“Tennis elbow” is a common condition in which one of the tendons in the forearm becomes inflamed. It either causes a sharp pain or tenderness/stiffness to the front of your forearm, with possible pain down your wrist as well. In many cases, it is caused by overuse and can be exacerbated by direct trauma to the tendon (such as an elbow blow while playing tennis). In some cases, taking days off from whatever activity you typically use the arm for will allow time for the tendon to heal.
What is Tennis Elbow?
Tennis elbow is a condition that results from overuse of the muscles and tendons in your forearm. It can cause pain and tenderness on the outside of your elbow. Tennis elbow is most common in people who play tennis or other racquet sports, but it can also occur in people who do not play sports.
Tennis elbow is caused by repetitive motion of the arm and wrist, which puts strain on the muscles and tendons in the forearm. This strain can lead to microtears in the tendons, which can cause pain and inflammation.
Tennis elbow is often seen in athletes who participate in racquet sports, such as tennis, but it can also occur in non-athletes who do repetitive motions of the arm and wrist, such as painting or using a computer mouse.
The symptoms of tennis elbow include pain and tenderness on the outside of the elbow, weakness in the forearm muscles, and difficulty extending the arm fully. The pain may worsen with activity or when gripping objects tightly. You may also feel pain when bending your wrist back or lifting objects.
If you think you have tennis elbow, it is important to see a doctor so that he or she can diagnose the condition and recommend treatment. Treatment for tennis elbow may include rest, ice, heat, physical therapy, and medication. In some cases, surgery may be necessary to remove damaged tissue or repair torn tendons.
What causes and symptoms does it have?
One of the most common causes of tennis elbow is repetitive motion. This can occur when you overuse your arm during activities such as tennis, golf, or weightlifting. Other causes include direct trauma to the elbow, inflammatory conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, and degenerative conditions such as osteoarthritis.
Symptoms of tennis elbow include pain and tenderness on the outside of the elbow, weakness in the forearm muscles, and decreased range of motion in the affected arm. The pain may range from mild to severe, and it is often worse when you attempt to grip or lift something with your affected arm. You may also feel a burning sensation or numbness in your forearm. If the condition is left untreated, it can lead to chronic pain and disability.
Common Treatments for Tennis Elbow
There are several common treatments for tennis elbow, and the best course of action may vary depending on the severity of your condition. Here are some commonly recommended treatments:
- Rest: This is often the first line of treatment for tennis elbow. Avoiding activities that aggravate your symptoms can help allow the inflammation to subside.
- Ice: Applying ice to the affected area can help reduce swelling and pain.
- Heat: Once the inflammation has subsided, applying heat to the affected area can help increase blood flow and promote healing.
- Exercises: Specific exercises designed to stretch and strengthen the muscles and tendons around the elbow can be helpful in treating tennis elbow. Your doctor or physical therapist can recommend exercises that are appropriate for your situation.
- Braces or straps: Wearing a supportive brace or strap around your elbow can help minimize stress on the affected area and speed up healing.
- Medications: Over-the-counter pain medications such as ibuprofen (Advil) or naproxen (Aleve) can be helpful in managing pain associated with tennis elbow. If these don’t provide enough relief, your doctor may prescribe a stronger medication. Corticosteroid injections are also sometimes used to treat tennis elbow, though they are not recommended for long-term use due to potential side effects.
- Surgery: In severe cases of tennis elbow that do not respond to other treatments, surgery may be recommended. Surgery involves cutting or releasing the damaged tendon to relieve pain.
Less Common Treatments for Tennis Elbow
Just because a treatment is not as common, does not mean it is any less effective. There are numerous effective treatments for tennis elbow that are not commonly used. One such treatment is needle aponeurotomy, which involves using a needle to break up the tissue that has formed around the tendons in the elbow. This can help to reduce pain and improve range of motion.
Another treatment that is less common but can be effective is extracorporeal shock wave therapy (ESWT). This therapy uses high-energy sound waves to stimulate healing in the damaged tissue. Studies have shown that ESWT can be effective in treating tennis elbow, with a decrease in pain and an increase in function.
