How to recognize Tennis Elbow? What are the common symptoms? What should you do if you’re affected?
Is there a painless way how to cure a tennis elbow while staying at home? In most cases, absolutely.
But how to self-diagnose Tennis Elbow in the first place to know exactly what you’re dealing with?
Do you feel pain in your elbow & forearms while performing your regular every-day tasks?
This could be it. Fortunately, it’s not complicated to spot Tennis Elbow & you can usually do it on your own.
Tennis Elbow – A Classic Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI)
The most common symptom of tennis elbow is an ache on the outside of the elbow.
Over the course of few weeks or months, this ache can turn into chronic pain.
As a result, outside of your elbow can also become severely painful to touch.
The Top 7 Important Steps to Cure Tennis Elbow
Here is Your Main “Battle-Plan”
- 1st Step – Apply Heat & Cold – Start things off with using ice packs to reduce swelling in tendons. 3 x per day up to 10 mins. You can also try keeping your elbow warm by applying a heat pack – It’s proven to be effective to relieve pain.
- 2nd Step – Use Painkillers – Using anti-inflammatory drugs, OTC medicine such as aspirin or ibuprofen can be great. Also muscle relaxants & prescribed drugs if necessary – To reduce swelling & inflammation in your tendons & soft tissue.
- 3rd Step – Start Physical Therapy – Do this ASAP! This is the key to get rid of pain – Medicine is temporary solution for pain, exercising can be permanent one. Once pain is under control, focus on stretching & especially working on muscle balance.
- 4th Step – Use Elbow Sleeves – Using brace, splint, sleeve is excellent & very smart move – You’re technically creating an extra tendon for your body to protect you & help your muscles to sit in correct position & prevent further injuries.
- 5th Step – Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) Treatment – This procedure involves injecting portion of patients own blood into affected tissues. This is an excellent option if resting, heat, cold & physical therapy have not been effective enough.
- 6th Step – Cortisone injections – If other forms of treatment haven’t helped, patients with severe pain can effectively reduce pain with cortisone injections – Although, this is rather temporary solution with possible adverse effects.
- 7th Step – Surgery – In rare cases, if condition won’t respond well enough to conservative treatments & there’s a possible structural damage in elbow area, surgery can be a good, viable option. Very few patient ever require surgery.
In this Topic We’re Focusing on #3 Physical Therapy
In short: Everything that you can do at Home to improve your hands health
Exercises & equipment that you can use to get better. Warm-up exercises & exercises with equipment.
All the useful moves that you can do at home, to be healthier & hopefully won’t have to pay too many visits to doctor.
Before We Proceed with Exercises, Let’s Take a Brief, Conclusive Overview..
What Exactly is Tennis Elbow?
Tennis Elbow is one of the most common types of Tendinitis (Tendonitis) – A condition in which case, the tissue connecting
muscle to bone, becomes inflamed. More precisely, the forearm muscle connecting to the elbow.
Tennis Elbow, also known as Lateral Epicondylitis is a common medical condition, that is treatable by medical professional.
It’s usually self-diagnosable & requires no lab tests or imaging.
Lateral Epicondylitis is a medium term condition that usually resolves itself within months.
It’s affecting more than 200 000 people in US per year. The most common age group this condition affects is between 30 to 50 years old. It may also occur in younger & older age groups, in both men & women.
Although Lateral Epicondylitis is termed a tendonitis there are few inflammatory changes in the tissue & therefore
it is considered more of a mechanical problem with degeneration of the tendon.
- What is Lateral Epicondylitis?
Lateral Epicondylitis is known as Tennis Elbow – An irritation of the tissue connecting the forearm muscle to the elbow.
It’s a common injury that is usually self-diagnosable & requires no lab test & also usually heals with minor treatment.
- What are the Symptoms of Lateral Epicondylitis?
