Tennis Elbow: Best Practices for Pain Relief
Tennis Elbow

Tennis Elbow: Best Practices for Pain Relief

Lateralepicondylosis, more commonly known as “Tennis elbow” is a condition that is caused by overusing your arm, forearm or your hand muscles that causes elbow pain. It is referred to as “Tennis elbow” because it is more commonly found in tennis players and it can be a problem in their sport. The condition can be caused by any repetitive motions that are using your elbows including vacuuming, gardening or paddling which leads to tiny tears in the adjacent tendons.

The basic symptoms of Tennis Elbow are:

  • Pain worsens when shaking hands or squeezing objects.
  • Pain slowly increasing around the outside of the elbow. Less often, pain may develop suddenly.
  • Pain is made worse by stabilizing or moving the wrist with force.
  • Examples include opening jars, lifting, using tools, or even handling simple utensils such as a toothbrush or knife and fork

If you go straight to a physician there is a good chance that they will suggest that you wear a brace in order to prevent further damage to the tendons.  A brace will also bring you temporary relief from pain simply because you won’t be using the damaged tendons. Wearing the brace will assure that the tendons are not being too stressed while recovering.

A brace will encourage healing but there are other factors to the process that are crucial:

  • Ice. Applying ice will help reduce swelling and provide pain relief. Apply several times a day or as the symptoms arise.
  • Rest. Often easier said than done when you live in Kailua. Take a break from your usually adventurist activities and try to take a few weeks off of paddle boarding and canoes to insure that your arm has time to heal.
  • Massage. Use your other hand to massage small, firm circles over the inflamed elbow.  This contact stimulates the natural tissue repair mechanism and may reduce the formation of scar tissue in your arm.
  • Nonsteroidal over the Counter Medications: If your physician approves, acetaminophen or something similar to ibuprofen or naproxen will alleviate discomfort temporarily.
  • The “Tyler Twist.” To treat tennis elbow, physical therapist Tim Tyler has created a series of simple, specially constructed ribbed bars that are twisted in a two-handed manner. As your pain improves and your elbow strengthens, you move to the bar at the next level of tension, and so on. This low-tech treatment is quite exciting in the world of physical therapy because tennis elbow is such a common problem.

Overall, 90% to 95% of people with tennis elbow will improve and recover with the treatment plan described. If your elbow is giving you trouble and tennis elbow has been diagnosed, come visit OSR and we can evaluate your painful elbow and create a recovery plan that works the best for you.

Tennis Elbow


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