Tennis elbow, also known as lateral epicondylitis, is a condition characterized by pain and inflammation on the outer side of the elbow. Despite its name, tennis elbow can occur in individuals who don’t play tennis. It is commonly caused by repetitive motions of the forearm and wrist, such as gripping, twisting, or lifting.

Here are some common treatments and management strategies for tennis elbow:

1. Rest:

Resting the affected arm and avoiding activities that worsen the pain is an essential part of the initial treatment. This helps reduce further strain on the tendons and allows for healing.

2. Ice and Heat Therapy:

Applying ice packs or cold compresses to the affected area can help reduce pain and inflammation. Ice can be applied for 15-20 minutes every few hours. Heat therapy, such as warm towels or heating pads, can be used after the acute phase to improve blood circulation and promote healing.

3. Nonsteroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs):

Over-the-counter NSAIDs, such as ibuprofen or naproxen, can help reduce pain and inflammation associated with tennis elbow. It’s important to follow the recommended dosage and consult a healthcare professional if you have any underlying medical conditions or concerns.

4. Physical Therapy:

A physical therapist can provide targeted exercises and stretches to improve flexibility, strengthen the forearm muscles, and promote healing. They may also use techniques such as ultrasound, massage, or electrical stimulation to assist in the recovery process.

5. Orthotic Devices:

Wearing an elbow brace or forearm strap, commonly known as an elbow counterforce brace, can help alleviate pain and reduce strain on the affected tendons. These devices provide compression and support to the muscles and tendons around the elbow.

6. Corticosteroid Injections:

In some cases, a corticosteroid injection may be recommended to reduce inflammation and provide short-term pain relief. These injections are typically reserved for severe or persistent cases of tennis elbow and are administered by a healthcare professional.

7. Extracorporeal Shockwave Therapy (ESWT):

ESWT is a non-invasive treatment that involves the use of high-energy sound waves to stimulate healing and reduce pain. This therapy may be considered when conservative treatments have not provided sufficient relief.

8. Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) Therapy:

PRP therapy involves injecting a concentrated solution of the patient’s own platelets into the affected area. Platelets contain growth factors that can aid in tissue healing and regeneration. This treatment option is still being studied, and its effectiveness may vary.

Surgery is typically considered as a last resort if conservative treatments have failed to provide relief for an extended period. Surgical options may include removing damaged tissue, repairing the affected tendons, or releasing tension in the forearm muscles.

It’s important to consult with a healthcare professional, such as an orthopedic specialist or physical therapist, for an accurate diagnosis and personalized treatment plan. They can assess the severity of your condition, recommend appropriate treatments, and guide you through the rehabilitation process. Early intervention and a comprehensive approach to treatment can lead to successful outcomes and a return to pain-free function. At Alabama Bone and Joint Clinic our specialists are able to guide you through your treatment options. Call today to schedule an appointment with one of our experts in orthopedic care.