How to Identify and Treat Elbow Tendonitis

Tendonitis in the elbow is an inflammation that occurs in the tendons of the elbow, which causes pain when performing movements with the arm and a hypersensitivity to touching the elbow region. This injury is usually caused by repetitive and forced tensions or movements of the wrist during excessive flexion or extension when playing sports.

Excessive use of the muscles, tendons and ligaments of the elbow causes microscopic tears and local inflammation. When the affected site is one of the lateral extremities of the elbow, the lesion is called epicondylitis and when the pain is located more in the middle of the elbow, it is called elbow tendonitis, although the only difference is the affected site.

This type of tendonitis is common in racquet sports athletes, especially when using inappropriate techniques. Another cause is overuse of the elbow muscles in repetitive work, such as in industry or typing.

Symptoms of Elbow Tendonitis

Symptoms of elbow tendonitis include:

  • Pain in the elbow region;
  • Difficulties to perform movements with the affected arm;
  • Hypersensitivity to touch;
  • There may be a tingling and burning sensation.

The diagnosis of this tendonitis can be made by the orthopedist or by the physiotherapist through specific tests performed in the office, but to make sure that the tendon is injured, complementary exams can be performed, such as radiography or MRI.

Elbow Tendonitis Treatment

Treatment is usually done through a combination of medications and physical therapy. The drugs used are anti-inflammatory and muscle relaxants, which control inflammation and ameliorate symptoms.

Daily ice packs are important allies in this treatment and can be a good option to relieve pain, and should be used for 20 minutes, 3 to 4 times a day. In some cases, immobilization of the elbow may be necessary for the tendon to heal.

During the treatment it is necessary to reduce the pace of physical activities and, to strengthen the muscles and ligaments, some physiotherapy sessions are recommended. Find out more details of the treatment here.

See how food and physical therapy complement each other in the treatment of tendonitis: