6 Effective Ways to Treat Elbow Tendonitis

What is Tendinitis of the Elbow?

The elbow has several major tendons that attach near it. These elbow tendons include the:

  • Common extensor tendon.
  • Common flexor tendon.
  • Biceps tendon.Anatomy of Tennis ElbowAnatomy of Tennis Elbow.

Tendinitis of the elbow is typically associated with the first two. Tendonitis of the common extensor tendon is known as Tennis Elbow. Tendinitis of the common flexor tendon is known as Golfer’s Elbow.

Tendons are bands of tissue that connect muscles to bones. What is tendonitis in the elbow? Tendonitis is inflammation of a tendon. It can cause pain in the tendon or the surrounding area and my limit daily activity. Tendonitis may involve tiny tears in the tendon. How to treat tendonitis of the elbow varies depending on the severity of injury and the nature of injury.

What are causes of Tendonitis in the Elbow?

The quick answer is that elbow tendinitis may be caused from:

  • Repetitive movement.
  • Heavy lifting.
  • Squeezing and twisting movements.
  • Computer use.
  • Gardening.
  • Painting.
  • Tennis.
  • Golf.

What does Tendonitis in the Elbow feel like?

Symptoms of this condition include feeling pain and tenderness on the bony knob on the outside of the elbow. Even though the injury is to the elbow, pain can be aggravated through doing things with your hands. This is because you use your tendons when using your hands, which causes pain to radiate up into your elbow.  

Do I have Tennis Elbow or Golfer’s Elbow?

Tennis Elbow is on the outside of the elbow and Golfer’s Elbow is on the inside part of the elbow.

A backhand in tennis requires a stable wrist. Over time, this places stress through the tendons in the back of the wrist.  This may lead to tendonitis at the elbow or tendinitis of the wrist. However, tennis is not usually the main cause of Tennis Elbow. So, what can you do for tennis elbow? The quick answer to that is that it depends. You can find some home treatments in the section below.

Swinging a golf club can put stress on the inside on the elbow and lead to Golfer’s elbow. This is rarely the cause though.  

Tennis Elbow and Golfer’s Elbow are both types of tendonitis. They can be caused from repetitive stress or vibration.

What are 6 Effective ways to Treat Elbow Tendinitis?

So, you know that you have this condition. The problem is so many people don't know how to get rid of tennis elbow or what to do for tendonitis of the elbow. The quick answer for how to treat tendonitis of the elbow is found below. The quick answer to how to fix tennis elbow may also be below:

  • Rest: If there is an activity that increases the pain, take a few days to a few weeks off. This may allow the inflammation to progress through the normal healing process.
  • Anti-inflammatory medications: Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can help decrease pain. There are risk factors though and it is important to speak to your physician before beginning any medications, even if they are over the counter.
  • Ice: Cold packs help to decrease pain and limit damage to surrounding tissue. Cold packs or ice should be used for 10 to 20 minutes.
  • Bracing: An elbow brace may help to limit painful activity temporarily but should not typically be used at all times. A tennis elbow brace applies pressure to the elbow tendon and help to change the forces on the tendon.

Tennis elbow braces can help with elbow pain.Image of tennis elbow brace.

  • Stretching" Stretching the wrist into flexion or extension can help to stimulate the injured tendons and promote mobility and healing.  Hold stretches for 30 seconds and repeat 3 times. You should feel tension but not severe pain.
  • Massage: Gently rubbing the painful tendon can help to stimulate healing and breakdown scar tissue.  Try massaging the tendon in various directions.

How long does Elbow Tendonitis take to heal?

There is a quick answer for how to heal a tennis elbow and how long it takes is that it depends on the severity of the injury. Many people feel better in as little as a couple weeks, but it may take 6 months to a year for the tendon to fully heal. Surgery is rarely needed, but some doctors may use a shot of corticosteroid to help you get started with rehabilitation.

How is Elbow Tendonitis Diagnosed?

To diagnose your elbow tendinitis, your doctor will perform a thorough physical exam. The doctor will have you bend your arm, wrist, and elbow to see where the pain is located. Your physician will determine if you also need tests, such as X-ray, MRI or ultrasound to diagnosis your elbow tendinitis. how to treat tendonitis of the elbow

If you would like to learn more, watch this video on Tennis Elbow.

What if the Home Remedy for Elbow Tendonitis Does Not Work?

Physical therapy is a great option to treat elbow tendonitis. There are different treatments for the various sources of elbow pain. Massage and stretching can improve mobility of the tissue. Education is important in treating elbow pain. Physical Therapists use a variety of treatment options including:

For more information about the treatment of elbow pain and other conditions, please visit our trending section at  https://www.joionline.net/trending/. JOI and JOI Rehab now offer Telemedicine or Virtual Visits, to learn more go to: Telemedicine.

To schedule an appointment with an Orthopaedic elbow Specialist, click below or call JOI-2000. 

By: Ehren Allen, PT, Certified Manual Therapist

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