How Can Tennis Elbow Be Treated And Prevented
If you have tennis elbow, it may go away on its own without treatment. You do not need to immobilise the elbow with a sling. The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners suggests that you remain active, but avoid actions that cause significant pain and dont lift heavy objects with your hands facing down.
Using an ice pack regularly and taking pain relievers can help. You may choose to use non-steroidal anti-inflammatories , but research has not been able to clearly show that they definitely help recovery.
If your pain persists, and certainly if it has not improved after 6 to 12 weeks, it is advisable to see a physiotherapist. A physiotherapist can suggest exercises to stretch and strengthen the muscles in the arm, and may recommend that you wear a brace or strap on your forearm to reduce stress on the painful area.
If your pain is severe and does not improve, your doctor may suggest corticosteroid injections, although these are only used for short-term relief. Another type of therapy, called platelet-rich plasma injections, may also be an option.
Surgery for tennis elbow is rarely needed, but might be used if other treatments do not work over several months.
Your doctor or physiotherapist may also suggest ways you can change how you do certain tasks, to reduce the strain on your arm.
Acute Vs Chronic Elbow Pain
Most tennis elbow pain does resolve on its own with proper rest. Rest, as with all repetitive strain injuries, is the best remedy. If youre suffering from tennis elbow, realize you probably need more rest than you think.
Acute elbow pain relief Acute elbow pain refers to a non-chronic form of pain. Basically, the pain your experience has not been ongoing for months or years. Acute elbow pain resolves on its own within weeks or months.To control symptoms of pain and inflammation, icing, anti-inflammatory medications like Advil, and at times steroid injections can be used.
Chronic elbow pain relief For chronic cases of elbow pain, the bones of the elbow and the wrist must be stabilized to prevent further irritation and micro tearing of the muscles and tendons. Regenerative treatments like prolotherapy and PRP can be used to increase blood flow to the elbow. Why is this important?By design, tendons and muscles dont have the best blood flow, and blood is whats needed to repair damaged tissue. By stimulating the area with regenerative injections, the body is naturally stimulated to repair damaged tissues and stimulate new tissue growth.
How Do You Get Tennis Elbow Without Playing Tennis
The Nirschl Orthopaedic Center reports that half of all tennis players will be diagnosed with tennis elbow at some point in their lives. However, people who play tennis make up less than 5 percent of all reported cases of the condition. This means the majority of people diagnosed with tennis elbow can attribute their condition to other causes.
Can you get tennis elbow from baseball and other sports, then? The answer is yes. Baseball pitchers are commonly affected by tennis elbow, especially if they havent been properly trained as to the correct pitching mechanics, frequently pitch curve balls or have a training schedule that is too vigorous. Younger players with elbows that are still developing are particularly prone to tennis elbow.
Other sports that have been linked to tennis elbow include football, javelin, discus, badminton and squash. The more frequently a person plays one of these sports, the more likely they are to develop the condition.
If you dont play sports at all, you can still get tennis elbow from any sort of regular manual labor that involves lifting of the wrist and/or repetitive turning motions. This includes plumbing, meat cutting, painting and bricklaying, as well as typing. Hairdressers are also vulnerable to tennis elbow due to their frequent use of scissors, shears and other styling tools.
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When To Contact Your Gp
You should avoid the activity that is causing the pain until your symptoms improve.
If the pain in your elbow does not go away after a few days of rest, contact your GP.
Your GP will check for swelling and tenderness. They will do some simple tests. These include stretching out your fingers and flexing your wrist while your elbow is stretched out.
Your GP might do more tests if they think there is nerve damage. These might include an ultrasound scan or an MRI scan.
Treatment If The Condition Gets Worse Or Does Not Improve
The longer you continue activity that harms the tendon after tennis elbow symptoms begin, the longer rehab will take. This ongoing activity can cause severe tendon damage and may someday require surgery. If your symptoms don’t go away, your doctor may suggest:
- Corticosteroid injection. An injection is sometimes used when you still have pain after 6 to 8 weeks of rest and rehab. It may help relieve pain for a short time. But over the long term, having the corticosteroid injection may not help any more than not having it.footnote 1 Corticosteroids may be harmful to the tendon. But this is usually only a problem after having many injections in the same year.
- Ultrasound therapy. Ultrasound may help your tendon heal and stop pain.
- Surgery, which is seldom used to treat tennis elbow .footnote 2 Surgery may be a treatment option if persistent elbow pain doesn’t improve after 6 to 12 months of tendon rest and rehab. Surgery usually involves cutting the tendon, removing damaged tissue from the tendon, or both. In some cases, tendon tears can be repaired.