The primary symptom is pain – With Tennis Elbow, pain usually occurs on the outside of the elbow. (Opposite version
of Golfers Elbow – A condition that causes pain on the inner side of the elbow). In some cases pain can also spread into
your forearm or wrist. Sometimes it’s the combination of both, depending how severe the case. That area is also tender
to touch. Any motion of elbow can also be painful & limit your activities.
- What Causes Lateral Epicondylitis?
Tennis elbow can be caused by repetitive wrist & arm motions – Pain is usually being produced by activities that places
stress on the tendons, for example gripping or lifting movements. It’s believed that muscle overuse or trauma causes
a microscopic tear in the origin of the extensor carpi radialis brevis muscle. The Lateral Epicondyle of the humerus is a
small, tuberculated eminence, curved a little forward, & giving attachment to the radial collateral ligament of the elbow
joint. Also to a tendon common to the origin of the supinator & some of the extensor muscles.
- How to Diagnose Lateral Epicondylitis?
Diagnosing Lateral Epicondylitis starts with physical examination that includes your medical history. In most cases, lab
tests or imaging are not required. If necessary diagnostic tests are applied, such as X-ray imaging or Magnetic resonance
imaging (MRI): To spot abnormalities, confirm diagnosis & more importantly, to rule out other possible conditions.
- How to Treat Lateral Epicondylitis?
Tennis Elbow is usually treated with rest, OTC medicine & physical therapy – To reduce pain, main focus is on giving hand
a proper rest & using anti-inflammatory pain relievers if it’s necessary. As well as cold & hot therapy. Resting is important
to reduce inflammation & thus also reducing pain. It should be paired up with wearing brace, counter force splint or sleeve
to prevent further injury & trauma. To help tendons heal, physical therapy & stretching can be beneficial to recover faster.
Good alternative can be Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) treatment. In severe pain case Cortison injections are usually helpful.
As a last resort, if other forms of treatments are not effective enough, surgery is also viable option.
Let’s Start With Stretching & Light Exercises for Warm-Up
More Flexibility Is Good
It’s smart idea to start things off slowly with stretching & light exercises to reduce stiffness & add more flexibility.
Remember, at the same time, when putting in effort to recover as quickly as possible, let’s also avoid further injuries.
Accommodate your body with new exercises & go step by step. Start testing what can you do, & how can you do it.
Once you’re familiar with the drill, don’t hesitate to add intensity – Step it up & add some strengthening exercises.
Having more muscle mass in right spot can make a world of difference. Muscle is like a cushion that protects your joints.
You should focus on building more balanced muscles. In that way you help to take off the strain from overused muscles.
If You’re Trying to Treat Tennis Elbow At Home..
Follow These 4 Steps
- Rest Alot – Resting your fingers, wrist, & forearm muscles to allow your tendon to heal..
- Reduce Pain – Use OTC anti-inflammatory medicine, or ice packs for 10 to 15 minutes at a time, several times a day..
- Protect Your Arm – Wear a counter-force brace during activities that require grasping or twisting arm movements..
- Start Physical Therapy – Once pain is gone, & you’ve rested enough, start with stretches & light hand exercises..
Resting also means modifying your activities.
Try not to do things that hurts your arm – Rest your fingers, wrist & forearm muscles to allow your tendon to heal.
Initially, you should limit the activity that’s causing the condition. Limit aggravating activity instead of total rest is recommended.
Also try to modify your grip techniques & use different equipment.
For example, if you’re literally a tennis player, use different size racket..
In addition, use different technique such as 2-handed backhand.
Keep testing different scenarios to see what’s effective enough & works for you the best.
Use Over The Counter medication if necessary.
Aspirin & Ibuprofen works well. It’s useful to use anti-inflammatory medications in Tennis Elbow case, that may help alleviate the pain.
It’s important to reduce inflammation in your tendon as quickly & as much as possible.
The more effectively you can reduce inflammation, the quicker the pain associated with Tennis Elbow goes away.
