Lateral epicondylitis, or tennis elbow, occurs mainly in the tendons of the forearm muscles which are attached to the outside of the elbow. It is an overuse injury that is caused by repeated elbow and wrist motions. The condition is characterized by pain on the outer side of the elbow, forearm, and wrist, and it often gets worse when you use them with force or squeeze things.
Although tennis elbow can heal on its own, it can last for several weeks to months. Below are some of the recommended treatment options to help relieve its symptoms and get you on the road to a complete recovery as quickly as possible:
Home Remedies for Tennis Elbow
A few of the best home remedies for treating pain caused by tennis elbow include the following:
To relieve your elbow pain, you need to relax and rest the affected area. You must also refrain from doing activities that may aggravate your symptoms, like playing racquet sports.
In addition to resting the area, you may also apply ice treatment or a cold pack on the affected area. Do this for 15 minutes, three to four times a day. Remember to first wrap the ice or cold pack with a towel to avoid ice burn on your skin.
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are over-the-counter medications that you can take to reduce inflammation and relieve pain in your elbow and arm. Some examples are ibuprofen and naproxen.
You can avoid tennis elbow pain and prevent it from recurring by improving your technique when doing activities that require elbow movement. For example, learning proper elbow and wrist motions when playing racquet sports can help prevent tendon injury and degeneration. Make sure that you are also using the proper equipment and warming up before any physical activity.
Physical Therapy for Tennis Elbow
Your doctor may also refer you to a physical therapist to learn proper exercises to stretch and strengthen your forearm muscles. Doing exercises with light weights, which involve lowering the elbow or wrist slowly from a raised position, can improve your muscle strength.
If the treatment measures above are not enough, your doctor may prescribe and perform the following:
Platelet-rich plasma therapy is a minimally invasive procedure used to treat tennis elbow and other types of joint pain. This method is generally safe with minimal side effects, since your own blood platelets are used in the process.
A blood sample is first taken from your arm, and the blood is then processed in a centrifuge. The platelets are separated out and collected, and your doctor then injects the platelet-rich plasma directly into the affected elbow to help repair the injured tendons.
If the elbow pain continues and worsens even after 6 to 12 months of conservative treatment, your doctor may recommend surgery to repair the injured tendons and other tissue. After this procedure, you will undergo physical therapy to improve your recovery so your elbow is as good as new.
Tennis Elbow Treatment in Central Maryland
Our board-certified doctors at the Orthopaedic Associates of Central Maryland are experts at diagnosing and treating shoulder and elbow problems. We have several orthopedic clinics located across Central Maryland for your convenience.
If you have any questions or would like to schedule an appointment, call us today at (410) 644-1880 or (855) 4MD-BONE (463-2663). You may also fill out our online form now. We look forward to helping you get back to the game!