Lateral epicondylitis, or tennis elbow, is a relatively common overuse injury of the elbow in people who play racquet sports, paint, weave, cut meat or perform other repetitive motions that require intense motion. The pain of tennis elbow is recognizable by location and inability to perform certain motions with the hand and wrist.
The tendons that become inflamed with tennis elbow are actually those that anchor the muscles that control the wrist and hand. Therefore when doing repetitive motions such as a poorly controlled back hand swing in tennis, cutting meat, weaving or even painting the tendon is stressed, becomes inflamed, swollen and causes pain.
Is there a tennis elbow home cure? That depends upon the severity of the condition and whether there is a commitment to treatment and rehabilitation. Like anything else in this life, nothing comes without a price. The price of a tennis elbow home cure is time and energy as well as stopping the activities that caused the pain in the first place — at least until the pain has disappeared.
You may believe you have a problem with tennis elbow if you have pain on pressure to the outside of the elbow, pain with raising the wrist, grasping objects or turning a door knob. If you also have swelling, inflammation, redness, heat, fever, deformity of the elbow joint, or believe that there is bone involvement you must consult a doctor immediately. There are other conditions that may appear to be tennis elbow but the complications from these can be devastating.
Only your doctor can provide an accurate diagnosis and prescribe treatment for medical conditions. The recommendations provided here should only be used to help suggest treatments to your physician and provide information about the condition and common treatment modalities.
A tennis elbow home cure is a slight misnomer because, for the most part, tennis elbow doesn”t require intense medical treatment to affect a cure.
- First the elbow should be rested. Don”t put it in a sling but rather stop doing the activities that cause pain. So forget the tennis match, painting the family room or starting on that new rug. Don”t butcher any meat and this is even a good excuse not to cook for a week or so. Rest the elbow from anything that hurts. Use your other hand to open doors, grasp objects and lift. Keep the arm loose at your side or resting in your pocket you don”t forget and use it.
- Next, ice the joint for a week or two 3 times a day for 20 minutes. This is a perfect opportunity to use an ice cup. These are easily made at home using a Styrofoam cup, filled with water and frozen. Rub the ice directly over the elbow for 20 minutes. The ice will melt so keep a towel handy. As the ice melts you can also peel down the cup.
- If you don”t have a medical condition that impacts your ability to use ibuprofen you can take this over the counter anti-inflammatory medication. Ibuprofen is metabolized through the liver and should be used with caution if you have liver disease, are taking other medications that are metabolized through the liver or are taking any other medication that may interact with the ibuprofen. Consult with your doctor or pharmacist to determine that this medication is safe for you.
Once the pain has decreased to the point it is comfortable consult with a physical therapist to determine the right exercises to strengthen the forearm and prevent this condition from reoccurring.
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