Research on the condition caused by "tennis elbow" injuries has most recently focused on muscles themselves rather than on muscular functions. A Swedish study shows the importance of increasing the muscle blood flow in patients suffering from tennis elbow. Írebro University researcher Eva Oskarsson uses a Botox treatment, which entails that the muscle is allowed to rest and it is given an opportunity to repair. Considering that other treatments had little effect, this procedure could reduce pain and increase arm functions in cases of long term illnesses.

"After only three months, blood flow and hence oxygen supply has improved," said Eva Oskarsson.

Patients suffering from tennis elbow have pain in the outer part of the elbow. The cause is overexertion that stretches the forearm muscles. Actions such as repetitive movements often lead to long periods of sick leave.

"This may involve small movements such as grasping something with one's hand. Among the tennis players, which gave its name to the problem, as many as 30% - 40% are suffering from this. They are doing the same movement many times each day. But tennis elbow can also be caused by lifting. I have such a kindergarten teacher in my study," reported Oskarsson.

Oskarsson's studies show that patients have a decreased blood flow in muscle tension which is known to be involved in tennis elbow. The reduced blood flow in muscle tissue reduces the supply of oxygen and nutrients as well as removal of waste products. This contributes to the pain that patients feel.

"The reduced blood flow seems to be caused because the patient has difficulties in relaxing so that the muscle shrinks the space for blood vessels. Botulinum toxin, Botox, provides a transient paralysis of the muscle - it becomes a means to relax. The blood vessels may be space and blood flow increases again," explained Oskarsson.

"We have treated patients who have had long standing problems with tennis elbow. The positive effect of Botox treatment has been shown to continue when we have followed up on the patient after 12 months. These are really positive results," asserted Oskarsson.

Resource: Írebro University