After the pain eases, your doctor or physical therapist can teach you rehabilitation (rehab) exercises to stretch and strengthen your tendon. Doing these exercises at home can help your tendon heal and can prevent further injury.
When you feel better, you can return to your activity, but take it easy for a while. Don't start at the same level as before your injury. Build back to your previous level slowly, and stop if it hurts. To avoid damaging your tendon again:
- Take lessons or ask a trainer or pro to check the way you are doing your activity. If the way you use a tool is the problem, try switching hands or changing your grip. Make sure you are using the right equipment for your size and strength.
- Always take time to warm up before and stretch after you exercise.
- After the activity, apply ice to prevent pain and swelling.
Be patient, and stay with your treatment. You will probably feel better in a few weeks, but it may take 6 to 12 months for the tendon to heal. In some cases, the pain lasts for 2 years or longer.
If your symptoms don't improve after 6 to 8 weeks of home treatment, your doctor may suggest a shot of corticosteroid. This could give you some short-term relief so you can start rehab exercises. Surgery is seldom needed for tennis elbow.