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    How Is Tennis Elbow Diagnosed?

    Tennis elbow cannot be diagnosed from blood tests and rarely by X-rays. Rather, it is usually diagnosed by the description of pain you provide to your doctor and certain findings from a physical exam, such as worsening of the pain when you try to extend your wrist against resistance.

    Since many other conditions can cause pain around the elbow, it is important that you see your doctor so the proper diagnosis can be made. Then your doctor can prescribe the appropriate treatment.

    Tennis elbow usually is successfully treated by medical means -- such as physical therapy, forearm bracing to rest the tendons, topical anti-inflammatory gels, topical cortisone gels, and cortisone injections. It only rarely requires surgery.

    The type of treatment prescribed for tennis elbow will depend on several factors, including age, type of other drugs being taken, overall health, medical history, and severity of pain. The goals of treatment are to reduce pain or inflammation, promote healing, and decrease stress and abuse on the injured elbow.

    How Is Pain and Inflammation Reduced in Tennis Elbow?

    To reduce the pain and inflammation of tennis elbow, try:

    How Can I Promote Healing of Tennis Elbow?

    This step begins a couple of weeks after the pain of tennis elbow has been reduced or eliminated. It involves specific physical-therapy exercises to stretch and strengthen muscles and tendons around the injured elbow. Any activity that aggravates the pain must be avoided.

    How Do I Decrease Stress and Abuse on Tennis Elbow?

    To help lessen the continued stress and abuse on tennis elbow:

    • Use the proper equipment and technique in sports and on the job.
    • Use of a counter-force brace, an elastic band that wraps around the forearm just below the injured elbow (tendon) may help to relieve pain in some people.
    • Avoid tight gripping and overuse of the wrist.
    • Pay attention to the movements that cause pain.

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