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How to Get Rid of Tennis Elbow in 30 Days

By Spine and Sports |

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Four Week Guide to Getting Rid of Tennis Elbow

Week 1  
Step 1:
 Treat Your Symptoms

Step 2: Reintroduce Daily Activity

Week 2
Step 3: Decrease Inflammation
Step 4: Stretch and Strengthen Your Elbow

Week 3
Step 5: Week 3, Incorporate Holistic Treatment for Inflammation
Step 6: Week 3, Use Resistance to Build Elbow Strength

Week 4
Step 7: Week 4, Seek Professional Treatment
Step 8: Week 4, Build Endurance with Integrated Exercises



Don’t procrastinate – get rid of your tennis elbow pain in just 30 days. If you want to regain your top physical performance, it is crucial to become proactive in the treatment of your tennis elbow. You can find pain relief and increase your handgrip by following this succinct self-help guide.

According to OrthoInfo, tennis elbow affects a wide variety of athletes and workers performing repetitive arm, elbow and wrist work.

  • Tennis players
  • Golfers
  • Baseball players
  • Garden and lawn workers
  • Carpenters and mechanics
  • Assembly line workers

One of America’s all-time great professional tennis players, Venus Ebony Starr Williams, knows the importance of prompt and effective tennis elbow treatment.

"The thing about tennis is if you stay off for two weeks, or just for three days, you can lose your rhythm quickly. So it’s just a question of constant diligence and vigilance." Venus Williams

Day-By-Day 30 Day Tennis Elbow Treatment Plan

Regardless of the sport or occupation that has caused an overuse injury to your elbow, you can find relief from your pain through both basic and advanced exercises. Add in a simple stretching regimen along with self-administered therapies to begin implementing your tennis elbow treatment plan today.

The treatment modalities and tools described below will get you on the fast track to recovery from tennis elbow pain. This article has been specifically designed to help you regain your forearm and elbow strength. Most importantly, to help speed up your rehabilitation and prevent recurrent injury.


Week 1

Step 1: Treat Your Symptoms

Forearm weakness and pain due to tennis elbow can be self-treated through common sense home remedies – P R I C E. Remember, your pain is probably being caused by overuse from a repeated arm movement and could settle over time with a little tender, loving care.

Decrease Inflammation – P R I C E

Begin with a regimen of at home therapies known as P R I C E to naturally relieve the inflammation in your elbow.

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  1. P - Protection. Improving your warm up routine and enhancing your form used during your sporting activity is imperative. Consulting with a sports medicine doctor is recommended to make sure your form is sound. If your tennis elbow is due to an occupational activity, rethink your ergonomic setup by evaluating how your workstation may be adjusted to alleviate overuse of your forearm and elbow.

  2. R- Rest. Resting your fingers, wrist and forearm will allow the tendons and muscles surrounding your elbow to heal. Give your elbow time to heal by foregoing activities you know are causing your tennis elbow pain and inflammation.

  3. I - Ice Application. When tennis elbow pain arises, immediately begin to apply ice for 10 to 15 minutes several times per day. Use a thin cloth between the ice pack and your skin. Continue to apply ice as long as it relieves your pain.

  4. C - Compression. Ease pain to your elbow by wearing a counterforce brace during activities requiring grasping or twisting arm movements, worn around your forearm and just below your elbow. These braces spread pressure throughout the arm and away from the muscle and tendon surrounding the elbow joint. Purchase one online, at a medical supply store, or your local drug store in the pharmacy aisle.

  5. E - Elevate. It will help to ease pain and reduce swelling if you elevate your elbow several times a day, preferable when you are applying ice.

Step 2: Reintroduce Daily Activity

When your pain has reduced, begin to build strength in your forearm and elbow by performing these two basic exercises on alternating days throughout Week One. You can stay on top of your daily strengthening exercises by downloading our printable 30-Day Calendar with easy to follow diagrams.

image-for-tennis-elbow-exercise-diagram.png

(click here to download our Printable 30-Day Calendar)

 

Eccentric Exercise

You must perform an exercise specifically targeting your damaged extensor tendon to begin the healing process quickly.

