Tennis Elbow: Symptoms, Treatment & Prevention

May 31, 2024

Tennis elbow occurs when there is swelling or inflammation of the tendons that causes pain around the elbow joint and can radiate throughout the arm. Tennis elbow is a type of tendonitis referred to as lateral epicondylitis. Contrary to its name, tennis elbow isn’t just an injury for people who play tennis, or athletes in general. Any activity that causes repeated arm movement, especially around the elbow joint, could lead to inflammation of this tendon. In this blog, we will cover the symptoms, prevention tips, and treatment options for this injury.

For same-day sports injury treatment, visit the walk-in clinic at AFC Urgent Care Cortez. Our dedicated team of medical professionals is available to provide prompt and comprehensive care for patients of all ages. Just walk-in or plan your visit in advance below!

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How Do I Know If I Have Tennis Elbow?

As the name suggests, the most common sports associated with tennis elbow are sports where you use a racket like tennis, pickleball, squash, and badminton– because of how fundamental elbow movement is to these sports. The primary symptom of tennis elbow is pain or tenderness around the elbow. The pain is usually localized around the bony section of the elbow and can radiate throughout the arm. In fact, you might feel the pain when using your hands because of how the tendon that is affected goes from your elbow to your wrist. The pain from the tennis elbow is usually most intense when you try to make a fist, grip an object, or lift something. Actions that require you to flex your hand or straighten your wrist can send a shooting pain throughout your arm that is most intense around the elbow. 

Common signs of tennis elbow include:

  • Pain and tenderness
  • Weak grip
  • Stiffness
  • Pain with repetitive movements

How Do I Prevent Tennis Elbow?

Like many sports injuries, the best way to prevent tennis elbow is to ensure your body can handle the stress of the activity you are about to perform. First and foremost, strengthening your arm muscles and flexibility can help decrease risk. During activity, if you feel pain you should stop the activity before you do more damage. You should avoid bending or straightening your arm all the way or causing hyperextension. One of the reasons tendons are injured is because of repetitive motion over a period of time. When playing sports that require a racket, try to limit yourself especially if you are just picking up the sport. During an activity, you might feel fine, but you will tend to feel sore later on. Start small when starting a new sport or activity and don’t underestimate the importance of listening to your body. 

Tennis Elbow Treatment Options

One of the first steps in treating tennis elbow is to rest the affected arm and avoid activities that exacerbate the pain. Modify your activities to reduce stress on the elbow. A minor injury can be handled with an ice pack. Applying ice to the elbow can help reduce inflammation and numb the pain. Ice the area for 15-20 minutes, several times a day as needed. Over-the-counter pain relievers can help reduce pain and inflammation. If pain persists for days, worsens, or makes it impossible to go about your day you should seek medical attention. A medical professional might recommend physical therapy, or other treatments to help you recover. In rare circumstances, surgical treatment might be necessary if the damage is severe. 

Get Walk-In Injury Care at AFC Urgent Care Cortez 

Tennis elbow can be a frustrating condition, but with the right treatment and care, you can recover efficiently. The key is to address the problem early and follow a comprehensive treatment plan tailored to your needs. If you live near Cortez, CO and you are concerned about a sports injury or inflammation of your tendons, ligaments, or muscles, come visit the walk-in clinic at AFC Urgent Care Cortez. Our urgent care center is available seven days a week to provide comprehensive sports injury treatment for patients of all ages. We accept most health insurance plans and offer low-cost options for self-paying patients. If you have any questions about tennis elbow treatment, or other services we provide, please contact us at (970) 516-5500.

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