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Tennis Elbow (cont.)

Are There Home Remedies for Tennis Elbow?

  • Home remedies include icing the area for 20 minutes twice a day to help to decrease inflammation and relieve pain. Freezing water in a paper cup and tearing away the top rim as the ice melts is an easy way to use ice. Do not put ice directly on the skin. Wrap it in a towel.
  • Rest the sore area to prevent further injury and decrease pain.
  • Over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), aspirin, or naproxen (Aleve) may help decrease the pain and swelling and help the healing.

What Are Tennis Elbow Treatments?

Home care with ice, rest, and over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications are the mainstays of treatment. If these do not produce the desired result, the physician may choose to begin a second line of therapy.

  • An elbow strap or splint may help take the pressure off the inflamed tendon.
  • A physical therapist may have a patient perform different exercises to increase flexibility and strength. These exercises are usually performed at home.

What Medications Treat Tennis Elbow?

Corticosteroid injections can be made into the inflamed area. Although steroid injections are safe, they are usually limited to two to three times a year. Having steroid injections more frequently than that will weaken the tendon and make it more likely to rupture. If positive results are not seen with the first injection, additional injections are also unlikely to work.

A newer treatment involves injecting several milliliters of the patient's own blood into the inflamed tendon area. This is referred to as autologous blood injection. This has been reported to help heal the inflamed tendon faster, and its effectiveness is still being investigated.

When Do Health Care Providers Recommend Surgery for Tennis Elbow?

  • Surgery is usually a last resort but is successful in relieving elbow pain in most people.
  • The operation for lateral epicondylitis involves a small incision over the elbow to trim the tendon or sometimes to release and then reattach the tendon to the bone. It can usually be performed as an outpatient procedure taking several hours.
  • Candidates for surgery are usually those who have had symptoms for more than six to 12 months despite nonsurgical therapies.
  • Several months of rehabilitation at home and working with a physical therapist are required and begin about six weeks after surgery.
  • As with any surgery, there are risks, which you should talk about with your doctor.
Last Reviewed 9/11/2017

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Read What Your Physician is Reading on Medscape

Lateral Epicondylitis »

Lateral epicondylitis, or tennis elbow, is a commonly encountered problem in orthopedic practice.

Read More on Medscape Reference »

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