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Tennis Elbow Treatments


Treatment includes:


Do not do activities that cause pain. Do not play sports, especially tennis, until the pain is gone.


Apply ice or a cold pack to the outside of the elbow for 15-20 minutes, four times a day for several days. Wrap the ice or cold pack in a towel. Do not apply the ice directly to your skin.


Take one of the following drugs to help reduce inflammation and pain:

If you still have tenderness in the elbow while taking these drugs, do not return to physical activity. Check with your doctor.


Wear a counter-force brace on your forearm if recommended by your doctor. This brace limits the force generated by your forearm muscles when you use them.


Apply heat to the elbow only when you are returning to physical activity. Heat is helpful before stretching or when you are getting ready to play sports.


When the acute pain is gone, start gentle stretching of the wrist and elbow as recommended by a healthcare professional. Stay within pain limits. Hold each stretch for about 10 seconds and repeat six times.

Strength Exercises

Begin strengthening exercises for your wrist extensor muscles as recommended.

Gradual Return to Your Sport

Begin arm motions of your sport or activity, such as tennis strokes, as recommended.

Cortisone Injection

The doctor may inject cortisone into the tendon attachment at the lateral epicondyle. This may help to reduce pain and inflammation.

According to a recent study involving 198 adults suffering from tennis elbow, eight sessions of physical therapy combining elbow manipulation with prescribed exercises improved symptoms in the short-term more than a wait-and-see approach. In the same study, corticosteroid injections were helpful in the first six weeks, but no better than physical therapy after the first six weeks and associated with recurrences later on. After one year, none of the three approaches were superior. *

Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Copyright © 2023 EBSCO Publishing All rights reserved.

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