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Tennis elbow

What is it?

Tennis elbow is pain and swelling of the bony areas, muscles, and tendons in the elbow. Tendons are tissues that connect muscle to bone. Tennis elbow usually affects adults. It may take weeks to months before the elbow feels better.

Causes:

You may have a small tear in the tendon in the elbow. This may be caused by stress to the tissues that attach to the muscles in the forearm. (lower arm). Moving your forearm in the same way over and over again (as in playing tennis or golf) may cause this problem. Auto mechanics, carpenters, and manual laborers may also get tennis elbow.

Signs and Symptoms:

You may have pain, tenderness, or swelling of the elbow. It may hurt for you to move your elbow.

Medical Care:

Rest your elbow until the pain and swelling are gone. Put ice on the injured arm for 1 or 2 days and then use heat to help your pain. You may need to wear a sling or brace to rest the elbow. You may need physical therapy exercises. Acetaminophen or ibuprofen, over-the-counter medicine, may help your pain. Do not take ibuprofen if you are allergic to aspirin.

Herbs and Supplements:

Before taking any herbs or supplements, ask your caregiver if it is OK. Talk to your caregiver about how much you should take. If you are using this medicine without instructions from your caregiver, follow the directions on the label. Do not take more medicine or take it more often than the directions tell you to. The herbs and supplements listed may or may not help treat your condition.

Herbs:

    Supplements:

      Complementary Therapies:

      • Acupuncture may improve tennis elbow.
      • Massage may improve tennis elbow.

      Other ways of treating your symptoms : Other ways to treat your symptoms are available to you.

      Talk to your caregiver if:

      • You would like medicine to treat tennis elbow.
      • Your symptoms have not gone away or improved by these self-help measures.
      • You have questions about what you have read in this document.

      Care Agreement:

      You have the right to help plan your care. To help with this plan, you must learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. You can then discuss treatment options with your caregivers. Work with them to decide what care may be used to treat you. You always have the right to refuse treatment.

      References:

      1. Brattberg G: Acupuncture therapy for tennis elbow. Pain 1983; 16(3):285-288.

      2. Gehlsen GM, Ganion LR & Helfst R: Fibroblast responses to variation in soft tissue mobilization pressure. Med Sci Sports Exerc 1999; 31(4):531-535.


      Last Updated: 11/4/2014

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