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    Overcoming elbow pain: Pickleball enthusiast shares journey with innovative TenJet procedure 

Sara Stenhaug playing pickleball

A Rochester resident's triumph over tennis elbow through percutaneous hydrotenotomy 

A couple of years ago, Sara Stenhaug began experiencing debilitating right elbow pain, commonly known as tennis elbow. Physical therapy and dry needling failed to provide the desired relief, leaving Sara frustrated and challenged by the persistent symptoms. She found it difficult to continue with daily activities like exercise, crafting and cooking. Even simple tasks like opening the window blinds were painful. Each day brought pain and frustration. Driven by the desire to regain functionality and return to a beloved pastime — pickleball, Sara reached out to Mayo Clinic for a solution.

Seeking a solution to her pain and wanting to return to her favorite sport, Sara was referred to Dr. Jane Konidis, a physician in Mayo Clinic's Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, who suggested a percutaneous hydrotenotomy, also known as TenJet. The procedure, performed on July 13, proved to be less invasive than traditional methods, did not require anesthesia and provided an almost miraculously immediate relief from her pain. 

"The hardest thing about the recovery wasn't that I was in pain. I had no pain,” says Sara. "The mental aspect of recovery was a lot harder than the physical for me because I had no pain. I knew I had to gradually build up strength over time for long-term healing. It was difficult for me to set strict boundaries around my recovery plan because I just wanted to get back to playing pickleball."

Working with Dr. Konidis and Mark Jensen, her physical therapist, Sara developed a post-procedure exercise plan, changing pickleball to biking, and high-intensity workouts to hiking and walking.  

In terms of financial considerations, Sara noted that while platelet-rich plasma and shockwave procedures also were recommended, they required out-of-pocket expenses. The TenJet procedure, on the other hand, was covered by insurance, making it a more accessible option for her and other patients. 

Sara, a retired teacher and active member of the community in Rochester, Minnesota, expresses gratitude for the support she received. "Dr. Konidis is very intelligent, obviously knows what she's talking about and can easily spell it all out. I think I was in and out in 40 minutes. It was all just great," she says. 

Now six months since her procedure, Sara has returned to the pickleball court. While the pace of play is a little less intense, Sara is extremely grateful to resume a pain-free, active lifestyle. As she continues her journey toward building up strength, she enthusiastically advocates for the TenJet procedure, urging others confronting similar challenges to consider this innovative approach. 

"Knowing what I know now, would I do it again? Absolutely," she says.