How To Deal With Tennis Elbow

Are you suffering from a persistent ache in your elbow that’s preventing you from playing tennis? You might be dealing with tennis elbow. Tennis elbow, also known as lateral epicondylitis, is a painful condition that affects the tendons and muscles in your forearm. If left untreated, it can worsen over time and become difficult to manage. Fortunately, there are several ways to treat and manage this common condition. In this article, we’ll discuss how to deal with tennis elbow through rest, ice and heat therapy, exercise and stretching, massage, pain relievers and anti-inflammatories. With the right treatment plan for your individual needs, you can reduce your symptoms of tennis elbow and get back on the court faster!


Taking a break from strenuous activities that may be causing the condition can be an effective way to help manage tennis elbow. Rest is one of the best treatments since it will allow the tendons and muscles in your arm to relax and heal, reducing inflammation and pain. As part of this treatment option, you should avoid any physical activity that involves using your arm or wrist, such as lifting weights, playing sports or even long hours of typing on a computer keyboard. You may also want to consider wearing a brace for extra support while your arm is healing.

Alternative therapies are also available for managing tennis elbow. Ice packs can provide relief from inflammation and soreness; however, you must ensure that they are not placed directly on the skin as this could lead to frostbite. Heat therapy can also reduce pain and stiffness; however, avoid using heated objects like hot water bottles directly on the skin as this could cause burns. Massage therapy can also help manage pain by increasing circulation around the affected area. Lastly, stretching exercises may help improve flexibility in your arm muscles and tendons so they are better equipped to handle physical activities without causing injury or strain.

Evaluating which treatment options work best for you may take time and patience; however, if done properly, these methods can greatly reduce symptoms associated with tennis elbow and help prevent future flare-ups from occurring.

Ice and Heat Therapy

Applying ice and heat to the affected area can be an effective way to ease discomfort and reduce inflammation. It is important, however, to have a proper bracing technique when applying either hot or cold therapy. The wrist should be in a neutral position, with the palm facing down. Ice therapy should be applied for 10-15 minutes at a time, up to three times per day following physical activity. Heat therapy may also be used as an alternative form of relief from tennis elbow pain. It helps relax muscles and promote better circulation throughout the body’s soft tissues. Heat should not be applied directly onto the skin but rather indirectly via heating pads or warm compresses for 20-30 minute intervals twice daily. Both types of therapy provide much needed relief from stiff joints and help get your body back on track towards full recovery from tennis elbow pain. When using any type of heat or cold therapy you must listen to your body and react accordingly so that you don’t cause further damage.

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Exercise and Stretching

Let’s start by discussing strengthening exercises for tennis elbow. These exercises can help build strength and stability in the muscles of the forearm, wrist, and elbow to reduce pain. Range of motion exercises should also be included in your treatment plan to improve flexibility, as well as stretching exercises to increase mobility and reduce stiffness.

Strengthening Exercises

Strengthening those muscles can be tough, but it’s worth the effort to get your arm back to feeling better! To strengthen the muscles in your forearm, wrist and elbow, there are a few exercises you can do. A simple one is to hold a lightweight hammer with both hands and make small circles with it. This exercise should be done slowly and with proper form–making sure you keep your shoulders relaxed and elbows close to your body. You can also try doing wrist curls by holding a light dumbbell in each hand with palms facing down and bending the wrists up towards the ceiling. When performing these exercises, it is important to remember to use proper form; otherwise you could end up exacerbating the injury instead of helping it heal. Additionally, it’s helpful to perform these exercises several times throughout the day as part of your routine for best results.

Range of Motion Exercises

Moving the affected area of your arm through its full range of motion can help you regain strength and flexibility, so it’s important to include range of motion exercises in your recovery plan. Range of motion exercises are used to improve joint mobility and reduce discomfort associated with tennis elbow. These exercises should be done slowly and gently, taking care not to over-stretch or strain the muscles or tendons. Wrist flexion/extension and shoulder abduction/adduction are common range of motion exercises that many people find beneficial in treating tennis elbow. Bracing techniques may also be used in conjunction with range of motion exercises for additional support and prevention methods against further injury.

Range of motion exercises can be done at home without any special equipment; however, it is best to consult a healthcare provider before beginning an exercise program, as they will have more information regarding specific recommendations for your individual situation. A physical therapist may also provide guidance on proper form when doing these movements – using incorrect form can lead to further aggravating existing symptoms or even causing new ones. Additionally, focusing on slow controlled motions instead of fast jerky movements will help ensure maximum benefit from the exercise while minimizing any potential risk factors.

Stretching Exercises

Stretching exercises can help improve flexibility and reduce pain, so it’s a good idea to add them to your recovery plan. To get started, warm up with gentle movements before stretching and try to hold each stretch for around 10-15 seconds. Try not to push yourself too hard – focus on slowly increasing the intensity of your stretches over time. When performing stretching exercises, make sure you’re using proper posture correction techniques and that you are avoiding any movement that causes pain or discomfort.

