How do you heal tennis elbow fast?

Most people who get tennis elbow don’t play tennis! In fact, less than 5% of all tennis elbow cases occur in people who play the sport. Tennis elbow, also known as lateral epicondylitis, is

a type of tendinitis (swelling of the tendons) that causes pain in your elbow and arm. These tendons are bands of tough tissue that connect the muscles of your lower arm to the bone.

Tennis elbow can happen to anyone who repeatedly uses their elbow, wrist, and hand for their job, sport, or hobby. Physical therapists help people with tennis elbow gently heal the affected areas, build muscle strength, and avoid further injury. And, according to a new study, choosing physical therapy for tennis elbow outperforms steroid injections and is cost-effective.

The main symptom of tennis elbow is pain and tenderness in the bony knob on the outside of your elbow. This knob is where the injured tendons connect to the bone. The pain may also radiate into your upper or lower arm, and you can have tennis elbow in both arms. Although the tendon damage is in your elbow, you’re likely to feel pain when doing things with your hands.

Tennis elbow pain may be most intense when you:

  • Lift something
  • Make a fist or grip an object, such as a tennis racket
  • Open a door or shake hands
  • Raise your hand or straighten your wrist

Despite the name, you can get tennis elbow even if you’ve never been near a tennis court. Any repeated arm movement can inflame your tendons. Tennis elbow is the most common reason for elbow pain. It can pop up in people of any age, but it most hits people between ages 30

and 60. Tennis elbow usually develops over time. Repeated motions, like gripping a tennis racket during a swing, can strain your muscles and leave the work up to your tendons, causing them to become inflamed and ripe for microscopic tears.

For the first 24 to 48 hours after acute onset of your pain, your Tennis Elbow Treatment may include:

  • Resting the arm by avoiding certain activities and modifying the way you do others.
  • Applying ice treatments to the affected area.
  • Using elastic bandages or supports to take the pressure off the painful muscles.

Your physical therapist at Vitruvian Italian Physiotherapy Center will decide if a brace or support to protect your muscles will aid your healing.

After the First 48 Hours, a Tennis Elbow Treatment program specific to your needs to speed your recovery will begin. They may use treatments such as:

  • Manual (hands-on) therapy.
  • Special exercises to relieve pain.
  • Ice or heat treatments, or both.

They also will design an exercise program to help correct muscle weakness that you can continue at home.

At Vitruvian Italian Physiotherapy Center your program will include:

Improving mobility. Your physical therapist may use manual (hands-on) therapy, such as massage or other techniques. This treatment helps to reduce tightness in the soft tissue and joints to enable your joints and muscles to move more freely with less pain.

Improving strength. Lack of muscle strength can lead to tennis elbow. Sometimes the weakness is in the muscles of the wrist and forearm. In many cases, the problem stems from weakness of the supporting postural, or “core,” muscles. In fact, you might find that you need to improve your overall level of fitness to help manage your elbow condition. Your physical therapist will work with you to determine the type and amount of exercise that is right for you.

Physical therapists prescribe several types of exercises during recovery from tennis elbow:

  • In early treatment, when the pain is most intense, your physical therapist may perform gentle passive exercises for you. They will carefully move your wrist and elbow without straining the involved muscles.
  • As your symptoms improve, you can begin to perform active exercises yourself, moving your wrist and elbow without assistance. Your physical therapist will guide you, to ensure your safety.
  • As the muscles become stronger and your symptoms lessen, you may begin using weights or resistance bands to further increase your strength. Your physical therapist will carefully monitor your exercises to help you make progress and avoid reinjury.

Your physical therapist will help you stay active by teaching you how to modify your activities to avoid pain and injury. Sometimes it’s necessary to make changes at work, on the playing field, or at home. Your physical therapist can help you make changes to your work site, your computer setup, kitchen devices, sports equipment, and even your gardening tools to lessen the strain on your hand, wrist, and forearm. They will emphasize the importance of taking stretch breaks, so that your muscles get frequent rest from repeated movements and positions.

For an “acute” case of tennis elbow (one that arose in the past few weeks) it is important to get treatment as early as possible. If left untreated, tennis elbow can become chronic and last for months or even years. This is especially true if treatment focuses only on relieving pain and not on correcting the muscle weakness and bad habits that likely led to the condition.

Research has shown that physical therapy can help people with tennis elbow improve their pain and function. In a recent study, researchers calculated the economic impact of choosing physical therapy for tennis elbow over steroid injections. They found that doing so saves $10,739, including all the hidden costs of your time, pain, missed life events, and the dollars paid for services.

If your tennis elbow is severe, your physical therapist may recommend that you consult with another health care provider for more testing or additional treatment. In rare cases, a cortisone injection or surgery might be needed. Your physical therapist can help you determine whether you need a referral to another health care provider.

How long it takes to recover from tennis elbow depends on the extent of the damage to your tendon and your treatment.

But don’t rush the healing process. If you start pushing yourself to use your arm too early, you could make the damage worse.

You’re ready to return to your former level of activity when:

  • Gripping objects or bearing weight on your arm or elbow is no longer painful.
  • Your injured elbow feels as strong as your other elbow.
  • Your elbow is no longer swollen.
  • You can flex and move your elbow without any trouble.

To learn more about Tennis Elbow Treatment, please visit our dedicated page here: Tennis Elbow Treatment

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