Lateral Epicondylitis Treatment
- What It Is
- Risk Factors
- Living With
- User Questions
- Alternative Treatment
- Care Guide
- Questions for Your Doctor
- When to Contact a Doctor
- Find a Doctor
- Resource Guide
How to Treat Lateral Epicondylitis
Do not do activities that cause pain. Do not play sports, especially tennis, until the pain is gone.
Apply ice or a cold pack to the outside of the elbow for 15-20 minutes, four times a day for several days. Wrap the ice or cold pack in a towel. Do not apply the ice directly to your skin.
Take one of the following drugs to help reduce inflammation and pain:
- Ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil)
- Naproxen (Aleve, Naprosyn)
- Acetaminophen (Tylenol)
- Dexamethasone (delivered through electrical current)
If you still have tenderness in the elbow while taking these drugs, do not return to physical activity. Check with your doctor.
Wear a counter-force brace on your forearm if recommended by your doctor. This brace limits the force generated by your forearm muscles when you use them.
Apply heat to the elbow only when you are returning to physical activity. Heat is helpful before stretching or when you are getting ready to play sports.
When the acute pain is gone, start gentle stretching of the wrist and elbow as recommended by a healthcare professional. Stay within pain limits. Hold each stretch for about 10 seconds and repeat six times.
Begin strengthening exercises for your wrist extensor muscles as recommended.
Gradual Return to Your Sport
Begin arm motions of your sport or activity, such as tennis strokes, as recommended.
The doctor may inject cortisone into the tendon attachment at the lateral epicondyle. This may help to reduce pain and inflammation, especially in the first six weeks.