Alternatively you can use ice or cold packs for 10 to 15 minutes at a time.
Feel free to do it several times a day.
Always do this to prevent further injuries.
Using an elbow brace or sleeve technically creates additional tendon for you that protects your arm.
Also, keeping your tendons & muscles in place can be excellent for speedy recovery.
This is a great one that many folks tend to ignore for some reason.
Using elbow brace, a band that is worn over the muscle of the forearm, or just below the elbow, helps to reduce the tension on the tendon.
By taking off the pressure from tendon, you’re allowing it to heal faster.
Rest up, get rid of pain & then start with your Physical Therapy ASAP.
As soon as pain is gone, it’s time to start with your physical therapy to prevent further symptoms of Tennis Elbow.
Doing so you’re putting in work to prevent & stop acute pain becoming chronic pain.
Stretching & strengthening exercises may be helpful to treat symptoms & prevent this condition from re-occuring in the future.
There are multiple exercises that you can do at home every day.
They’re simple & usually require no more than couple of minutes of your time.
What Are The Best Training Tools to Cure Tennis Elbow?
Cure Tennis Elbow with Training Tools that Help to Build Muscle Balance
Focus on Hand Extensors & Flexors
At Tennis Elbow case we’re likely looking at Repetitive Strain Injury. So, you want your focus on stretching exercises as well
as working both your extensor & flexor muscles in your arms to build more muscle balance.
Building equalized muscle in your forearms is the key of getting rid of Tennis Elbow & having healthy, pain free hands.
Working on your extensors is incredibly important – This is the part most folks ignore & never work on, & can be one of the major factors getting into trouble in the first place. Take advantage of that: Work your hand extensors.
Your hand recovery training tool set should include multiple different resistance levels. This way you ensure you have plenty of room for progression as well as way to go easier if the one tool you are using becomes overwhelming.
It’s better if it’s on easy side than just too difficult, to avoid injuring yourself further.
Having a whole set of tools means more versatile approach, so you can regain your strength, heal quickly & effectively.
Simple Hand-bands are the absolute #1 training tools to cure Tennis Elbow in pain-free way.
You should own a pair no matter what. Why? Because vast majority of folks never train their extensor muscles.
No better way to work your hand extensor muscles & build muscle balance than using simple rubber hand-bands.
Not training extensors at all is a recipe for disaster – Working hand, finger & forearm muscles in one direction only.
To avoid that you want to focus on counter-movements to achieve muscle balance.
Using hand-bands is fun & simple. It requires no more than couple of minutes of your time per day.
Doing so also has long term benefits if you’re using them on regular basis.
On top of that, rubber hand-bands are very easily portable – Put one around your wrist or throw it into your pocket.
Rubber Exercise Balls are one of the most effective & common approaches for hand therapy.
These are excellent for developing crush-grip strength, clenching & squeezing.
Be it re-habing dislocated finger, recovery from stroke, arthritis, tendinitis or simply weak hands that need tuning up.
Exercise balls are also one of the few, if not the only way to work your finger adduction movements.
These are big part of your regular hand therapy – You can grab, clench, squeeze & do stretching movements with all fingers.
These are great to increase your overall hand health, get weak hands stronger & also helps to relieve stress from hands.
Build up your pinch grip as well as your overall crush grip strength. Tune up your thumb & finger flexor muscles.
Exercise balls are also highly recommended for warm-up before starting hand gripper training session.
One of the most useful tools to cure of Tennis Elbow – Get your wrists stronger in every direction.
Adjustable Wrist-Roller is highly effective, because compared to regular wrist-rollers, adjustable one uses neither rope nor weight plates.
This makes it excellent for rehab purposes. Why? It’s designed to moves in one motion, in smooth & safe way.
No sudden moves, no dropping weights, no injuring yourself – 100% more safety for you, to prevent further complication.
It’s fun device, great for rehab & also outstanding later on for progressing in overall grip strength.
