What is Tennis Elbow?

Tennis elbow refers to pain or numbness on the outside of the elbow most often from overwork and repetitive motion of the arm or wrist. It is often painful but luckily often healed successfully with conservative treatment and rest. While the condition is often called tennis elbow most people get it from other activities such as gardening or plumbing.

Conservative Treatments

Most tennis elbow treatments do not require surgery and are successful:

  • Rest is the most important and beneficial treatment. Rest the arm and avoid any activities that may make the condition worse or triggers pain.
  • Applying cold or ice at least three times a day
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen or naproxen
  • Physical therapy to add strength and flexibility to the joint
  • Wear a “counterforce” brace for opening or twisting things. This takes pressure off of the joint and spreads it through the whole arm.

If symptoms do not improve after a few months of nonsurgical treatment, you and your health professional may consider further MRI or X-ray testing to view the extent of your condition.

Corticosteroid Injections

Corticosteroid injections are used to reduce inflammation in the joint. Injections are fast acting and especially effective on inflamed tendons or bursitis. However the effects will wear off and the root cause of the inflammation may not be addressed by that time. The injection offers a great amount of relief for a minimal uncomfort from the injection. The injection may also relieve acute pain allowing for exercises or other treatments.

What are exercises I can do at home?

Stretches that increase flexibility and range of motion are critical to the treatment of tennis elbow. Rest is important and strengthening exercises should be approached with caution after the appropriate amount of time.

Stretching: (Pictures to be inserted)

  • Wrist flexor
  • Wrist Extensor

Strengthening: (Pictures to be inserted)

  • Ball or sock squeeze
  • Wrist deviation
  • Wrist curls
  • Bicep curls

Ways to Alleviate Pain From Tennis Elbow

Acetaminophen (Tylenol) or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs) may be taken to reduce inflammation and pain.

Places to Get Help

Get excellent bone and joint treatment from the top doctors at OrthoArizona – Arizona Orthopaedic Associates.