Elbow Treatments & Techniques

Tennis elbow treatment: Home Care & Physiotherapy

Recovery time  I  Home treatment  I  Physiotherapy and Exercises  I  Other Treatment options

Tennis elbow is a self-limiting condition, which means it may eventually get better without treatment. Tennis elbow will however mean swelling, pain and limited use of the affected arm, which may need treatment and management of pain. Early treatment can be done simply by self care at home.

Recovery time: Tennis elbow will often last between six months and two years. The majority of people (90%) will make a full recovery within a year.

You could follow one or more of the following treatment options to deal with pain due to Tennis elbow and improve use of the affected arm.

A) Treatment at home for immediate pain relief

  1. Rest: The most important thing you can do is rest your injured arm and stop doing the activity that caused the problem
  2. Ice: Apply ice or a cold pack for 15 minutes three to four times a day. Read more to learn about RICE protocol.
  3. Bracing or Elbow support (Read here to know more about braces, bands and straps for Tennis Elbow )
  4. Avoid heavy weight lifting
  5. Avoid twisting movements and turning activities of wrist or forearm
  6. Modifying activities involving painful movements so they do not place strain on your arm and make the pain worse.

General tipsAvoid making the same hand and arm movements over and over. If that's not an option for you, wear a brace and take breaks as often as you can. Some other tips:

  • Learn to use your shoulder and upper arm muscles to take the strain off your elbow.
  • Stick to the middle of your range of motion - avoid bending or straightening your arm all the way.
  • Warm up and stretch before sports and other activities where you repeat the same motions with your arm.

B) Manage Inflammation With A Healthy Diet

To help keep inflammation levels low, avoid processed foods including: added sugar, high-sodium foods (which increase water retention), foods high in saturated and refined fats, alcohol and processed grains (especially gluten-containing foods).

Anti-inflammatory foods that help your body repair damaged tissue include:

  • All types of vegetables, especially green leafy greens
  • High-quality “clean” proteins like wild-caught fish, raw dairy, cage-free eggs or grass-fed beef
  • Berries, citrus fruits, melon and pineapple
  • High-potassium and magnesium foods, including coconut water, avocados, greens, sweet potatoes and bananas
  • Bone broth, which contains collagen to improve tissue health

C) See a doctor / General Physician

If your symptoms do not improve, you may consider visiting your doctor who would:

  • Check for swelling and tenderness, and carry out some simple tests, such as asking you to extend your fingers and flex your wrist with your elbow extended.
  • Prescribe medication to bring down the swelling and reduce pain.

D) Physiotherapy

Physiotherapy is very beneficial in more severe and persistent cases (ie. early acute stage) but most of the patients think that pain will go away and seek the help only when it becomes constant or functionally restricting. Objectives of physiotherapy are to reduce pain, retard muscle atrophy, increase flexibility, increase muscle strength, increase motor endurance, and facilitate early return to sports.

What to expect in physiotherapy treatment for tennis elbow pain?

Initial management of this condition in Physiotherapy is through pain relieving techniques such as soft tissue massage, joint mobilisation, stretching tight nerves and muscles, dry needling, heat and/or cold therapy and taping. A physiotherapist will assess your arm condition and use a combination of treatments, some of which are:

  1. Soft Tissue Massage: A massage therapist can use a range of techniques to release soft tissue, break down tension and realign the fibres. These techniques include myofascial release and transverse friction techniques.
  2. Joint mobilisation: This management may include massage around the problem area or gently mobilising the joints of your neck, elbow and wrist.
  3. Stretching: As soon as your pain allows, start stretching the area. Extension exercises of the wrist will be the most important stretches you can do to improve your range of motion and to increase the amount of load on the tendon.
  4. Hot/Cold therapy: Apply ice to the elbow regularly to reduce the pain and inflammation will be a good start, particularly at the early onset of pain.
  5. Kinesio Taping: Kinesio taping or K-taping may help decrease the pain and can reduce the likelihood of injury aggravation.
  6. Dry Needling: Dry needling is a technique that is fast gaining appreciation within the physiotherapy world, with many practitioners now trained in the use of acupuncture needles to assist with their client’s pain and rehabilitation. The insertion of needles at varying lengths and points are thought to alter the way pain signals are transmitted by nerve pathways.

E) Invasive treatments

  1. Your doctor might suggest injecting platelet-rich plasma, Botox or some form of irritant (prolotherapy) into the painful tendon.
  2. Ultrasonic tenotomy (TENEX procedure). In this procedure, under ultrasound guidance, a doctor inserts a special needle through your skin and into the damaged portion of the tendon. Ultrasonic energy vibrates the needle so swiftly that the damaged tissue liquefies and can be suctioned out.
  3. Surgery. If your symptoms haven't improved after six to 12 months of extensive non-operative treatment, surgery may be used as a last resort to remove the damaged part of the tendon.


Related Reading:

All about Tennis Elbow : Cause, Symptoms & Cure

Tennis Elbow Strap, Brace support for pain relief

At ReLiva, we want you to get back to participating in the activities you enjoy as fast as possible. Get relief. Call +91 992099 1584 to speak to us today so we can connect you with a physiotherapy  specialist in your area.

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Tennis elbow is an overuse and muscle strain injury, causes pain around the elbow. Understanding the causes, symptoms makes it easy to cure tennis elbow.

All about Tennis Elbow : Symptoms, Causes and Cure

Overview  I  Symptoms  I  Causes  I  Pain relief  I  Treatment  I  Prevention

What is Tennis Elbow ?

