February 20, 2017
It's a Pain in the.....Elbow

By Dr. Ryan Geringer

What is Tennis Elbow?

Tennis elbow, also called golfer’s elbow, even called “washer woman’s elbow” are all names for a condition known as epicondylitis.  Anyone who has repeatedly used and strained their arm, whether through sports or at work, is probably familiar with the sharp pain at the elbow and the accompanying sore muscles in the forearm.  With repeated strain, the tendons that join those forearm muscles to the elbow bone develop microscopic tears.  These tiny injuries lead to the inflammation of the tendon, muscle weakness and pain in the muscles.  This may feel like sharp or burning pain on the outer part of your elbow and it can manifest in a weak grip strength. [1]

There are simple ways to treat

There are a variety of ways to treat this condition ranging from non-invasive methods to full open surgery.  Thankfully, most cases respond well to simple treatments.  NSAIDs such as ibuprofen, both topically and in pill form, help with the pain.  Cyrotherapy, or cold/ice packs also relieve the pain and swelling.  Your doctor may suggest resting the arm and taking a break from the activity that has caused the condition in order to give your body the time to heal itself. 

A brace allows the tendons to rest

Additionally, you may have seen people at the gym with a band around their forearm and wondered what it’s for.  Tennis  Elbow BraceIt’s actually a brace that helps to rest the irritated muscles and tendons and can also relieve pain, especially while at rest. [1] The brace should be applied firmly approximately 4 inches below the elbow joint.  However, the big help in treating tennis elbow is physical therapy.  Studies have shown that rest and physical therapy are the most effective methods to treat stubborn pain and inflammation.  [2]  More intensive treatment may include various injections at the site such as corticosteroids or even special blood products. However, it is usually recommended to start with a more conservative treatment such as rest, ice, physical therapy, and bracing.

Painsandstrains.com offers the Tennis Elbow Care Kit, and thankfully has all of the things you need to treat tennis elbow on your own.  The Freeze Sleeve is there to help relieve pain and support your elbow while at rest or in motion.  Fast Freeze is our powerful and fast acting topical pain reliever to treat any breakthrough pain.  The Surround Tennis Elbow Strap serves as a brace that protects the injury but is also easy to wear all day.  It works by engaging the larger muscles of the forearm during movement in order to allow the smaller, damaged muscles to rest and heal. One of the most important parts of the package is the Strength and Stretch Physical Therapy Plan.  Created by physical therapist Mike Verplancke, it provides widely accepted exercise programs and tools specific for treating your elbow pain.  When used together, these tools will help to relieve your pain and get you back to the tennis court as soon as possible.

  • This post is designed for educational purposes only and should not be used a diagnosis or treatment recommendation. Before beginning any treatment it is important to speak with your physician.



[1] http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=a00068

[2] http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/96969-treatment



Joe McClung

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