Elbow Injury and Pain
The treatment of elbow tendonitis involves the use of heat to loosen up tissue, friction massage to the tender area, and therapeutic exercises for muscle strengthening, ice massage to reduce pain, bracing and activity modification.
When the pain has come about gradually without a recent or definite injury, then heat is best to warm tissue, and allow good stretching, which will improve motion of the elbow. If there has been an injury then ice is usually used for the first few days to reduce the amount of swelling that may occur. Apply ice to the painful area 20 minutes on and 20 minutes off throughout the day for 48-72 hours.
The tissue can be worked with deep friction massage frequently through out the day. This decreases local scar tissue, and may improve the blood supply to the inflamed area. Therapeutic exercise consists of light hand held weights and more repetitions. Usually one would do a set of 10 repetitions of a given exercise, wait 10 seconds and then do a second and third set of 10 reps. After the exercise, apply ice to the sore area and massage. Many times this can be done at home but more severe cases or patients unable to do this on their own may require a course of physical therapy.
A brace can be provided for use during any activity that may aggravate the pain. This usually involves lifting, gripping or repetitive use. The brace should not be worn constantly or to sleep.
By modifying one’s activities, pain and other symptoms should resolve.