Tennis Elbow Treatments

Tendon injuries are very common and if not treated, they can be painful and in most cases affect mobility due to the stiffness and inflammation. Tendon injuries occur near the joint such as the shoulder, the ankle the knee, and elbow. This is why we are going to talk about tennis elbow treatments.
tennis elbow treatments

A gradual wear and tear of tendons are referred to as Tendinopathy, which includes both inflammation and microtears – tiny tears in and around the tendon due to overuse or aging.

Anyone can suffer this injury in their daily activity, however, this injury is very common amongst sports personalities such as athletes, golfers, and body builders because they tend to exert this area making the same motions over and over again.

Tendinopathy symptoms are:

  1. Pain when using the tendon
  2. Stiffness during the night and when you get up in the morning
  3. The area feels tender, appears red, feels warm and inflamed
  4. A crunchy sound when using the tendon

Tennis Elbow Treatments

Also known as Lateral Epicondylitis in the medical field, is a tendon injury that is experienced by people who repetitively use their forearm such as butchers, carpenters, assembly line workers, cooks and, even playing musical instruments. But like its name, it is an injury commonly diagnosed with people who play tennis. The pain occurs on the tendon and the Extensor Carpi Radialis (ECRB) muscle of the forearm.

Although Tennis Elbow may heal on its own when you give it ample time to rest, when left untreated the tears on the extensor muscle can lead to severe inflammation and chronic pain, which would make it painful to lift even the lightest things. This would prove difficult for a tennis player to grip a racket let alone use a backhand movement. Most likely a person will need to seek tennis elbow treatments in order to gain full use.

Tennis Elbow Treatments: The Standard

While you can be able to alleviate some of the Tennis Elbow pain by resting the arm and using ice packs on the area as often as possible, however, if it becomes increasingly difficult to lift or grip things and the area is too sore and painful to touch, you need to seek treatment, which includes:

  • Having an X-ray, Ultrasound or an MRI scan, which is more effective and will give a more detailed information on the elbow injury.
  • Pain Medication such as anti-inflammatory drugs or steroids Injections.
  • Use of forearm splint brace or cast to hold the tendon in place.
  • Tennis Elbow Invasive Surgery.

Alternatives Fir Tennis Elbow Treatments

  • Acupuncture: Tiny needles are inserted into certain pressure points to break down scar tissue and stimulate the release of the body’s natural painkillers – Endorphins in the muscles.
  • Active Release Technique: A manual hand therapy that breaks scar tissue, while the muscle and joints are taken through the natural range of motions, thus freeing the nerve and restoring normal motion.
  • Prolotherapy where a sugar solution is injected to degenerated tendon, tricking the body that a new injury has occurred and in response the body increases blood supply to the area, promoting tissue regeneration.

Treatment of Tennis Elbow Pain

Treatment of Tennis Elbow Pain

Treatment of tennis elbow pain involves reducing symptoms of pain and inflammation through rest and applying ice or cold therapy, then gradually increasing the load through the elbow through exercises to a point where normal training and competition can be resumed.
Tennis Elbow join painIce & compression – In the first 72 hours post injury, you should apply the principles of P.R.I.C.E. (Protection, Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation). Apply a cold compression wrap for no more than 15 minutes as the injured tissues are very close to the skin and do not need longer.

Protection – Wear a specialist elbow brace or support can help reduce the strain on the tendon enabling healing to take place. This works by applying compression around the upper arm which puts pressure on the injured tendon, changing the way forces are transmitted through it allowing the injured tissues to rest.

Rest – this is probably the most important part of Treatment of Tennis Elbow pain and is often difficult to do. If you continue to use the painful elbow then it will not recover as quickly and may become chronic and very difficult to treat. Avoid gripping heavy things, opening heavy doors, using a screw driver and of course playing a backhand in tennis.

Sports massage can be a useful Treatment of Tennis Elbow pain, particularly more chronic conditions. In particular cross friction massage of the tendon insertion but only once the initial inflammation has settled (after 5 day) is done. Place the 2nd finger of your opposite hand on the outside of the elbow and rub across the tendon (painful area) for 5 minutes. Do not press too hard but there may be some mild pain whilst having the area ‘frictioned’. Repeat once a day. Do not carry on with this exercise if the pain worsens after the treatment.

