Tennis elbow is a condition otherwise known as lateral epicondylitis, and affects the elbow. The pain is in the outer area of your elbow and it occurs if the tendons that are connecting the muscles to your elbow become damaged. If you let this condition go untreated it can get really painful and even doing simple things will cause you a mountain of pain. The good news is that it can be treated, and there are even some things that you can do at home and by yourself to reduce the pain significantly.
What Are The Causes Of Tennis Elbow?
Tennis elbow is caused by overuse. When you repeatedly contract the forearm muscles that are responsible for straightening and raising your hand and wrist, the stress on the area can result in tears in the tendon that attaches the muscles to the bone. As the name suggests, playing tennis is a common cause however there are many other motions that can lead to this injury. Any activity that uses these muscles repeatedly, even as simple as gardening, can lead to a case of tennis elbow.
How To Treat Tennis Elbow
There are a variety of things that you can do to treat your injury, and a few of them even at home.
- The first thing that you need to do is to rest. Stop doing the motion that causes pain and give your elbow a break.
- Put ice on the area. You will find that it is inflamed and sore, and ice will reduce both the pain and the inflammation.
- If there is a lot of pain, anti-inflammatory medicines can both reduce the pain and help to relieve the injury.
- If you are doing a sport like tennis that uses a racquet and this is the cause of the pain, then you need to evaluate if this is the right equipment for you. For example in tennis, if you have a stiffer or looser strung racquet then you can reduce the stress that you put on your forearm muscles. Same goes, a smaller one might help reduce the stress. Check if you need an equipment change to help alleviate the injury, sometimes it is all it takes.
Physical Therapy Treatments
- When you present with the symptoms of tennis elbow, you should definitely head straight to a physical therapist. You will get massage treatment, and most important a prescription of exercises that will help to strengthen the muscles and place less stress on the area. These exercises may be the most important thing that you do, as they will stop the injury from reoccurring. Here are some exercises for tennis elbow that you may want to try at home, but you should consult your physical therapist first.
- Acupuncture, electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) and shock wave therapy are a few of the alternative treatments that have provided pain relief for tennis elbow. There are conflicting findings on the effectiveness, however, there have been many positive reports and adding them as part of your treatment plan will only help.
Other Treatment Forms
- If the pain gets really bad, sometimes steroid injections are prescribed. This will help to reduce the inflammation of the area and allow it to heal much faster.
- There is a specific brace for tennis elbow, which will take the stress right off the forearm muscles. It is a tight band that places pressure on the area and provides instant relief. Check out a recommended model below.
- Surgery can become an option depending on the severity, but it is unlikely that this injury progresses that far if treated properly. This usually becomes an option if the injury has not healed within 6-12 months. There is a lengthy rehab period and it is something that you really want to avoid.
McDavid Tennis Elbow Strap (Black, One Size)
Tennis elbow is a very treatable condition, and if you do the right things you will be pain free in no time.