The good news is that tennis elbow can usually be treated by non-surgical means. To reduce pain and inflammation, these things often work:
- Rest and avoiding any activity that causes pain in the tennis elbow area (yes, that may mean taking time off from playing tennis!)
- Applying ice to the sore area
- Taking anti-inflammatories like ibuprofen
- Getting cortisone injections to the affected area
Once your pain is relieved, you may need to start physical therapy. More specifically, you need to strengthen and stretch the muscles in your arm, especially in your forearm. Activities or motions that aggravate your pain should be avoided and this may mean, finally, learning proper stroke technique to prevent re-injury. Use of a “counter-force” brace, that wraps around the arm and applies pressure just below the elbow can often help.
Fortunately, 90 to 95% of tennis elbow sufferers will get relief from just following these conservative steps. And for the 5% of people who require surgery, 80 to 90% of them will get relief from their injury.
And what about my fear of having tennis elbow myself? I'm pretty sure, after all of this research, that I don't have tennis elbow! And now that I now all about it, I plan on keeping my arms in good shape and hopefully avoiding ever becoming a tennis elbow victim.
© Kim Selzman 2009
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