If you are suffering from tennis elbow, talk to your doctor about all of your treatment options, including these less common ones.
Common Home Remedies for Tennis Elbow
There are a number of common home remedies that can help to treat tennis elbow and alleviate the pain. One simple remedy is to apply ice to the affected area for 15-20 minutes at a time, several times a day. This can help to reduce inflammation and pain.
another home treatment that can be effective is to take over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications such as ibuprofen or naproxen. These can help to reduce both pain and inflammation. It is important to follow the directions on the package carefully in order to avoid any adverse effects.
Stretching and strengthening exercises are also often recommended as part of treatment for tennis elbow. Exercises that stretch the forearm muscles can help to ease pain and improve range of motion. Strengthening exercises, on the other hand, can help to support the muscles and prevent further injury.
Finally, it is sometimes recommended that people with tennis elbow wear an elbow brace or strap. This can help to provide support for the injured muscles and tendons, and may help to speed up the healing process.
Here are some tips for treating tennis elbow at home:
Rest and protect your arm: Most cases of tennis elbow heal with time and rest. Avoid activities that aggravate your symptoms, and try to keep your arm as still as possible. You may need to wear a splint or sling to keep your arm from moving too much.
Apply ice: Ice can help reduce inflammation and pain. Apply ice to your affected elbow for 15-20 minutes several times a day. Do not apply ice directly to the skin; wrap it in a towel first.
Take over-the-counter pain relievers: Medications like ibuprofen (Advil) and naproxen (Aleve) can help reduce inflammation and pain. Be sure to follow the directions on the package carefully.
Stretch and strengthen your muscles: Once the pain from tennis elbow has subsided, it’s important to start stretching and strengthening the muscles in your forearm and upper arm. A physical therapist can show you how to do exercises that are specifically designed to treat tennis elbow.
Treat tennis elbow with a massage
Many people who suffer from tennis elbow find that massage is a helpful treatment. Massage can help to increase blood flow to the affected area, which can help to reduce inflammation and pain. Massage can also help to stretching the muscles and tendons around the elbow, which can also help to reduce pain.
What is the fastest way to cure tennis elbow?
There is no one definitive answer to this question as the best way to cure tennis elbow may vary depending on the individual case.
However, some suggested methods for treating tennis elbow include icing the affected area, using a tennis elbow strap or brace, and doing exercises that strengthen the forearm muscles.
Other tips for preventing and managing tennis elbow pain include avoiding activities that aggravate the condition, using proper form when participating in activities that could put a strain on the elbow, and stretching the forearm muscles regularly.
Does tennis elbow eventually go away?
If you have ever had tennis elbow, you know how debilitating it can be. The constant pain makes it hard to do simple things like grip a cup of coffee or open a door. You may be wondering if tennis elbow will eventually go away on its own.
The short answer is: maybe. Tennis elbow is a repetitive stress injury, meaning that it is caused by overuse of the muscles and tendons in the elbow joint. With rest and proper treatment, the majority of cases of tennis elbow improve within 6 to 12 months. However, in some cases, the pain may persist for longer periods of time.
If you are experiencing pain from tennis elbow, it is important to seek treatment as soon as possible. Treatment options include rest, ice, and stretching exercises. In severe cases, your doctor may recommend surgery to remove damaged tissue. With proper treatment, most people experience relief from their symptoms and are able to return to their normal activities.
What happens if tennis elbow is left untreated?
If you have any type of repetitive stress injury, it’s important to get treatment right away. That’s because the longer you wait, the harder it is to treat. Tennis elbow is no different. If you don’t get treatment for tennis elbow, the condition will only get worse.
The pain will become more constant and more severe. You may even start to lose range of motion in your elbow. If you’re a tennis player, this can obviously impact your game. But even if you don’t play tennis, untreated tennis elbow can make it difficult to do everyday activities like turning a doorknob or opening a jar.
So if you think you might have tennis elbow, it’s important to see a doctor right away for proper diagnosis and treatment.