Elbow Tendonitis Treatment

What is Elbow Tendonitis?

Elbow tendonitis, a term which applies to both tennis elbow and golfer’s elbow, is a painful condition of the elbow caused by overuse or repetitive motions. 

What are the different types of Elbow Tendonitis?

There are two types of elbow tendonitis: tennis elbow (lateral epicondylitis) and golfer’s elbow (medial epicondylitis). Tennis elbow and golfer’s elbow are similar in that they are both overuse injuries of the forearm caused by repetitive gripping, swinging, or flexing. Pain from tennis elbow generally occurs on the outside of the elbow, while golfer’s elbow generally occurs on the inside of the elbow.

What Does Elbow Tendonitis Pain Feel Like?

Elbow tendonitis may begin as a mild ache at the site of the elbow that progresses into a sharp pain that radiates down your forearm. Both tennis elbow and golfer’s elbow have the following symptoms in common:

  • Pain on the outer (tennis elbow) or inner (golfer’s elbow) side of the elbow
  • Elbow stiffness and reduced range of motion
  • Pain when gripping or lifting an item or when rotating the wrist
  • Pain or dull aching that radiates into the forearm  Weakness or tingling in your arm or hand

How is Elbow Tendonitis Treated?

The good news is that with rest, most cases of elbow tendonitis heal on their own. It may take 1 – 2 years for tendons to naturally heal and for symptoms to completely resolve. Some home-based treatments have been shown to speed up the healing process. Typical at-home remedies are as follows: 

  • RICE Method: RICE stands for Rest, Ice, Compression, & Elevation. First, refrain from activities that rely on use of the forearm muscles. Next, apply ice packs to your elbow and forearm several times a day. Last, if needed, elevate the arm or use loose compression wraps to help with swelling.
  • Anti-inflammatory Medication: over-the-counter pain relievers like aspirin, ibuprofen, or naproxen can help manage the pain of elbow tendonitis and reduce inflammation.
  • Anti-inflammatory foods: foods such as cherries and berries, leafy greens, and spices like ginger or turmeric have been shown to help reduce inflammation.
  • Tennis elbow strap: A tennis elbow brace or strap applies pressure to the muscles of the forearm. This reduces pressure on the injured tendon in the elbow. In certain cases, the brace or strap can be used while working or playing sports.

If pain persists after trying these methods, our elbow specialists may recommend prescription-strength medications, regenerative medicine, or surgical treatments.

Do Corticosteroid Injections Work for Elbow Tendonitis?

Corticosteroid injections are typically recommended only for severe pain that hasn’t improved with the use of anti-inflammatories, bracing, or physical therapy. The corticosteroid injection usually lasts for several months. However, no more than two injections are recommended due to a possibility of injuring surrounding tissues and a chance that tendon rupture may occur. 

Does Platelet-rich-plasma (PRP) Treatment Work Elbow Tendonitis?

Although not conclusive, some research suggests that Injections with platelet-rich-plasma or PRP may have some benefit in treating elbow tendonitis. This natural treatment is reported to improve the biologic environment of injured tissues, stimulating the natural healing of the tendons. PRP injections involve taking blood from the patient’s arm and spinning the blood to obtain the patient’s natural healing platelets and growth factors. The platelet-rich-plasma is then injected into the outside of the elbow at the site of the injured tendons to stimulate healing. Speak to your Seaview physician to see if PRP is right for you.

Elbow Tendonitis Surgery

Some patients may not be able to avoid the activities that cause their elbow pain and prevent their tendons from healing naturally. For those who require repetitive extension of their wrists and fingers to make a living, avoiding certain movements may simply not be an option. In these cases, or if all conservative treatments do not work, your elbow pain specialist at Seaview Orthopaedic may recommend surgery. Elbow tendonitis surgery usually occurs at a surgical center and involves cleaning injured tendons and reattaching the healthy tendons back to the elbow. After surgery, a splint is worn for 1-2 weeks. 

Because the elbow tends to get stiff very quickly after surgery, physical or occupational therapy is used to increase range of motion and restore flexibility to the elbow. It is important to note that physical therapy is an essential part of treatment as these exercises prevent elbow stiffness and loss of motion. Seaview Orthopaedic is top rated for elbow pain treatment in New Jersey. During rehabilitation, your therapist will start gradual strengthening exercises at about 6-8 weeks after surgery. Full recovery may take up to 3-4 months after surgery. 

Greater than 90% of patients do well with conservative treatment. Elbow tendonitis surgery is considered successful in 80 to 90% of patients with significant reduction in pain, allowing patients to return to their prior daily activities. Patients regain about 90% of their strength in the affected arm compared to the unaffected arm. Depending on occupation, patients may expect to return to work in 2-6 weeks.

Elbow Tendonitis Treatments in Central New Jersey and Jersey Shore 

Searching for Elbow tendonitis treatment in New Jersey? Book a consultation with one of our expert specialists today. Seaview Orthopaedic is committed to exploring your best treatment options so you can get back to quality living!