Tennis elbow is the pain that occurs on the outside of your arm exactly where the forearm meets the elbow. It involves the tendons and muscles in your forearm. The tendons are bands that connect the muscles to your bones. Constant repetitive action affects the tendon at your elbow end of a particular muscle and may result in small tears. The good news is that you don’t have to worry much about tennis elbow treatment. Tennis elbow usually heals on its own. You just have to rest your elbow and take measures to speed up the healing process.
Types of Tennis Elbow Treatment
- Use a elbow strap – It helps to protect the damaged tendon from further stress
- Applying ice on the elbow – This helps to lower the pain and swelling. According to experts, you need to do it for 20 to 30 minutes for every 3 to 4 hours until the pain completely goes off.
- Motion exercises – Your doctor may ask you to perform them 3 to 5 times a day as they help to reduce stiffness and increases flexibility.
- Physical therapy – this helps to stretch your muscles and to strengthen them.
- Taking NSAIDS – like naproxen, aspirin or ibuprofen helps to deal with pain and swelling. But these drugs may cause side effects like ulcers and bleeding.
- Taking steroid or painkillers in injection form – This may ease up the pain and swelling temporarily around the joint. But as per some studies steroid injections do not seem to work in the long run.
In most cases, the above tennis elbow treatment works. But you may need surgery in case of severe tennis elbow that doesn’t respond to conservative treatments for about 2 to 4 months. During the surgery, the doctor removes the damaged part of the tendon and repairs the left over tendon. In about 85 to 90 percent of cases, surgery works.
Recovering After Tennis Elbow Treatment
The first thing you may want to know is when can you get back to doing normal activities after tennis elbow treatment. The recovery time varies for each person and depends on the extent of damage to your tendon. The healing rates differ from person to person.
You may make the damage even worse if you rush your recovery and start doing things before tennis elbow heals completely. You are back to your former self when:
- Your elbow is not swollen anymore.
- You no longer experience pain when gripping things or while lifting weights.
- Have no trouble while flexing and moving your elbow.
- Your damaged elbow is as strong as the other.
Tennis Elbow Prevention
Avoiding overuse is the best way for tennis elbow prevention. If you feel any pain in the elbow during an activity, then stop it immediately. A wrong equipment like tennis racquet or a golf club which is too heavy or too large to grip may cause tennis elbow. Even the wrong technique such as wrong posture while swinging also leads to tennis elbow. It is best to stretch and warm up before any activity or sport that involves your elbow or arm. You can also massage your elbow with ice after exercising for tennis elbow prevention.