April, however, I suddenly found that lifting anything was incredibly painful. normally at work 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 for ages trying to get comfortable -- but when I did manage to fall 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 also 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 to reduce stress and allow it to 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 underwent 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 could not feel my arm at all as a result of the nerve block I had been given before the op. …