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It’s also important to consider nutrition tips when dealing with tennis elbow. Eating foods rich in antioxidants, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins C and E can help reduce inflammation and improve joint health. Additionally, be sure to drink plenty of water throughout the day as this helps keep joints lubricated while decreasing stiffness in tendons and muscles due to dehydration. Stretching exercises combined with proper nutrition will help speed up your recovery from tennis elbow so you can be back in the game faster!


Massaging can help provide relief from discomfort and promote healing when it comes to treating tennis elbow. Massage therapy can be a proactive prevention measure against injury, as well as a preventative measure for those already suffering from tennis elbow. It has been found to increase muscle flexibility and circulation, which in turn helps with pain management and recovery. Additionally, massage is also great for reducing stress and tension in the muscles surrounding the affected area.

For those experiencing tennis elbow pain, massage may be an effective form of treatment. A trained massage therapist will use various techniques to target areas where the muscles may have become tight or weak due to overuse of the arm joint. These targeted areas are then manipulated through massage strokes that range from light kneading and friction to deep tissue work that helps reduce inflammation while increasing mobility of the affected area.

Massage not only provides immediate relief but also helps build strength in affected muscles by improving their elasticity and function over time. In addition, regular massages may also help prevent further injuries by promoting better posture habits that lead to improved body mechanics during everyday activities like playing sports or lifting weights.

Pain Relievers and Anti-Inflammatories

If you’re looking for relief from discomfort, pain relievers and anti-inflammatories may be just what you need. Many people with tennis elbow find that taking over-the-counter medications such as ibuprofen or naproxen can help reduce the inflammation associated with the condition. These medications can also help to relieve some of the pain associated with tennis elbow. Additionally, prescription non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as diclofenac sodium and celecoxib can be prescribed by your doctor for more severe cases of tennis elbow.

When taking these medications, it is important to follow the directions carefully and not exceed the recommended dosage. You should also talk to your doctor before beginning a new course of medication, especially if you have any existing medical conditions or allergies that could cause complications when taking certain types of medication. It’s also important to note that these medications are not a substitute for bracing techniques or supportive devices which should always be used in combination with other treatments for tennis elbow.

It’s also worth noting that some alternative therapies like acupuncture and massage therapy may provide additional relief from symptoms associated with tennis elbow. Talk to your health care provider about all available options so they can help recommend an appropriate treatment plan tailored specifically to your needs and lifestyle.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long should I rest my elbow?

When dealing with elbow pain, it is important to rest your elbow. Depending on the severity of your injury, resting your elbow can range from a few days to a few weeks. If you feel like you need more time than that, consult with your doctor or physical therapist for further advice. During the rest period, focus on stretching and strengthening exercises; this will help improve mobility in the area and reduce inflammation. Follow all instructions given by medical professionals carefully to ensure full recovery.

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Is it safe to use ice and heat therapy together?

It is safe to use both ice and heat therapy together when dealing with elbow pain, such as that caused by tennis elbow. Ice can help reduce inflammation and swelling, while heat can be used to improve circulation, relax muscles, and reduce stiffness. For best results, alternate between cold and warm treatments a few times a day. Additionally, stretching exercises are important for managing pain associated with tennis elbow; they should be done regularly to maintain flexibility in the joint and surrounding muscles. Together, these therapies can provide relief from pain related to tennis elbow.

Are there any specific exercises I should do to help with tennis elbow?

Stretching and physical therapy exercises can be beneficial for tennis elbow. Start with simple stretches that focus on the forearm and wrist muscles. Make sure you hold each stretch for 30 seconds before releasing. You may also benefit from strengthening exercises such as squeezing a ball or towel, lifting light weights, and doing arm curls to help improve your range of motion. Talk to your doctor or physical therapist if you need additional guidance on which exercises are best suited to your individual needs.

How often should I get a massage for tennis elbow?

Massage therapy can be an effective part of a treatment plan for tennis elbow. Massaging the affected area can help reduce inflammation and improve your range of motion. Depending on your condition, you may benefit from getting massages every few days or up to twice a week. It’s important to combine regular massage with stretching and strengthening exercises to keep the muscles flexible and strong.

What are the side effects of taking pain relievers and anti-inflammatories?

If you’re taking pain relievers or anti-inflammatories to help with tennis elbow, it’s important to be aware of the potential side effects. Common side effects include nausea, dizziness and headaches. Additionally, prolonged use can lead to gastrointestinal bleeding, liver damage and kidney problems. To reduce the need for medications, focus on stretching techniques and strengthening exercises that target the muscles around your elbow joint. This can help reduce inflammation and provide relief from pain without relying on drugs.


Dealing with tennis elbow can be a difficult and frustrating process. But with the right combination of rest, ice and heat therapy, exercise and stretching, massage, and pain relievers or anti-inflammatories, you’ll have the tools to manage your pain. Don’t forget to talk with your doctor about what treatment is best for you. With proper care and attention, you can get back on the court in no time!

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