  1. Use a light weight – 1 or 2 lb. dumbbell

  2. Sit in a chair having a sturdy armrest

  3. Rest your forearm on the armrest and grasp the weight with your palm facing down

  4. Simply let your wrist fall downward slowly

  5. Then, lift and extend your wrist upward even with the armrest

  6. Perform 3 sets of 10 repetitions of this exercise every other day


Forearm Extensor Stretch

Although this is a stretch – not technically an exercise – it is very crucial to your healing process. Overcoming a repetitive strain in your arm requires an increase in blood flow throughout the affected area to speed up recovery.

  1. Raise your arm at a 90 degree angle directly in front of your chest

  2. Your arm should be parallel to the floor

  3. Rotate your hand and point your thumb toward the floor as if to drop something

  4. Bend your wrist outward and grab your fingers with your other hand

  5. Now you simply pull your fingers and stretch your forearm, holding for 30 seconds

  6. Do this stretch three times for 30 seconds every other day, alternating days with the eccentric exercise.


Week 2
Step 3: Decrease Inflammation

Beginning with Week Two, you will begin applying hot compresses to your forearm and elbow to encourage blood flow.

A regimen of anti-inflammatory drugs and dietary changes will help to decrease inflammation and increase nutrition to your elbow. These will help to accelerate the healing process.

Your objective during Week Two is to continue to improve strength and increase circulation in your forearm and elbow joint.

Accelerate your elbow’s healing process by implementing these treatment tips.

  1. Deep Tissue 

  2. Hot compress application

  3. Deep tissue massage

  4. Stress ball exercises

  5. Dietary improvements 


Deep Tissue Massage

Either simply press on the trigger point area of your pain with your fingertips and thumb and hold for 10 to 60 seconds, or apply small kneading strokes circular and back and forth. For more detail, see the link below for a guide to Self Massage by Body Mind Conspiracyimage-for-self-massage-howto-elbow-diagram.png

[Video: Self Massage for Tennis Elbow]


OTC Anti-Inflammatory Medication

Decrease inflammation by taking over-the-counter (OTC) anti-inflammatory medications known as NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs). These NSAIDs are available at your local drugstore.

  1. Ibuprofen – Advil or Aleve

  2. Naproxen

  3. Aspirin - Tylenol


Hot Compress Application

Apply a hot compress to your forearm and elbow for 10 to 15 minutes 2 or 3 times per day.

Dietary Improvements

Healing will speed up if you improve your daily nutritional intake through simple dietary changes.

  1. High Potassium Foods

  2. Magnesium Rich Foods

  3. Low Sodium Diet

image-for-dietary-changes-tennis-elbow-treatment.png
Step 4: Stretch and Strengthen Your Elbow

Increase the strength in your forearm and elbow by adding the following basics into the alternating regimen of your 30 Day Exercise/Stretch Calendar.

Forearm Flexor Strengthening Exercise

This simple exercise works the forearm flexor muscle quickly and effectively.

  1. Using a light weight barbell – 1 or 2 lbs. – sit on solid chair having an armrest

  2. Or, use your thigh to rest your arm

  3. Lay your arm on the armrest holding the barbell palm up

  4. Keeping your arm flat on the armrest, curl your wrist up toward the ceiling

  5. Perform 3 sets of 10 reps every other day

 

Tricep Stretch

This is another stretching tool, but it is one that can be very important to the speed of your recovery. This tricep stretch will help to decrease stiffness in your arm and increase its mobility. It is imperative to improve your arm’s range of motion on a steady basis when recovering from tennis elbow.

