Is It Possible To Treat Tennis Elbow At Home?

Tennis elbow occurs from repetitive motion and overuse of your hand and forearm, which results in a significant pain in your elbow area. You don't have to play tennis to develop tennis elbow. Many people develop tennis elbow from jobs that require fast repetitive motions such as, mechanics, line workers, or gardeners. You can suddenly injure the muscles and tendons around your elbow, or tennis elbow can develop over a long period of time. There are some things you can do at home to help ease the pain of tennis elbow.

Tennis elbow brace

If you haven't seen these in stores, you can find them online or from a sports injury doctor. A tennis elbow brace looks like a thick bracelet with a Velcro strap. The brace should be warn right below the elbow in a snug fashion, but not overly tight. The brace usually provides a good deal of relief from the pain associated with tennis elbow; however, it's crucial that you continue to rest your arm as much as possible to allow healing.


Anti-inflammatory medication like Ibuprofen can help ease the pain. Any NSAID medication should offer a degree of relief. It works by reducing the hormones in your body that cause inflammation and pain. It is recommended not to take more than 3200 milligrams per day. 

Resting your arm

This is the hardest thing to do for most people. You still have to work, go grocery shopping, clean your house, and do laundry. Resting your arm might seem impossible, but it's vital if you want your muscles and tendons to heal. You can move your arm, just avoid anything repetitive, don't lift anything heavy, and don't do anything that causes pain. 

Exercise and stretch

You don't need to lift weights or do push ups; in fact you will only cause more harm to your elbow. To help it heal, you need to do slow, focused arm stretches that strengthen your elbow over time. Remember, you are healing; not getting ripped. 

  • First, stretch your arm out straight in front of you with your palm facing up.
  • Bend your wrist towards the floor gently.
  • With your other hand, gently bend your wrist until you feel a stretching sensation in your forearm.
  • Hold this position for at least 15 seconds and repeat 4 times

Ice or Heat

For inflammation, alternating between ice and heat can cause the swelling and pain to reduce. A heating pad works well, or a hot pack. You can even fill a sock with rice and put it in the microwave for a minute if you don't have anything else to use. The downside is you'll smell like instant rice, but your arm will feel great. 

When you use ice, never put the ice directly on your skin. Wrap ice in a washcloth or use an ice-pack from a fist aid kit. Alternate between heat and ice every 15 minutes until you feel relief. 

Topical cortisone

Some sports injury doctors will prescribe topical cortisone which you can apply yourself, in the comfort of your home.

However, if you go to the doctor, the fastest way to get rid of tennis elbow is a cortisone injection. Normally, the injection is given at the joint of the elbow and provides immediate relief. Your elbow will be sore for a day from the injection, but it's generally less painful than tennis elbow. Talk to your physical therapist, such as Conroy Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy, for more information.