A professional therapist or doctor may prescribe medication such as Ibuprofen to help reduce symptoms in the early stages, however the effectiveness of this long term is disputed. In addition electrotherapy such as ultrasound, laser, extracorporeal shock wave therapy, acupuncture, corticosteroid injections, nitric oxide donor therapy patches, botox injections and autologogous blood injection are all treatments available for treating medial epicondylitis.

Read more on these and tennis elbow treatments.


Both stretching and strengthening exercises are important and provide the foundation of a rehabilitation program. The exercises should be performed as soon as pain allows and then continued until and after full fitness has been achieved.

wrist extensor exercises

Wrist extension stretches and exercises are the most important with the aim of gradually increasing the load transmitted through the tendon and its attachment whilst also being within the limits of pain. Isometric (also known as static exercises) are done first and involve contracting the muscles without actually moving the wrist. They should only be started once the initial pain and inflammation has settled down.

Read more on tennis elbow exercises.


Both golfers elbow and tennis elbow are approached in a similar manner which it comes to surgery. The vast majority of cases of tennis elbow do respond to conservative treatment of rest, ice, ultrasound and occasionally a steroid injection, however if however if surgery is required then it may be 8 weeks before the patient has recovered. See our interview with Mr Elliot Sorene, Consultant Surgeon who explains when surgery may be indicated and which patients are most suitable.

First Published on

Tennis Elbow: The Painful Truth

You don’t have to be a professional tennis player or even a tennis player to develop Tennis Elbow. The fact is that anyone can develop Tennis Elbow also known as Lateral Epicondylitis through repetitive strain injury. You don’t have to load up your joint with heavy weights at the gym or have a world class back hand in tennis, for tendentious to develop in this tender area.

How Does Tennis Elbow Feel?

Once the symptoms of Tennis Elbow have started the affected person will experience burning pain in their Lateral Epicondylitis tendon. This is a tendon that connects to the bone on the top side of the elbow near the elbow joint. Symptoms include tenderness in the elbow joint and the surrounding area that can feel like a burning or stinging sensation. The condition will be irritated by many day to day functions such as typing, painting, cooking, lifting weights, sports, carrying groceries and something as simple as gripping the lid of a jar.

Once Tennis Elbow has set in to the Epicondylitis tendon the pain associated with the inflammation of the tendons will not go away or heal on its own.   Every time the patient irritates the tendon it will create more inflammation and more pain. At this point the only way to stop the tendonitis is to avoid irritation of the elbow tendons by avoiding any strenuous use of that joint.

Tennis Elbow Pain

Don’t lose all hope that you are going to suffer with this pain forever! Tennis Elbow can be treated with basic rehab at home. The rehab will consist of stretching exercises to lengthen the Epicondylitis tendon and forearm and wrist exercises that will strengthen supporting muscles in your forearm and wrist which will help reduced stress on the actual joint and tendons.

The Rehab Processs

The first step of the rehab process is to rest the elbow. Stop using the affected arm to lift weights, play sports or any other activity that irritates the tendentious. Next start to ice your elbow for 20 minutes at a time 3 to 5 times a day. At the same time the use of anti-inflammatory drugs such as Advil or Aleve can greatly help the pain and reduce inflammation within the joint and tendons.

Once the initial icing and anti-inflammatory drugs have had time to reduce the swelling of your tennis elbow usually a week to 10 days it’s time to start stretching the muscles and tendons of your lower arm up to the elbow.

Wrist Flex Exercise

Begin stretching by straightening the arm fully in front of your torso with the palm of your hand facing down. With your free arm grab the fingers of the affected hand and slowly raise them upward while holding your arm straight. You will feel gentle stretching in your wrist and forearm. Do this exercise 10 times for a count of five each time. Now reverse your hand position by pointing your palm upward and turning your hand up towards your torso. Do this movement 10 times for a count of 5 each time.

Don’t Rush Your Stretching and Strengthening routine

Once you have stretched your wrist flexors it’s time to do some very light weight strengthening. Using a 2 to 5-pound dumbbell or a substitute such as a house hold object as the weight gently grip the object with your affected arm. Slowly extend your wrist first upwards as far as you can comfortably lift. Hold this position for a count of 5 and then lower your wrist as far as you can comfortably for a count of 5. Complete this process 10 to 15 times twice daily.

The good news is that the pain of Tennis Elbow can be reduced and the long-term affects reversed.