Tennis Elbow

Tennis elbow should be a self-limiting condition, which means it will normally get better without treatment, it can often last for several weeks or months. This is generally because tendons are thought to have a relatively low blood supply and therefore heal quite slowly. In some cases, tennis elbow can persist for more than a year.

A number of simple treatments can help alleviate the pain of tennis elbow. The most important thing you can do is rest your injured arm and stop doing the activities that causes the problem.

Holding a cold compress, such as a bag of frozen peas wrapped in a towel, against your elbow for a few minutes several times a day can help ease the pain.

If you have tennis elbow, you should (where possible) stop doing activities that strain the affected muscles and tendons. This will often be things that involve wrist/finger movements e.g. clenching a fist/holding tools tightly/excessive keyboard typing or mouse work.

If you use your arms at work to carry out manual tasks, such as lifting, you may need to avoid these activities until the pain in your arm improves.

Alternatively, you may be able to modify the way you perform these types of movements so they do not place as much strain on your arm.

The medical approach to treatment will probably start with painkillers or anti-inflammatory drugs. If these do not help to resolve the problem they may be followed by a cortisone (steroid) injection. Invasive treatments, such as surgery, can be considered in severe and persistent cases of tennis elbow, where non-surgical approaches have not been effective.

If your tennis elbow is causing persistent pain an osteopath might be able to help. Osteopaths are healthcare professionals who use a variety of methods to restore movement to injured areas of the body, and also take time to consider, and advise upon, predisposing factors specific to an individual.

At the Bexleyheath Osteopathic Practice we may use manual therapy techniques, such as massage and manipulation, to relieve pain and stiffness, and encourage blood flow to your arm. We can also show you exercises you can do to keep your arm mobile and strengthen your forearm muscles. 

The use of an orthoses – such as a brace, strapping, support bandage or splint-may also be useful in the short term.

If you think an osteopath can help you, please call us at the Bexleyheath Osteopathic Practice on 020 8298 7122.

© Bexleyheath Ostepathic Practice 2013