The more we learn about Tom Brady’s elbow injury, the more reason we have to believe the issue isn’t minor.
Brady has been dealing with “tennis elbow,” NFL Media’s Mike Giardi reported Saturday. The Patriots quarterback hasn’t missed any games, but the injury has limited him in practice and clearly affected him last week against the Cincinnati Bengals.
So, what’s “tennis elbow?”
Here’s some additional context from Dr. Jessica Flynn, a sports medicine specialist at Lahey Hospital & Medical Center who also contributes to Boston Sports Journal:
#Patriots QB Tom Brady has been dealing with throwing elbow issues for weeks now. @MikeGiardi reports that Brady has lateral epicondylitis (tennis elbow), a degenerative process in the tendons at the elbow responsible for cocking the wrist back & supination (rotating the palm up) https://t.co/Mu3eTqYHru
— DocFlynn (@jessdeede) December 21, 2019
Here’s a longer explanation from Flynn:
“These tendons allow the athlete to extend or cock back the wrist and supinate the forearm (rotate the palm up). Over time, the tendons can develop tiny micro-tears from repetitive work (throwing) and the area around the bony attachment gets inflamed. Patients I see complain that they can’t lift a jug of milk or even a cup off coffee without pain, it hurts to shake hands or grip.
“The treatment? Immobilize the wrist. … I know, it’s weird for an elbow issue to be treated with a wrist brace, but remember those tendons are under stress when they’re moving the wrist. Therapy, pliability work on the muscles that attach to those tendons and TIME. Lots of patients want to hurry things up with a steroid injection, but I always try to avoid it. Steroids stop the healing process. The body needs to make a big deal about an injury like this, with swelling and irritation, to get growth factors to the area to fix the problem for good. Steroid injections stop that process.”
Despite the injury, Brady will play Sunday afternoon at Gillette Stadium against the Buffalo Bills. Just how effective (or ineffective) he’ll be remains to be seen.
Thumbnail photo via Paul Rutherford/USA TODAY Sports Images