8 ways to cure tennis elbow

  1. Resting: Resting the affected elbow is of the utmost importance in the treatment of the tennis elbow. It is necessary to avoid activities that can aggravate the condition and make the pain worse. If your work involves carrying heavy weights or doing repeated movements, either take a break or change the technique you use to do the kind of work putting stress on the affected ligaments and tendons.
  2. Cold packs: Applying cold packs, such as frozen peas or ice wrapped in a cloth, for 15 to 20 minutes several times a day (as needed) can help reduce pain.
  3. Painkillers and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs): Your doctor will recommend applying topical NSAIDs on the affected area for your tennis elbow. If there is only a mild relief, they can prescribe you anti-inflammatory pills or painkillers, such as acetaminophen and ibuprofen.
  4. Physical therapy: Your doctor may refer you to a physical therapist who will teach you tennis elbow exercises and proper techniques that can provide you pain relief and help restore the movements of the affected area.
    • Massage and manipulation can improve blood circulation to the affected arms and help relieve pain and stiffness.
    • Strengthening and stretching exercises can help strengthen the muscles around the affected elbow.
    • Your physical therapist may ask you to use support, such as a brace, strapping, or splint for a short time.
  5. Steroid injections: If the mentioned treatments fail to provide relief and the pain is excruciating, your doctor may inject steroid medications into the affected area. The injections may be given under ultrasound guidance to ensure that the medication is correctly injected.
  6. Platelet-rich plasma (PRP injections): PRP is blood plasma that is rich in platelets. The injection can hasten the healing process concerning the tennis elbow.
  7. Shockwave therapy: Shockwave therapy involves passing high-energy sound waves through the skin to help alleviate pain and improve movement in the affected area. You may be advised multiple sessions depending on the severity of your pain.
  8. Surgery: Surgery is reserved as the last option when nothing else helps you get relief from the tennis elbow. The surgery for the tennis elbow involves cutting the affected tendon.

Does tennis elbow ever go away?

tennis elbow exercises
The fastest way to cure tennis elbow includes taking prescribed medication and self-care measures, including tennis elbow exercises that strengthen your muscles.

Tennis elbow, medically called lateral epicondylitis, is a self-limiting condition, which means it is most likely to get better without treatment. The condition usually resolves within six months to two years. Most people fully recover within a year.

The fastest way to cure tennis elbow requires taking medications as prescribed by your doctor and self-care measures, such as making lifestyle modifications.

Can you prevent tennis elbow?

There is nothing yet proven that helps you prevent tennis elbow. However, you can lower your risk of developing the same and avoid your tennis elbow from worsening by practicing self-care. Here is what you can do.

Lifestyle modifications to prevent tennis elbow

  • Discontinue the activities that have caused the tennis elbow or are aggravating the pain. You can change the technique of performing those activities.
  • Distribute the weight of the objects you pick over your entire arm instead of using only the elbow or wrist for the purpose.
  • Do a proper warm-up before workouts or sports activities followed by cooldown exercises. The warm-up should include muscle stretches.
  • If you play sports, see if you can replace your heavy sports stuff with the lighter stuff. For example, if you play badminton, use lightweight racquets.
  • Perform strengthening exercises that target your forearm muscles.

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Medically Reviewed on 4/6/2022
References
Image Source: iStock Images

Walrod BJ. Lateral Epicondylitis (Tennis Elbow). Medscape. https://emedicine.medscape.com/article/96969-overview