If you have tennis elbow, follow these simple steps to reduce pain and start tendon healing. A rehab program such as this will prevent further injury by making your arm muscles stronger.
- Rest your fingers, wrist, and forearm muscles to allow your tendon to heal. Stop any activity that you think may be causing your elbow pain and soreness. Depending on the severity of tendon damage, you may have to avoid this activity for weeks to months.
- As soon as you notice pain, use ice or cold packs for 10 to 15 minutes at a time, several times a day. Always put a thin cloth between the ice and your skin. Keep using ice as long as it relieves pain. Or use a warm, moist cloth or take hot baths if they feel good. Do what works for you.
- Wear a counterforce brace during activities that require grasping or twisting arm movements. A counterforce brace is a strap worn around your forearm just below your elbow. This brace may spread pressure throughout the arm instead of putting it all on the tendon. These braces are not a substitute for rehab exercises.
- Try elevating your elbow to help ease pain and reduce swelling in your wrist or forearm.
- Take nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) including aspirin (such as Bayer), ibuprofen (such as Advil), or naproxen (such as Aleve) to reduce pain and inflammation. NSAIDs come in pills and in a cream that you rub over the sore area. Be safe with medicines. Read and follow all instructions on the label. Acetaminophen (such as Tylenol) can also help with pain.
- Do simple warm-up and stretching exercises to keep your tendons from getting stiff. If you have any pain, stop the exercises.
- When your pain is gone, start doing stretching and strengthening exercises, then gradually increase these exercises. Learn the correct techniques and which equipment is best for your activities.