Tennis elbow is a condition that causes pain around the outside of the elbow. Clinically known as lateral epicondylitis, Tennis elbow is a painful condition that occurs when tendons in your elbow are overloaded, usually by repetitive movements of forearm, arm or wrist.

Despite the name, athletes are not the only people who suffer but also people with repetitive hand movements such as plumbers, carpenters, butchers or house maids are the ones who commonly suffer from tennis elbow.

What are the symptoms of Tennis Elbow?

The pain of tennis elbow can range from mild discomfort while using your elbow, to severe pain that can be felt when your elbow is still.

If you have tennis elbow, you will usually experience:

  • Pain, tenderness and swelling around the elbow.
  • Pain flows right from the bony bump of the elbow into the forearm or wrist.
  • Pain or burning sensation on the outer part of the elbow.
  • Shooting or intense pain especially when moving the arm particularly for twisting
  • Trouble moving the wrist normally and stretching the hand.
  • Pain when picking things up, gripping objects, typing on a computer and putting pressure on the lower arms in other ways.

Usually symptoms of tennis elbow will develop slowly as more micro tears develop in the elbow’s tendon. At first, you might not notice this process happening, but at some point you’ll feel tenderness, especially when repeatedly moving the elbow.

Pain and weakness may result in difficulty in performing movements or activities such as:

  • Holding a coffee mug
  • Turning the door knob
  • Shaking hands or gripping an objects

What are the Causes of Tennis Elbow?

The elbow joint is surrounded by muscles that move your elbow, wrist and fingers. The tendons in your elbow join the bones and muscles together, and control the muscles of your forearm.

Tennis elbow is usually caused by overusing the muscles attached to your elbow and used to straighten your wrist. If the muscles and tendons are strained, tiny tears and inflammation can develop near the bony lump (the lateral epicondyle) on the outside of your elbow.

Tennis elbow is an overuse and muscle strain injury and you could cause Tennis elbow by any or all of the following:

  • Overuse : repeated use of muscles in your forearm that you use to straighten and raise your hand or wrist
  • Activities : Certain professions require consistent use of the upper arms like athletes, personal trainers, gardeners, painters, auto workers, landscapers, carpenters, cooks or butchers and plumbers etc - entail using the same set of muscles and tendons in the elbow, forearm and wrist over and over again could gradually build-up to cause Tennis elbow.
  • Age : As you age the strength of the muscles reduces ), tissue forming them becomes degenerated and worn-down over time (unless maintained with regular exercises) putting you at higher risk to be damaged and inflamed at slightest of overuse or injury.
  • Injury : An injury to a tendon namely extensor carpi radialis brevis (or the ECRB) could result in Tennis elbowThe ECRB tendon controls movement of the wrists when the elbow is straight. If the elbow is straightened and bent over and over again, the tendon can become overworked. This is why tennis elbow is really a form of tendonitis.
  • Athletes : Tennis elbow, as the name suggests, is sometimes caused by playing tennis. But it is most common in sports people who use their elbows in the same manner day after day, for many weeks or months on end. For athletes, it often affects people who don’t rest enough between workouts.
  • Even if your job doesn’t require much use of your elbows or arms, if you spend a lot of time typing on the computer, knitting, cooking, painting or playing an instrument, it’s still possible to suffer from tennis elbow.

Who is affected by tennis elbow?

Tennis elbow is a common musculoskeletal condition. It's estimated that as many as one in three people have tennis elbow at any given time.

The condition usually affects adults and is more common in people who are 40-60 years of age. Men and women are equally affected.


What are the complications related with Tennis Elbow?

Once Tennis elbow sets in, it significantly limits the movement of arm and may also entail few other complications including:

  • Infection, rarely but possible.
  • Nerve and blood vessel damage
  • Possible prolonged rehabilitation
  • Loss of strength due to low usage
  • Loss of flexibility
  • The need for surgery


What are the Treatment options for Tennis Elbow:

Tennis elbow is a self-limiting condition, which means it will eventually get better without treatment.  However, there are treatments that can be used to improve your symptoms and speed up your recovery.

  1. Measures for immediate pain relief
  • Rest : It is important to stop using the injured arm and give it some rest
  • RICE : Holding a cold compress, such as a bag of frozen peas wrapped in a towel, against your elbow for a few minutes several times a day can help ease the pain. Read more to know about RICE protocol.
  • Elbow Support : Using a brace, band or strap to support the elbow may help alleviate the pain to a large extent. But it is important to identify the right size and type for your elbow. Read more about using braces and band for treating Tennis elbow

If the pain persists then you may look at the next line of treatment. Read more about treating Tennis Elbow.

  1. Physiotherapy is recommended in more severe and persistent cases. Massaging and manipulating the affected area may help relieve the pain and stiffness, and improve the range of movement in your arm. Read more about Physiotherapy best treatment for pain relief.
  2. Surgery may be used as a last resort to remove the damaged part of the tendon.

What can be done to prevent Tennis Elbow?

It's not always easy to avoid getting tennis elbow, especially if you have had it before. Not putting too much stress on the muscles and tendons surrounding your elbow will help prevent the condition getting worse.

If your tennis elbow is caused by an activity that involves placing repeated strain on your elbow joint, such as tennis, try changing your technique to alleviate the problem.


Related Reading:

Treatment options for Tennis Elbow

Tennis Elbow Strap, Brace support for pain relief

Physiotherapy best treatment for pain relief

At ReLiva, we want you to get back to participating in the activities you enjoy as fast as possible. Get relief. Call +91 992099 1584 to speak to us today so we can connect you with a physiotherapy  specialist in your area.

Subscribe To ReLiva Newsletter

Signup now and receive an email once I publish new content.

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