Tennis elbow is an injury that is caused by repetitive stress to the muscles and tendons in the forearm. Fortunately, although painful, the injury should heal on its own with time. However, there are some things you can do to speed up the process. Here is a look at a few common ways to treat tennis elbow.
You can take preventive measures to reduce your chance of tennis elbow before it occurs. The main way to prevent tennis elbow is to avoid overuse or straining the muscles and tendon in your dominant arm. One way to do this is to stop the activity as soon as you experience pain.
If you play a sport, make sure your equipment is not too heavy or too large to grip. Bad technique or posture can also bring on tennis elbow. Always stretch and warm up before a sport or activity that requires use of your elbow or arm and ice your elbow after use.
When you have an injury that causes pain and inflammation, icing the area is a good way to help reduce these symptoms. It is recommended to ice the elbow for 20 to 30 minutes every 3 to 4 hours for 2 to 3 days, or until the pain stops.
Tennis elbow is an injury that usually occurs gradually. Part of the reason why the injury develops over time is because the is tendon strained again before it has fully healed. It is suggested then to rest the injured elbow—using an elbow strap can help with rest and protection. Wearing a strap prevents further strain or re-injury.
Over-the-counter pain medication, such as ibuprofen and aspirin, not only help reduce pain, but also swelling. However, do not take these medications frequently, due to the possible side effects, like excessive bleeding or ulcers.
Certain movements can help with stiffness and increase flexibility in your injured elbow. A trained physical therapist can work with you to teach you exercises to do on your own in order to strengthen and stretch the affected muscles.
Pain can be temporarily relieved with steroid or painkiller injections. They do not, however, help in the long-term.
In about half of the cases of tennis elbow, surgery is needed. The operation involves removing the damaged part of the tendon and repairing the remaining part of the tendon. Surgery is a successful form of treatment in 85% to 90% of cases.
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