Did you know about 2% of the population has tennis elbow at any given time? Although it’s most common in people between the ages of 40-60, almost anyone can be a victim of this nagging ailment. Oftentimes, tennis elbow can go away in a couple of weeks, but in more severe cases it can last for months or even over a year. That being said, 80% of individuals who develop tennis elbow say they are pain-free in less than a year.
Many of our patients in Central Florida come to us expressing discomfort from this condition. Tennis elbow can be extremely painful and inconvenient, and our team takes immense pride in providing tennis elbow treatment solutions.
In this blog, we’ll discuss what exactly tennis elbow is, what to look out for, and at-home remedies to relieve you of pain and discomfort.
What is Tennis Elbow?
Tennis elbow, formally known as lateral epicondylitis, is a common overuse injury of the muscles and tendons of the forearm. It is a painful condition, usually caused by repetitive motions such as those involved in playing tennis or other sports but can also be caused by everyday activities such as painting or gardening.
It occurs when the tendons in the forearm become overworked, causing microtears in the tissue. This can result in pain and discomfort in the area of the elbow, forearm, and wrist. The pain may start out as mild but can become more severe with increased strain on the muscles and tendons.
Tennis elbow is a condition that can be difficult to manage, but there are ways to reduce the pain and discomfort associated with it. If you think you may have tennis elbow, it is important to talk to your doctor for proper diagnosis and treatment.
Symptoms of Tennis Elbow
There are a few symptoms that correlate with tennis elbow, the most common being:
- A burning or sharp pain in the outer part of the elbow
- Discomfort from bending or twisting your arm
- Stiffness or pain when straightening your arm
- Swollen and tender elbow joints
- Weakened grip
The pain can be sharp and sudden, or it may be a dull ache that gets worse with certain activities.
Treatments that Work
Tennis elbow can be a painful and frustrating condition to deal with, but there are a variety of treatments available to help relieve your symptoms. Family Integrative Medicine offers the following non-surgical treatments to enhance mobility and relieve pain:
- Red light therapy: Red light therapy has become a popular treatment option for those suffering from tennis elbow as it is safe and non-invasive. As the light passes through the skin, it produces a form of heat which stimulates cells and helps promote healing and regeneration.
- Ozone Therapy: Ozone therapy for tennis elbow is administered directly into the affected area through injections or topical applications. This has anti-inflammatory properties, which can reduce swelling and pain in the elbow joint.
- Medical Acupuncture: When it comes to treating tennis elbow, acupuncture works by targeting areas of muscle tension and tightness around the elbow joint. The needles are inserted into specific areas around the elbow joint in order to release muscle tension and reduce pain.
- Physical Therapy: Physical therapy is one of the most common treatments for tennis elbow. These may include deep tissue massage, stretching, joint mobilizations, dry needling, and even cupping therapy. Exercises are also used to help strengthen the muscles around the elbow joint and to improve flexibility.
- Ultrasound Therapy: The therapy works by using high frequency sound waves, usually in the range of 1–3 MHz, which stimulate the healing process by promoting blood flow to the affected area. This increased blood flow helps to reduce inflammation and pain, while allowing new tissue to form more quickly.
Our medical experts would be happy to assist you in determining which treatment works best for you.
Yes, our treatments do wonders for treating tennis elbow. But there are exercises you can do at home to help expedite the healing process.
At-Home Tennis Elbow Exercises
The best at home treatments for tennis elbow include heating and icing the sore area, applying a TENS unit, and using hydrotherapy in a pool or hot tub if it’s accessible. In addition to these treatments, the following exercises can help heal and strengthen your elbow:
Step 1 (Warm Up): The first step in relieving the pain of tennis elbow is to gently stretch the affected area. Start by extending your arm out in front of you and using your other hand to pull it back towards your body. Hold this position for 30 seconds before slowly releasing. This can help loosen up the tight muscles surrounding your elbow joint and increase flexibility. You can also try flexing your wrist, rotating it around in circles, or holding a light weight in one hand while lifting and lowering your arm with the other.
Step 2 (Build Up): Hold a rubber ball with your palm facing upward. Squeeze the ball for 5 seconds, then release. Start with 3 sets of 10 and work your way up to more sets as the elbow gets stronger and the pain alleviates.
Step 3 (Slight Intensity): Begin by stepping on an exercise band directly in the middle. Bend over to pick up the bands, and in a controlled motion begin curling from your elbow. For less resistance, grip higher on the band, and for more resistance grip lower. Begin with 3 sets of 8 and work your way up.Step 4 (Cool Down): Place a Rubber band around your fingers. Try to separate your fingers in an outward motion. Do this for 10 reps each day.
How can you Prevent Tennis Elbow?
It is important to take preventive measures to help reduce the risk of developing tennis elbow. Wearing a brace or wrist band during physical activities can help support the forearm muscles, as well as absorb shock and prevent overuse injuries. Taking regular breaks between intense activities can also help reduce stress on the arm muscles and tendons. Additionally, using proper technique when performing any activity can help reduce stress and strain on the forearm muscles.
Can the Exercises for Diabetic Neuropathy also Help with Tennis Elbow?
Exercises for diabetic neuropathy patients may not directly address tennis elbow, as it is a condition related to overuse of the arm’s tendons. However, exercises and stretches that focus on strengthening the forearm muscles and improving flexibility can potentially benefit individuals managing both conditions. Seeking proper guidance from a healthcare professional is crucial to determine the suitability of exercises for individual cases.
Your Tennis Elbow Experts
Tennis Elbow is a very common injury. Whether you’ve sustained it playing sports, doing chores, or partaking in something else, it’s important to take the necessary steps to allow it to heal.
Our friendly and experienced medical staff would love to help heal your tennis elbow injury! We’ve seen minor to severe injuries of this kind, and we’re confident we can restore comfort and mobility back to your elbow.
Give us a call at 407.751.2192 and visit one of our conveniently located medical centers.