ONS PT Patient Returns to Doing What She Loves Most

Old Greenwich artist, Felicity Kostakis, first noticed the pain in her right elbow while playing tennis. Over the course of a year, the pain invaded her day to day activities to the point that lifting clothing from the washer or taking a jar from the kitchen cabinet was excruciating. “I began to do everything with my left hand,” Felicity recalled.

Even more worrisome, it interfered with her ability to paint. “I was so scared it was the end. Painting is what I do every day. It’s what I love,” she said.

Not knowing what was wrong and fearing the worst, Felicity made an appointment with sports medicine specialist, Dr. Katherine Vadasdi, director of the ONS Women’s Sports Medicine Center.

“Dr. Vadasdi was amazing and so kind. With a digital x-ray machine right there in the office, I had everything done in the same appointment. It was so easy,” she said.  Dr. Vadasdi determined that Felicity had lateral epicondylitis, commonly known as tennis elbow, probably due to Felicity’s renewed enthusiasm for the sport.  During the consultation, Dr. Vadasdi helped Felicity purchase the proper elbow braces from an online source, and prescribed a program of physical therapy to get her better.

As a mother of two and art teacher, the time commitment needed for physical therapy seemed daunting. Yet, when she was able to get an appointment right away with Tanya Kalyuzhny, DPT, MDT, the director of physical therapy at the ONS Greenwich office, Felicity was immediately confident the time would be well spent.

“I could tell that Tanya was very knowledgeable and experienced from the get go,” Felicity explained. “Every time she treated me, she talked me through the entire process, so I knew what she was doing, what I needed to do, and why it was important. “

Treatment began with laser therapy and light weight bearing exercises and eventually involved advanced therapies such as Graston technique and dry needling.

“It was really a pleasure to go there. Everyone was so supportive, the front desk staff, the PT technicians and the therapists. They were always involved with what I was doing. I never felt like I was forgotten or ignored,” she explained. When Tanya announced that Felicity had “graduated” and didn’t need therapy anymore, Felicity was surprised at the void she felt in her life.

“I built a real friendship with Tanya,” she said. “It’s funny to say, but overall it was a pleasurable experience. I recommend ONS to everyone. We are so lucky to have their offices right here in our own backyard. “

These days, Felicity is back doing what she loves most. Painting canvases large and small, teaching art classes at Greenwich Academy and privately, and spending time with her husband and two sons. And she’s anxious to start swinging the tennis racket once the warm weather finally arrives.

Racquet Sports & Golf: Wrist and Elbow Injury Prevention and Treatment

If you love golf and racquet sports you’ll want to know how to keep your swing in motion and avoid the common hand, wrist and elbow injuries that arise while playing these sports. Specialists from the ONS Hand and Upper Extremity Center, David Wei, MD and Matt Cantlon, MD will discuss the warning signs, causes and treatments for conditions such wrist sprains, golf and tennis elbow, among others.  They’ll help you understand the symptoms that should be seen by a doctor, and offer practical advice for injury prevention. Free. Register by calling 203-863-4277 or register online.

Treatments for Tennis Elbow

ONS DR. DAVID WEI TALKS ON TREATMENT FOR TENNIS ELBOW. 

Tennis season is in full swing and so are the risks of overuse injuries such as Tennis Elbow.

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Tennis Elbow typically happens when a repetitive swinging motion pulls on the extensor tendons that connect the muscles in the forearm to the elbow, creating microscopic tears. Despite its name, there are many types of activities that can injure these tendons, especially those involving repetitive wrist motion. Although it continues to be a mystery as to why some patients develop Tennis Elbow while others are not affected, we do know that the end result is an abnormal change in the quality of the tendon itself, called angiofibroblastic hyperplasia.

Typical symptoms are pain along the outer side of the elbow with wrist motion and with gripping. The pain can be especially exacerbated by activities involving lifting objects with your elbow extended and the palm of your hand facing downward.

Recent data suggests that nearly all cases may resolve spontaneously, and the mainstay of treatment always begins with non-operative options. Avoiding aggravating activities or modifying the way you perform them can help decrease pain. For instance, lift things closer to your body, with your palms up. A splint or a counterforce brace can also help by relieving the strain on the tendon. In some cases, a physical therapy program and possibly injections will help the condition.

Most people don’t require surgery for Tennis Elbow. If, however, non-operative measures fail and the pain persists beyond six months, it may be time to consider surgery to repair the damaged tendons. Recovery time from surgery is relatively fast, but the tendons need time to regenerate, requiring approximately six to eight weeks.

Dr. Wei discusses tennis elbow in greater detail in this video.