Don’t let the name fool you! Even if you never held a racket, you can suffer from tennis elbow. If your elbow is causing you problems, take a look at the elbow tendonitis treatment outlined below.

Elbow tendonitis (tennis elbow) occurs when a tendon swells and becomes painful after a tendon injury. Despite its name, you can get tennis elbow from any repetitive gripping activities, especially those involving the thumb and first two fingers. Symptoms include pain in the elbow and arm. If needed consult your doctor.


8 Elbow Tendonitis Treatments

1. Rest

  • Stop the exercise or activity that caused the injury until you feel better.
  • If your job involves manual tasks like lifting, you should avoid these activities until the pain in your arm improves. Alternatively, try to modify the way you perform the tasks so they do not place strain on your arm. Talk to your employer about avoiding or modifying certain activities that could aggravate your arm.
  • When you can move your sore elbow without pain stopping you, try doing some exercises to reduce stiffness and increase flexibility.

2. Ice

  • Place an ice pack or a bag of frozen peas wrapped in a tea towel to your elbow for up to 20 minutes, every 2 to 3 hours.
  • To help prevent swelling during the first 2 to 3 days, try to avoid heat, such as hot baths and heat packs.


3. Elevate

Keep your elbow raised on a pillow when sitting or lying down.


4. Medication

  • Paracetamol and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen, can ease mild pain and inflammation. Wait 48 hours after your injury before taking ibuprofen as it can slow down healing.
  • As well as tablets, NSAIDs are also available as creams and gels (topical NSAIDs). Apply directly to your elbow area.
  • Consult your doctor or pharmacist when it comes to taking any medication.


5. Physical Therapy

  • Physical therapy techniques, such as massage and manipulation, help relieve pain and stiffness and encourage blood flow to your arm. Physical therapy also strengthens and stretches the muscles. Self-massage techniques such as Deep Friction Massage Therapy are effective in treating tennis elbow.
  • Sports massage is a useful treatment especially if your tennis elbow is chronic rather than an acute injury. Make sure you use a certified therapist.
  • Therapeutic eccentric exercises (TEE), and a new exercise for tennis elbow have been proven to help in treating the condition. Eccentric exercises make the muscle work against a force which remodels the tendon.


6. Exercise


7. Aids

Aids such as an elbow strap, brace, support bandage or splint can provide support and relief the short term.


8. Surgery

Surgery may be recommended as a last resort if your tennis elbow is causing severe and persistent pain. If your elbow doesn’t respond to two to four months of conservative treatment, you may need surgery.  This involves the damaged part of the tendon will be removed to relieve the painful symptoms.


Elbow tendonitis can be acute or chronic. There are a number of treatments available including those outlined above. You can treat mild to moderate tendon injuries yourself. If you stick to your elbow tendonitis treatment regime, you should feel better within 2 to 3 weeks.