How To Heal Tendonitis In Your Elbow: The Best Treatment Options

by Princeton Orthopaedic Associates

How To Heal Tendonitis In Your Elbow: The Best Treatment Options

by Princeton Orthopaedic Associates

Tendonitis is not as scary as it sounds. It’s a type of inflammation that affects tendons, the tissues that connect muscles to bones. If you have elbow tendonitis, it means that you are overworking your muscles and stressing the tendons in your elbow. Athletes are more prone to developing tendonitis because their activities stress their joints and tendons in a way that can cause friction and irritation. However, anyone who engages in repetitive motions can contract tendonitis. Tendons can become inflamed for many reasons, including overuse of that joint or activity; improper technique while exercising; stressors such as dehydration; strain from awkward positions; excess body weight; and even genetics may play a role.

Best Treatment Options For Tendonitis In Your Elbow

If you have tendonitis in your elbow, there are a few treatment options available to you. One, ice the inflamed area to reduce swelling and pain. The idea behind icing is that cold temperatures can help reduce inflammation and pain, allowing for a more comfortable healing process. If you want, you can wrap the ice in a towel before applying it to your elbow, but it’s not necessary. You should keep icing your elbow for 10-15 minutes at a time every few hours or as needed. You can also use an ice pack or gel pack, which provides more relief than ice cubes because it delivers more consistent pressure on the inflamed tissue. If it persists, try applying heat instead to increase blood flow and circulation along with decreased inflammation. 

Other options include taking over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications for temporary relief of pain and stiffness. You could also wear a splint if your symptoms are severe or don't respond to other treatments. If that doesn’t work, you could try professional massage therapy treatments at least once a week for three weeks. Another option is to stretch your muscles as often as possible by gently reaching out on your fingertips against resistance from one hand with the other hand. Lastly, do gentle exercises that don't aggravate the tendonitis such as using light weights with small repetitions or using a stationary bike.

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Other Options

Change Your Environment To Help Train Your Body

One of the best ways to treat tendonitis is to change your environment. This includes taking a break from your activity and finding ways to exercise that don’t cause pain in the affected area. You may need to modify or switch up your exercise routine, such as doing exercises with a ball instead of weightlifting. Additionally, you should take care of your body by drinking more water and eating more protein-rich foods. If you still have pain despite changing your environment, there are other treatment options available as well. You can use ice packs and massage therapy to help relieve the pain and inflammation. If this doesn’t work, ask for a cortisone injection in the elbow area, which will decrease the inflammation over time. Other treatments include acupuncture or one of many different medications prescribed by a doctor.

Try Physical Therapy

If you develop tendonitis in your elbow and don’t want to take medications or stop activity all together, physical therapy may be the best option for you. When it comes to healing tendonitis in your elbow, there are two different ways that physical therapy can help. The first type is manual therapy. Manual therapists, also known as physical therapists, work with your muscles and joints through a variety of techniques including massage, stretching, resistance training, and joint manipulation. This type of therapy is often used to treat tendonitis in the elbows because it focuses on strengthening the joint while decreasing stiffness and pain. The second type of physical therapy that may help heal tendonitis in your elbow is a form of exercise called "dry needling." A therapist inserts a small needle into the patient’s muscle beneath the skin to release tightness or trigger points caused by repetitive motions or stressors like dehydration. Dry needling is effective at treating chronic pain associated with tendinitis because it targets the root of the problem rather than just relieving symptoms.

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Try Ultrasound Therapy

The best treatment for tendonitis is to address the underlying cause. For instance, if you are an athlete and regularly engage in repetitive motions that cause your elbow to become inflamed, you need to stop doing that activity. If you are suffering from elbow pain due to overuse, you can try using ultrasound therapy. Ultrasound therapy helps by reducing inflammation and stimulating blood flow to the tissue. It also increases the production of collagen and nitric oxide, two substances that promote healing in an inflamed area. Ultrasound therapy is a non-invasive way to treat tendonitis without having to take any medication or undergo surgery. All you have to do is get an ultrasound treatment which takes about 15 minutes and can be done at home or at a clinic. The only risk associated with ultrasound therapy is if you have a pacemaker or other electronic device implanted in your chest area because it can interfere with the electromagnetic waves emitted by the device.

Try Rehabilitation Exercises

If you suspect that tendonitis is the issue, the first step is to rest the arm and discontinue any activities that could be causing an overload on your elbow. Next, try some rehabilitation exercises. These are designed to stretch tense muscles and strengthen ones that have atrophied due to not being used as often. Consider using a wrist splint or brace if you're experiencing pain in your hand while doing these exercises, or if you're experiencing carpal tunnel syndrome.

Final Thoughts

Tendonitis is not as scary as it sounds. It’s a type of inflammation that affects tendons, the tissues that connect muscles to bones. If you have elbow tendonitis, it means that you are overworking your muscles and stressing the tendons in your elbow. Athletes are more prone to developing tendonitis because their activities stress their joints and tendons in a way that can cause friction and irritation. However, anyone who engages in repetitive motions can contract tendonitis. Tendons can become inflamed for many reasons, including overuse of that joint or activity; improper technique while exercising; stressors such as dehydration; strain from awkward positions; excess body weight; and even genetics may play a role.

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