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Home Remedies For Tennis Elbow
Rest, rest, and more rest Rest is the best way to relieve elbow pain. Remember, tennis elbow is a repetitive strain injury thats led to inflammation and micro tearing of the tissues surrounding the elbow joint. The longer you can rest the elbow when the injury first occurs, the easier it will be to rest those tissues.
Icing massage Icing for tennis elbow can help reduce pain and inflammation. An easy way to reduce elbow pain is to massage it with an ice pack. You will want to massage the ice directly over the painful part of the elbow for several minutes . At the beginning of the injury, these types of ice massages can help.
Tennis elbow brace An elbow brace can help stabilize tendons and muscles in the elbow to allow healing and rest. If you work a physical job, I recommend investing in an elbow brace. Dont let the relief from an elbow brace fool you! Remember that returning to normal activities before the elbow is completely healed can result in chronic elbow pain. Use the elbow brace, but remember that it does not affect how long you need to rest the elbow.
Tennis elbow stretches and exercises You will want to gently incorporate stretching to help mobilize the muscles. Instead of static stretching, where you basically hold the muscle in a stretch, I recommend you do active stretching. Active stretching for tennis elbow can include:
A comment on using anti-inflammatory medication
Latest Feedback From Our Customers
Please note, these are customer feedback emails received by us but results may vary between users and are not guaranteed.
Lindsay Ship, Ascot
I have golf elbow and find that the device works best if I hold it in place during operation. I use the strap but it is not enough to keep the vibrating part on the right spot unless I hold it there. I think it may be easier to use for tennis elbow.Pain is definitely less after each use but 3 weeks in, using it for the recommended 10 minutes, 3 times per day, I still have golf elbow. I will persevere and hope to be finally pain free at some point!You really do have to push the pin all the way in to charge the device which is not clear in the instructions. A full charge lasts around 3 days – using 3×10 mins per day.Im pretty sure my elbow will heal quicker using the Tenease so am happy with my purchase.
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What Is Tendonitis In Elbow
Quick answer, the elbow has several major tendons that attach near it. These elbow tendons include the:
- Common extensor tendon.
- Biceps tendon.Anatomy of Tennis Elbow.
Tendinitis of the elbow is typically associated with the first two. Tendonitis of the common extensor tendon is known as Tennis Elbow. Tendinitis of the common flexor tendon is known as Golfers Elbow.
Tendons are bands of tissue that connect muscles to bones. What is tendonitis in the elbow? Tendonitis is inflammation of a tendon. It can cause pain in the tendon or the surrounding area and may limit daily activity. Tendonitis may involve tiny tears in the tendon. How to treat tendonitis of the elbow varies depending on the severity of the injury and the injury’s nature. Often we are asked if a tennis elbow brace works.
When Should You Call Your Doctor
if you had an injury to your elbow and:
- You have severe elbow pain.
- You cannot move your elbow normally.
- Your elbow looks deformed.
- Your elbow starts to swell within 30 minutes of the injury.
- You have signs of damage to the nerves or blood vessels. These include:
- Numbness, tingling, or a “pins-and-needles” sensation below the injury.
- Pale or bluish skin.
- The injured arm feeling colder to the touch than the uninjured one.
- Pain when grasping, twisting, or lifting objects.
- Problems caused by your elbow pain.
- Elbow pain after 2 weeks of home treatment or if treatment is making your elbow pain worse.
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What Causes Tennis Elbow
Tennis elbow affects the extensor muscles in the forearm, which extend the wrist and fingers. The extensor muscles originate at the lateral epicondyle, the bony part of the outer elbow, and travel down the back of the forearm to the wrist and hands.
Tennis elbow is an inflammatory response to repetitive overload, where the small tendons of the extensor muscles are repeatedly strained. Without adequate rest, it can cause pain and tenderness in the elbow.
Where Does Tennis Elbow Usually Hurt
Tennis elbow usually presents as pain over the lateral epicondyle in the elbow, but the pain can also radiate up or down the arm.
There are a few common signs and symptoms of tennis elbow:
Elbow tenderness or pain
Pain that gets worse with gripping or twisting movements
Stiffness at the elbow
Difficulty during certain activities, like writing or holding objects
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Here are some statistics about this fact. One every 20 tennis players suffer from tennis elbow whereas there are a huge number of people without playing tennis elbow catching this problem.
Tennis elbow is caused by using the muscles as well as tendons around the joint of your elbow or your forearm too much. The repeated contraction of forearm muscles that you use to straighten as well as raise your wrists and hands is the culprit of tennis elbow.
