I Have Tennis Elbow: What Can I do Right Now?
Tennis elbow is soreness caused by a degeneration of a tendon origin on the outside of the elbow, commonly caused by activities requiring repetitive elbow and wrist motion.
If this sounds like pain you’re experiencing, Andrew Cross MD, a hand surgery specialist, shares a few at-home measures you can take to alleviate symptoms or prevent them from worsening.
Tip #1: Rest Up
Your first step would be to rest your arm until you notice the pain is getting better, which may take up to two or three weeks. You should also ice the area, two or three times daily.
Tip #2: Open the Medicine Cabinet
Dr. Cross also suggests taking recommended doses of anti-inflammatory medications, like Motrin, Aleve or Tylenol. “If pain subsides, then they can taper down on the medicine, according to symptoms,” he points out.
Tip #3: Buy a Brace
“Commonly, people will wear a wrist brace, which keeps the patient from forcibly extending the wrist, taking tension off the elbow,” Dr. Cross explains. “Another thing patients will buy is what’s called a ‘tennis elbow strap,’ which, when placed on the forearm, helps prevent as much stress being generated in the area when the muscles contract.”
You can typically purchase these items from drug or grocery stores. In some cases, you may need to go to a specialty store to find an appropriate brace.
How to Prevent Tennis Elbow
If you're an athlete, it's smart to warm up before your workout, to prepare the muscles for activity.
On the other hand, if you have a big home project planned, like painting multiple rooms, Dr. Cross says to avoid prolonged, repetitive actions without taking a break. "A lot of times, people have in their mind, 'I want to get this done this weekend.' And then, they overdo it."
Last Updated: October 16, 2013