Treating Tennis Elbow

Nov 20, 2023

Tennis elbow, also known as lateral epicondylitis, is a common condition that causes pain and inflammation in the tendons of the forearm muscles. It is often caused by repetitive motions and overuse of the forearm, such as those involved in playing tennis or other racquet sports. If you're experiencing the symptoms of tennis elbow, it's important to manage the condition properly to prevent further damage and promote healing.

Rest and Immobilization

One of the first steps in managing tennis elbow is to give your forearm muscles a break from the activities that may be causing the pain. Resting the affected arm and avoiding repetitive motions can help reduce inflammation and allow the tendons to heal. Immobilizing the area with a brace or splint may also be beneficial in providing support and preventing further strain.

Ice and Heat Therapy

Applying ice to the affected area can help reduce pain and swelling. Wrap a cold pack or a bag of frozen peas in a thin towel and apply it to the elbow for about 15 minutes at a time, several times a day. Heat therapy, such as using a warm towel or taking a warm shower, can also help relax the muscles and promote blood flow to the area.

Physical Therapy

Physical therapy can be an effective treatment option for tennis elbow. A qualified therapist can guide you through exercises and stretches that can help strengthen the forearm muscles, improve flexibility, and reduce pain. They may also use techniques such as ultrasound or massage to promote healing and alleviate symptoms.


In some cases, over-the-counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen or naproxen sodium may be recommended to help manage the pain and reduce inflammation. However, it's important to consult with a healthcare professional before taking any medication, especially if you have any underlying medical conditions or are taking other medications.

Extracorporeal Shockwave Therapy

If conservative treatments do not provide sufficient relief, your healthcare provider may recommend extracorporeal shockwave therapy (ESWT). This non-invasive procedure uses high-energy sound waves to stimulate healing in the affected area. ESWT has been shown to be effective in reducing pain and improving function in patients with tennis elbow.


Preventing tennis elbow is essential for long-term management. Here are some tips to help reduce the risk of developing this condition:

  • Use proper technique when participating in activities that involve repetitive arm motions.
  • Warm up before engaging in physical activities and cool down afterward.
  • Strengthen the muscles of the forearm through targeted exercises.
  • Take regular breaks during activities that put strain on the forearm.
  • Use equipment that is properly sized and suited for your needs.

When to Seek Medical Attention

If your symptoms persist or worsen despite conservative treatments, it is important to seek medical attention. A healthcare professional can provide a proper diagnosis and recommend further treatment options, such as corticosteroid injections or, in rare cases, surgery.

Remember, managing tennis elbow involves a combination of rest, therapy, and prevention. By taking proper care of your forearm muscles and seeking appropriate treatment, you can alleviate pain, promote healing, and get back to doing the activities you love.