Most of the pain and irritation of elbow tendonitis is felt close to the elbow area at the end of the tendon. This pain is often felt during or after activity (playing tennis) but may be felt constantly throughout the day as the condition worsens. The main cause of elbow tendonitis is overuse of the tendon during work or physical activity. Tennis players, golfers and factory workers tend to suffer from elbow tendonitis because of the repetitive actions that put stress on the tendon.
Other common causes of elbow tendonitis are:
- Sudden increase in the intensity of exercise, movement or activity
- Rapid increase in the frequency or training or exercise
- Repetitive movement of the elbow over a prolonged period
- Poor conditioning of the elbow (in other words, training above the limitations of your body)
- Old age (the tendon becomes brittle and prone to injury)
- As a result of injury
- Genetic abnormalities (very rare)
There are several treatments for elbow tendonitis.
- R.I.C.E.: No, I’m not saying eat a lot of rice. I’m saying Rest, ice, compression and Elevation. Follow these steps until you’re pain free and feel ready to return to your work or physical activities. You can also eat a lot of rice, but it will not help your body heal quicker.
- Warm up/Stretch: Do not just jump back into a strenuous activity. Do a light warm-up or stretching routine and ease into your activity. Also, start slow and work your way back up to the level of activity you were doing before the tendonitis.
- Increase strength: Apply light resistance and strengthening exercises to regain strength in the affected arm. It is recommended you see a physical therapist for this step, as a PT can evaluate what exercises you’re capable of completing and can show you how to perform them safely.
As a way to help prevent elbow tendonitis, it’s important to complete a cool down routine after activity. This will increase your flexibility, which reduces the likelihood of you developing tendonitis.