  1. Bend your arm behind your back as if someone were putting you in an arm lock move

  2. Pull your other arm around your back to grab your arm lock elbow

  3. Now place gentle pressure by pulling on your elbow and feel the stretch in your tricep

  4. Hold this position for a count of 30 – repeating 3 times every other day


Stress or Tennis Ball Squeeze

A stress ball is like a tennis ball in that it has some give. Using the ball squeeze will work the flexors and smaller muscles in your forearm and hand. This technique is designed to strengthen your hand grip and reduce pain. Find a stress ball at any drugstore or online.

  1. While in a sitting position, grip the ball in your hand

  2. Squeeze the ball and hold the position for a count of three and then release

  3. Each time you squeeze and hold the ball, try to up your count

  4. Squeeze the ball and hold the position at least 3 seconds 10 times in 2 sets

  5. Perform the ball squeeze twice daily


Week 3

Step 5: Incorporate Holistic Treatment for Inflammation 

Continue to accelerate your elbow’s healing process by implementing these treatment tips during Week Three. Make sure to take care not to harm your liver health by taking anti-inflammatory medications for too long. Here are some methods for reducing inflammation to your elbow without the aid of over-the-counter non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS).


Decrease Inflammation - Natural Remedies

Prescription topical anti-inflammatory creams have been shown to be effective since 1998 according to the Clinical Journal of Sports Medicine.

However, you can incorporate natural anti-inflammatories without a prescription.

  1. Topical treatments available over-the-counter

  2. Essential oils available at your local health food store or nutrition store

  3. Natural supplements such as tart cherry juice available at your grocery

image-for-natural-anti-inflammatory-tennis-elbow.png

Step 6: Use Resistance to Build Elbow Strength

Continue to build strength in your forearm and elbow joint by using light weights and implementing light stretching and resistance tools. Remember, you are continuing to build on your strength improvement from Week One and Week Two. In addition to the daily alternating exercises you have implemented in Week One and Week Two, increase the strength in your forearm and elbow by adding the following basics into the alternating regimen of your 30 Day Exercise/Stretch Calendar.

Alternating every other day, perform two highly recommended advanced exercises – Drawing the Sword  and Forearm Pronation and Supination.


Drawing the Sword

Using a resistance band that can be purchased online for about $10, simply pretend you are drawing a sword from its sheath.

  1. Hold the resistance band in both hands near your waste where you pretend sword is located in its sheath

  2. Your thumb will be directed downward as your hand pretends to grab the sword from its sheath

  3. As you draw the sword, your thumb will end facing upward

  4. Lift your arm outward and upward to the ceiling

  5. Perform 10 repetitions 3 times every other day


Forearm Pronation and Supination

This exercise is performed with a light weight dumbbell – 1 to 2 lbs. – depending on your comfort level with the movement.

  1. Standing feet shoulder length apart

  2. Bring your arm up, out in front of you, and parallel to the floor while holding the weight

  3. Holding the weight, your thumb should be pointing up

  4. Now, rotate your hand and point your thumb down

  5. Perform 10 repetitions 3 times every other day

Improve Circulation

Your elbow will need special attention in improving circulation with the implementation of the more advanced exercises included in your routine during Week Three.

Don’t skimp on your attention to improving circulation or you may slow down the healing process and lose ground on the hard work you have done in Week One and Week Two.

  1. Apply hot compress treatment to the injured area indirectly protect your skin. 

  2. Implement Deep transverse friction therapy – This is pressure applied to the connective tissues around your elbow. Pressure applied should be clear, strong and satisfying and have a relieving, welcoming quality. This is good pain. For more tips, and to watch how a friction massage is performed, follow the link below to a guided practice by Max King.image-for-friction-therapy-howto-elbow-diagram.png

[Video: Elbow Treatment/Cyriax Friction]

Week 4
Step 7: Seek Professional Treatment

When your elbow pain persists after applying the recommended exercises/stretches in Week One, Two and Three, you should seek professional physical therapy treatment. Effective tennis elbow treatment begins with an accurate diagnosis.

An experienced tennis elbow treatment doctor will be able to recommended cutting edge treatment modalities for your persistent tennis elbow inflammation and pain.