Apart from playing tennis, other common arm motions may cause tennis elbow are:
- Repetitive use of computer mouse
- Cutting cooking ingredients like meat
What Are Symptoms Of Tennis Elbow?
Symptoms of tennis elbow depend on its severity. Commonly, you find that your elbow and writs are painful when holding and lifting objects. Symptoms of tennis elbow develop steadily. Most often, pain starts mildly and slowly gets worse over time. No specific injury is associated with the beginning of tennis elbow symptoms .
- Common symptoms of tennis elbow are:
- Weak grip strength
Burning or pain on the outer area of the elbow
These symptoms will become worse when you use forearm activity, like turning a wrench, shaking hands, or holding the racquet. The most affected arm is your dominant, but two arms could also be impacted.
Whats The Difference Between Tennis Elbow And Golfers Elbow
Tennis elbow is a condition of the lateral epicondyle tendon, or outer part of the elbow. Golfers elbow is a condition of the medial epicondyle tendon, or inner part of the elbow. The medical term for golfers elbow is medial epicondylitis.
People with golfers elbow have inner elbow pain that radiates down the arm. They can also have finger numbness and tingling. Golfers can get tennis elbow, just as tennis players may get golfers elbow.
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Tennis Elbow And Golfers Elbow
Tennis elbow and golfers elbow are two separate but similar conditions in which tendons become painful. Anybody can develop them, but theyre most common between the ages of 40 and 50. Tennis elbow is the more common of the two conditions.
Despite their names, playing tennis or golf arent the most common causes. Theyre overuse injuries linked with activities involving repetitive actions of the wrist and hand.
People who are continually gripping and twisting for example carpenters and plasterers, or people who use a computer mouse may be at risk. Repetitive actions combined with weight, for example lifting heavy boxes, can also cause these problems.
Tennis elbow affects tendons on the outside of the elbow. Golfers elbow affects tendons on the inside of the elbow.
The main symptoms are pain and tenderness on the outside of the elbow for tennis elbow, and on the inside for golfers elbow. People may also have pain when gripping.
The level of pain can vary from person to person, ranging from a mild discomfort to a severe ache that prevents you from sleeping.
Often all thats needed is to stop or change any activities causing the problem or making it worse, alongside some self-care steps you can do at home.
Both conditions can last between six months and two years. Most people get better within a year. Unfortunately, they can both return.
Surgery for tennis and golfers elbow
Causes Of Tennis Elbow
Tennis elbow can occur due to trauma to the elbow. A direct blow to the elbow joint may lead to inflammation and damage to the tendon, but it is much more common for tennis elbow to develop due to overuse. When repetitive stress is placed on the tendon, over time, it can lead to irritation and inflammation. Repeating the same motions over and over are often the culprit.
Although the nickname implies that the condition is due to playing tennis, many other activities can lead to the injury. For instance, throwing motions or gripping objects repeatedly can lead to tennis elbow. Activities that cause repeated contraction of the muscles of the forearm, which are used to raise and straighten the wrist and hand, may also stress the tendon.
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How Long Does Elbow Tendonitis Take To Heal
There is a quick answer to how to heal a tennis elbow and how long it takes to depend on the severity of the injury. Many people feel better in as little as a couple of weeks, but it may take 6 months to a year for the tendon to fully heal. Surgery is rarely needed, but some doctors may use a corticosteroid shot to help you start rehabilitation.
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I have a toddler who constantly wants to be picked up and I woke one day with shooting pain from my elbow to my wrist. Having a job that requires a lot of repetitive hand and arm movement my pain was affecting my productivity. When I started wearing the Bullseye Elbow Strap my pain was immediately reduced. The ability to target and massage the affected tendons really helped me complete my work and continue playing with my daughter.
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Do I Have Tennis Elbow Or Golfers Elbow
Tennis elbow pain is on the outside of the elbow
Tennis Elbow is on the outside of the elbow, and Golfers Elbow is on the inside part of the elbow.
A backhand in tennis requires a stable wrist. Over time, this places stress through the tendons in the back of the wrist. This may lead to tendonitis at the elbow or tendinitis of the wrist. However, tennis is not usually the main cause of Tennis Elbow. So, what can you do for tennis elbow? The quick answer to that is that it depends. You can find some home treatments in the section below.
Swinging a golf club can put stress on the inside of the elbow and lead to Golfers elbow. This is rarely the cause, though.
Tennis Elbow and Golfers Elbow are both types of tendonitis. They can be caused by repetitive stress or vibration.
Watch this VIDEO why tennis elbow pain can’t wait for treatment.