Elbow Tendinitis: 9 Ways To Heal Your Sore Elbow

Tendons are the tissues which keep bones and muscles attached to each other. If any tendon in the body becomes inflamed, it is called tendinitis. There are several different types of tendinitis, depending on which tendon is inflamed. Commonly, people develop elbow tendinitis which describes when the elbow’s connective tissues are inflamed. If the elbow tendons experience inflammation in their epicondyle, which is a bony attachment, then this condition is referred to as epicondylitis. You can develop inflammation in either area if you regularly rotate your forearm and overuse your elbow.

Tennis elbow, for instance, is when a tennis player experiences elbow pain on the outside because of how often they swing their racket. All that swinging motion causes the forearm muscles to become inflamed, resulting in pain. Sometimes the pain may even stretch to the wrist, fingers, and back too. As for golfers, they tend to get golfer’s elbow from swinging their golf clubs so much. This is inner elbow pain due to forearm muscle inflammation. These conditions often require an elbow compression sleeve.

Primary Causes of Elbow Tendinitis

  • The elbow joint is put under too much pressure and/or used too much. This is the result of rotating your forearm repeatedly while the wrist is flexed and extended.
  • Imbalanced or weak muscles.
  • Not using the right equipment. Perhaps the size of the grip is too big or too small. Maybe the tension you put on the equipment is too loose or too tight.
  • Bad wrist or elbow technique with the equipment. You don’t hit the ball properly, the strokes are not even, your balance is off, or your wrist action is too excessive.

9 Tips For Treating a Sore Elbow

1. Rest

When you develop elbow tendinitis from playing racquet-type sports, such as golf or tennis, you’ll be advised to temporarily refrain from playing these sports for at least a few days. That way, your tendons in the elbow have time to heal without getting further irritated.  But if you keep playing these sports anyway and don’t give your elbow time to heal, it could make the injury worse. Then you’ll experience more pain and discomfort which will take even longer to heal. So, wait for the pain in your elbows to go away first before playing racquet sports. After the pain is gone, try doing some basic elbow exercises to restore strength and flexibility in your elbow. Before you know it, you’ll be back to playing your favorite sports again real soon.

2. Ice

Get an ice pack or wrap a towel around some ice cubes. Place the ice on the affected elbow and keep light pressure on it for between 20 and 30 minutes. Repeat this for 3 to 4 times daily at first. As your elbow starts to feel better, you can do this only 2 times daily. Also, right after you’ve used your elbow in a physical activity, you can reduce the extra inflammation that may have been caused by applying ice to your elbow for up to 15 minutes.

Picture of a man holding his injured elbow3. Compression

Your affected elbow needs a neoprene elbow sleeve or ACE wrap. This will keep your elbow tendons supported because the brace alleviates some of the pressure and tension placed on them. Then your inflammatory issue won’t be as severe.

4. Elevation

You can decrease swelling by raising your elbow. People suffering from chronic inflammation or an acute injury may experience this swelling.

5. Exercises

You can enhance the strength and flexibility of your elbow’s muscle tendons by stretching your fingers, elbows, and wrists accordingly. There are special stretching exercises you can do with these parts to reduce muscle weakness and inflammation. Most importantly, it helps heal your tendons so that they’ll feel normal again. Then you can go back to doing your regular sports activities.

6. Physical Therapy

If your elbow inflammation is the result of a serious injury, then you may need physical therapy to alleviate it. They can utilize all kinds of techniques to restore your elbow’s tendons, such as friction massage, phonophoresis, ultrasound, electrogalvanic stimulation, and iontophoresis. If you have scar tissue to treat because of chronic inflammation, then soft tissue mobilization can be done.

7. Medication

You can take an over-the-counter or prescribed oral anti-inflammatory medication. If the pain is too severe, your doctor can administer a local anesthetic or inject your elbow with cortisone. These types of temporary pain relief treatments are good to get before physical therapy sessions too. Following a cortisone injection, do not engage in sports activities for 1 to 2 weeks. You can even avoid surgery by getting a cortisone injection if everything goes well. Just don’t keep getting injections or else bad things can happen.

8. Braces

There are several design choices for braces that are available. An elbow brace takes pressure off the elbow while assisting its inflamed tendons. During the healing process of the elbow, you should gradually reduce the amount of time that you use the brace. Your main goal is to prevent your tendons from getting injured again.

9. Surgery

If you’ve tried the treatments listed above and none of them have worked for you, then surgery may be your only option left. The surgeon can release pressure from your lateral epicondyle bone or extensor tendons to remedy your elbow problem. Out-patient surgery is acceptable for this type of procedure. Most patients experience amazing results.

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