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moremoreDo I have tennis elbow Understanding the symptoms is where most everyone would start. There are 2 kinds , 'tennis elbow and "golfer's elbow". Tennis elbow is located on the outside of the elbow. Golfer's Elbow is on the inside. (I don't golf, so I only concern myself with tennis elbow)...

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moremoreWhat should I do first? The hardest part was understanding what I had done to my elbow and what I should do. The sites I found said "ice it" but I wasn't sure where to ice it, how long and what I should use to ice it with... The basic concept that seems to work is: Use heat on the forearm...

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moremoreHow to improve my tennis elbow? It seems as if there are millions of miracle cures for tennis elbow. From creams to gadgets that promise to improve your elbow overnight. I didn't try all of them or even most of them but I did spend time and money on a few. What I wanted to find was a realistic approach...

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New! Post your comments, tips and suggestions to help others with tennis elbow on
Tennis Elbow Doctor's BLOG.

Special thanks to Jill Kramer for editing and correcting most of the writing/grammer on this site. Yes, she too, was once one of us with tennis elbow.

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What should I do first?

Remember: This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor.

The hardest part was understanding what I had done to my elbow and what I should do. The sites I found said "ice it," but I wasn't sure where to ice it, how long, and what I should use to ice it with. The basic concept that seems to work is: Use heat on the forearm (to relax the forearm muscles) and ice directly on the sore elbow area (to reduce inflammation in the elbow).

The following info is from WebMD.com:

If you have tennis elbow, follow these simple steps to reduce pain and start tendon healing. A rehabilitation program such as this will prevent further injury by making your arm muscles stronger.

• Rest your fingers, wrist, and forearm muscles to allow your tendon to heal. Stop any activity that you think may be causing your elbow pain and soreness. Depending on the severity of tendon damage, you may have to avoid this activity for weeks to months.

• Ice your elbow 3 times a day for 10 minutes each time, or according to your health professional's instructions. Use an ice pack, cold pack, or even a bag of frozen peas.

• Wear a "counterforce" brace during activities that require grasping or twisting arm movements. A counterforce brace is a strap worn around your forearm just below your elbow. This brace relieves pressure on the tendon and distributes it throughout the arm. Wrist or elbow splints also may help reduce pain. Talk to you doctor before trying a splint. These braces are not a substitute for rehabilitation exercises.

• Try elevating your elbow to help ease pain and reduce swelling in your wrist or forearm.

• Take nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) to reduce pain and any inflammation.

• Do simple warm-up and stretching exercises with your fingers and wrist to prevent stiffening of your tendons. If you have any pain, stop the exercises.

My take on what to do first if you have tennis elbow:

Realize that you have done something that has somehow damaged the connection of the tendons that connect your forearm to your elbow. Try to become aware of all the ways during the day that you put stress on that area of your arm. I was surprised how much I was clinching my arm during the day, which put stress on the elbow. Even the movement of using a mouse can add to the stress.

I remember thinking that this was never going to go away. And, I wanted to play tennis so much, it was driving me crazy. I tried to get as much information as I could so that I could play again.

Now, throughout the day, I will stretch out my arm and do some gentle rubbing of the muscles in my forearm for maybe 20 seconds or so. Then I will stretch my arm using the stretches from WebTennis' CD. It only takes a small amount of time to do the stretches and in the beginning I was icing my elbow for up to 20 minutes. That wasn't the best thing to do. You should probably ice the elbow for up to 1 minute is all.

It is going to be a process to repair the damage to your elbow. But, you will get better if you care for your elbow and take the time to learn about the best way to heal the tendon, strengthen the damaged tendons and then do what you can to prevent future injury.

 

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I collected some of the best links that I've found that may help with improving the condition of your tennis elbow. Use them as you wish (links will open in a new window):
  • WebMD - Signs and symptoms of tennis elbow.

  • WebMD - Scroll down to ongoing treatment and click on "Stretching Exercises".

  • WebTennis.com - If you're serious about tennis, pay the money ($37 for download version) and get his CD, It is worth every dime and will save you hours of time and money.
  • Google Discussion-Goggle group discussion about technique and others experiencing tennis elbow problems.

  • Tennis Warehouse-Talk Tennis/Tips and Instruction-Type in tennis elbow in the "search" area on the top right.