Tennis Elbow | Lateral Epicondylitis
Tennis Elbow often gets better on it's own, without any special treatment. However, it can take up to any from 6 months to a couple of years.
Looking After Yourself
Things you can do for yourself include:
Follow the instructions for R.I.C.E. — protection, rest, ice, compression, elevation
- Rest. Give your elbow a rest. But don't avoid all activity. Sometimes, wearing a forearm splint at night helps reduce morning symptoms.
- Ice. Use a cold pack, ice massage, slush bath or compression sleeve filled with cold water to limit swelling after an injury. Try to apply ice as soon as possible after the injury.
- Compression. Use an elastic wrap or bandage to compress the injured area.
- Elevation. Keep your elbow above heart level when possible to help prevent or limit swelling
- Change Activities. changing the types of activities that are causing or aggravating your pain
- Medications. use pain killers such as Paracetamol or Anti-inflammatories
Tip: Don't use Anti-inflammatories for a prolonged period, as they can cause stomach ulcers.
Rarely, surgery is needed.
Advice from your Physiotherapist
- * Analyzing the way you use your arm. Have your tennis technique or job tasks to determine the best steps to reduce stress on your injured tissue. This may mean going to a two-handed backhand in tennis or taking ergonomic steps at work to ensure that your wrist and forearm movements don't continue to contribute to your symptoms. By keeping your wrist rigid during tennis strokes, lifting or weight training, you use the larger muscles in the upper arm, which are better able to handle loading stress.
- * Exercises. Your physiotherapist may suggest exercises to gradually stretch and strengthen your muscles, especially the muscles of your forearm. Once you've learned these exercises, you can do them at home or at work.
Advice from your Doctor
If those steps don't help and you still have pain and limited motion, your doctor may suggest other steps. These may include:
- * Orthotics. Straps or braces can help to reduce stress on the injured tissue.
- * Injections. If your pain is severe and persistent, your doctor may suggest an injection of a corticosteroid medication.
- Corticosteroids are drugs that help to reduce pain, swelling and inflammation. Injectable corticosteroids rarely cause serious side effects. However, these medications don't provide a clear long-term benefit over physiotherapy exercises or taking a wait-and-see approach and simply resting your arm.
- * Surgery. Your doctor will generally recommend surgery only if you have persistent pain and you've tried other treatments for longer than six months. Only about 10% of people with tennis elbow need surgery.
- Surgery involves either trimming the inflamed tendon, or surgically releasing to relieve the pain.
- Other treatments. There are other forms of treatment for tennis elbow are under investigation. Some treatments being studied include buffered platelet-rich plasma injections, acupuncture, botulinum toxin and topical nitric oxide.