Top Tennis Elbow Treatment Strategies

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By Dr. Kevin Bloom
Published on November 18, 2013

What is Tennis Elbow?

Tennis elbow (lateral epicondylitis) is a condition involving pain over the bony bump on the outside of the elbow. Pain might also occur in the forearm and wrist regions. Most cases of tennis elbow are not actually caused by playing tennis. Rather, occupations which involve repetitive motions of the arm and wrist commonly cause the condition. Tennis elbow pain can thus affect painters, plumbers, carpenters, house and office cleaners, baseball players, mechanics, gardeners, assembly line workers, and more.

Tennis Elbow Symptoms

Since tennis elbow injuries involve micro tears and irritation of the muscles and tendons of the elbow joint, the result is tendonitis of the elbow or elbow inflammation. Common symptoms of tennis elbow include:

  • Tenderness

  • Swelling

  • Redness

  • Warmth

  • Persistent pain which starts out as mild and worsens over time

  • Pain which begins at the elbow and radiates down the forearm and fingers

  • Decreased grip strength

Tennis Elbow Treatment Tips

Here are some of the top strategies for treating tennis elbow pain:

  • Apply an ice pack wrapped in a cloth or towel over the elbow region for 10 minutes, 3-4 times per day and after activity. If symptoms increase, discontinue use.

  • Focus on proper arm/wrist form, having your technique evaluated by an expert in your field.  Proper technique will help reduce stress on the affected tissues.

  • Rub the muscles longitudinally from the outside of your elbow to the wrist (rub with your other hand/arm).

  • When lifting, keep your wrists straight while maintaining rigidity. Use your larger upper arm/shoulder muscles to perform the lift.

  • Consider tennis elbow support such as wearing an orthopedic elbow brace

  • Avoid aggressive gripping

  • To treat tennis elbow pain, consider chiropractic therapy, physical therapy, or acupuncture

  • Ask your doctor about tennis elbow exercises which improve shoulder mobility and thoracic mobility

  • Avoid muscle overuse/overload to prevent tennis elbow injuries and pain