Hands-On (Manual) Physical Therapy

The doctor can help you to build additional strength through hands-on (manual) physical therapy range of motion exercises such as:

  1. Myofascial release techniques

  2. Stretching of restricted structures

  3. Specific strengthening of weak muscles

  4. Soft tissue and joint mobilization/manipulation

  5. Muscle energy

  6. Mulligan techniques


Pain Management Therapies

Most importantly, your doctor can help manage your pain through state of the art tennis elbow treatment modalities.

  1. Cryotherapy

  2. Ultrasound

  3. Phonophoresis

  4. Iontophoresis

  5. Medical Massage

  6. Compression Braces 

image-for-elbow-compression-brace-buying-guide.png

(Links: Copper Wear $10, Copper Compression Recovery Elbow Sleeve $19, 
McDavid Elastic Elbow Sleeve $37, Band-It Elbow Brace $23, Futuro Adjust to Fit Support Brace $17)

 

Step 8: Build Endurance with Integrated Exercises 

Continue to build strength in your forearm and elbow joint by using light weights and implementing light resistance tools. In addition to the daily alternating exercises you have implemented in Week One, Two, and Three, incorporate the following daily advanced exercises every other day in your 30 Day Exercise/Stretch Calendar.

Some advanced exercises recommended for persistent elbow pain treatment include bicep curls and hammer curls to be performed on an alternating daily basis. A rhomboid and back strengthening exercise is also highly recommended for alleviating elbow tennis.

Bicep Curlsimage-for-tennis-elbow-exercise-diagram.png

To strengthen your forearm and bicep, this exercise focuses primarily on the two muscle groups on either side of your elbow. These muscle groups need to be kept in prime condition to avoid recurrent injury.

  1. Use a light weight dumbbell – 1 to 2 lbs.

  2. Get into a sitting position on a firm chair or bench with your legs open

  3. Grasping the weight, let your arm fall between your legs

  4. Rest your elbow on the inside of your thigh

  5. Your forearm is facing your opposite leg

  6. Bend and flex your arm upward to strike a bicep pose

  7. Your forearm should be parallel to the floor

  8. Perform 10 repetitions 3 times every other day

 

Hammer Curls

This exercise helps to thicken and strengthen your arm. Hammer curls focus on strengthening muscles, flexors, extensors, and tendonsHammer curls are a simple, yet advanced exercise.

  1. Use a light weight dumbbell – 1 to 2 lbs.

  2. Stand with your feet shoulder length apart

  3. Hold the weight in your hand straight down, keeping your arm close to the body

  4. Your hand should be over the weight in a hammer grip

  5. Bend your elbow upward to a 90 degree angle

  6. Perform 10 sets, 3 times every other day

(click here to download our Printable 30-Day Calendar)

 

Rhomboid and Back Strengthening Exercise

Yes, this integrated back, neck, and shoulder strengthening exercise will help to alleviate your symptoms of tennis elbow.

The Hosford Muscle Table – Shoulder Muscle Girdle Musculature – details how the rhomboid major muscle connects your upper body extremity to the vertebral column. The rhomboid muscles work together with the levator scapulae muscles situated at the back and side of the neck. A winged scapula is a skeletal condition in which the shoulder blade protrudes from the back in an abnormal position. This leads to functional difficulties extending to the arms, including tennis elbow.

Physical therapy – consisting of stretching and endurance exercises of the shoulder – will help to heal from tennis elbow.

  1. Lie on your stomach

  2. Your arms are by your side palms upward

  3. Squeeze your shoulder blades together

  4. Raid both arms, hands, palms upward

  5. Hold for a 20 second count

  6. Perform 3 reps 3 times every other day

 
Final Thoughts On Staying In The Game

When you’re back into the game, always listen to your body and watch out for when it is telling you that something is not right. A tennis elbow injury can go from slight to severe within days. The sooner you seek medical attention for a professional recommendation for tennis elbow treatment, the quicker you will recover.

Be proactive and discover more about how to prevent tennis elbow!  For more information, book an appointment.

 

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