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Do you have tennis elbow? You may want to read this.

0 2 years ago

As a hard-training competitive athlete for much of my life I have had more than my share of joint injuries. I’ve had surgery twice on my left knee, both elbows and both hands and on my right shoulder for torn rotator cuffs. I’ve also dealt with many ankle sprains and a recurrence of tennis and golfer’s elbow pain.

When managing so many injuries over a lifetime, you get really good at figuring out the best approach to take to stay in the game without disrupting daily life. I’ve gotten really good at working around pain while keeping my fitness level high. As a result, I teach my clients to devote some of their exercise time toward managing old injuries while preventing new conditions from arising.

In the case of diagnosed injuries or chronic conditions, however, I believe strongly that a course of medical care and physiotherapy is the best way to proceed. Trying to “fix” an injury with exercise, without proper diagnosis and treatment, is a disaster waiting to happen. The place for fitness training is “post” physiotherapy/rehab and after medical care.

Recently, I learned about a new approach for treating a couple of the conditions that I mentioned above when I had the opportunity to interview Dr. Alexander Rabinovich of Arthrobiologix in Hamilton. Dr. Rabinovich is an orthopedic surgeon who has had great success treating patients with various joint injuries with injections to control inflammation and promote healing. He successfully treated my knee bursitis in 2019 and is currently helping me manage a foot injury. The two conditions that we spoke of last week, however, were tennis elbow and sprained ankles.

Tennis elbow is a painful condition caused by overuse. The overuse can be the result of any number of repetitive movements and is not limited to athletes. The specific tissue that becomes painful, inflamed and weakened is a tendon that joins the forearm to the elbow. Since it occurs over a long time, it is referred to as a “chronic” condition. It typically appears over time and then takes time to resolve.

Sprained ankles, on the other hand, are acute injuries that affect the ligaments that support and stabilize the ankle. They occur when the ligaments stretch beyond their limits and then tear. Like tennis elbow, ankle sprains are not limited to athletes. They can happen to anyone who happens to twist their ankle walking on an uneven surface or stepping off of a curb.

The standard approach to treating both of these injuries includes physiotherapy, bracing, anti-inflammatory drugs and, possibly injections. The newly-approved treatment that Dr. Rabinovich has introduced into his practice includes injecting a compound called soft tissue adapted biocompatible hyaluronic acid (STABHA). Hyaluronic acid (HA) is a natural substance present throughout the body that acts as a cushion and lubricant in joints and other tissues. As we age, however, the quality of HA in our body changes resulting in some tissues becoming dehydrated and weak.

When injected into arthritic joints, HA attracts water molecules for lubrication to add a layer of protection to cartilage.

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