The idea is to train both wrists flexor & extensor muscles that helps to build strong wrists in all directions.
Also thanks to additional focus on extensors it helps to build muscle balance in your forearms.
Adjustable roller resistance levels begin with virtually no resistance, making it excellent rehab tool.
These are Highly Recommended Training Tools to Help You to Cure Tennis Elbow
The Key is to Keep Reducing Strain on Tendons by Having More Muscle Balance
Tennis Elbow – Frequently Asked Questions
Even When You’ve Cured the Injury – Keep Working on More Muscle Balance
Balanced Muscles, Pain Free Hands
Muscle overuse through repetitive motions can lead to Repetitive Strain Injury.
That can be work-related & non work related – Some specific activity that places stress on tendon attachements. Also,
through stress on extensor muscles it increases possible strain on tendon.
Doing same movements over & over again fatigues the most dominant muscles & can lead to muscle imbalance.
Unbalanced muscles can be a recipe for disaster that needs to be fixed quickly.
It does not happen overnight, it’s rather a process over months..
Fortunately, simple minor adjustments can make a noticable difference for you.
One of the highly recommended solutions is to consistently work on counter-movements to restore muscle balance,
meanwhile giving as much rest as possible to your dominant, over-used muscles that may cause pain in your elbows,
wrists or forearms.
If your arms hurt, preferably avoid strenuous activities & movements such as lifting too heavy.
Or splitting blocks into half with your elbow in karate style..
Remember.. Don’t Forget to Wear Counter-Force Brace!
Brace is Like an Extra Tendon for You
For some reason, a lot of folks still tend to neglect this part. Don’t be one of those people.
Brace is already proven, reliable & effective measure.
It’s already known that, an elbow counterforce brace is a simple, yet highly effective mode of treatment for elbow tendonitis taking the form of either tennis elbow or golfer’s elbow.
Doing so relieves Tennis Elbow & Elbow Tendonitis Pain. Compression in the elbow sleeve helps to stimulate blood
flow – It helps to improve circulation to reduce inflammation & relieves elbow pain.
The compression also stabilizes the muscles in the elbow area, preventing further symptoms.
You should take full advantage of that, if you want to get well & recover as quickly as possible.
It’s specifically designed for one of those conditions like Tennis Elbow to help you relieve pain & get you healed up quickly.
In many cases it effectively prevent further injury.
Orthopedic Surgeons Warn that You Should Avoid Cortisone Steroid Injections
It’s Temporary Fix, with Possible Side-Effects
In severe case of Tennis Elbow, using anti-inflammatory steroid injections such as Cortisone is initially good option.
A lot of patients have been very satisfied with the results.
However, the effect won’t last permanently & within months eventually wears off.
There’s a risk & it has lead to even more intense pain than before injections.
Yet Another Route – Kinesiology Therapeutic Tape
Recover Like Olympic Athletes Do
This is very similar to counter-force brace & elbow sleeves. KT Tape is highly favored by many top athletes around the globe to heal up multiple, very different injuries. One of them could be Tennis Elbow.
However, I recommend KT tape for those who don’t want to be complete beginners & are willing to learn more fancy tricks.
Why? You must know HOW to tape – This is the hard part – The question is not about how effective the KT tape is, it’s the opposite, it’s very effective but.. It’s not too easy to get this tape applied correct way, if you don’t have any experience with it.
My suggestion would be to find a partner who’s willing to help you with taping. Preferably, in ideal case, someone with relevant experience – Such as certified chiropractic, who likely can be an ideal individual for taping task.
It’s yet another alternative solution to help you to get your Tennis Elbow treated & healed up. It’s great & highly effective.
Thanks for stopping by!
I hope you enjoyed reading this topic & learned something new about How to Cure Tennis Elbow along the way.
Have you used any of these training methods AND equipment before? Whats your training experience alike?
I’d love to hear from you!
Feel free to ask for assistance & share your thoughts by leaving a comment.