Tennis Elbow. Is it curable?

badjelix

New User
I was diagnosed with mild tennis elbow (although when I play tennis it doesn't feel mild at all). I am already having medical help and I'm better know, but tried tennis and the pain came back. The thing is, I just want to know if there are success cases? Anyone of you had tennis elbow and was able to not feel pain again? Even if you do ice, massage, use a band however... I wouldn't mind to keep on doing those, I just want to be able to play tennis as I used to play since now
 

HouTex

Rookie
There are several threads on TE here. Search them and you’ll learn about numerous successes and some failures. It took me 20 months of no tennis and extensive therapy but mine finally healed. Search my numerous posts on this forum in several threads for the complete story. It’s too long to repost and I might miss something.
 

am1899

Hall of Fame
I had on again off again trouble with GE and TE for years. I’ve tried some of the obvious remedies - ice, heat, rest, equipment changes, OTC pain medicine, etc. In my case, it wasn’t until I bought a red flexbar and committed a few minutes every day to strengthening exercises, that the pain fully subsided.
 

socallefty

Legend
There’s another elbow thread where I posted recently.

You have to rest till the pain subsides and don’t do repetitive actions like tennis. You should ice often when it still hurts to reduce inflammation. After the pain starts to subside, get on a strengthening routine using a physical trainer or a tool like Flexbar. Do deep tissue massage above and below the injured area with a percussion massager or with the help of a trained therapist. Rest and a strengthening routine are probably the keys to a quicker recovery.

When you start tennis again, play only with soft strings like gut or multifilament for a few months preferably at tensions below 57 lbs. If you have a racquet with a strung stiffness RA above 66-67 or a vibration frequency spec above 140, you might want to change racquets also to a more flexible racquet.

When you are well enough to experiment with poly or poly hybrids again in the future, string well below 50 lbs and cut them out after 12-15 hours if they don’t break before that. Many elbow injuries are caused these days by playing with poly strings too long after they go dead and start feeling ‘harsh’. Don‘t wait till the control gets erratic due to low tension before you replace them - cut them out as soon as they don’t feel comfortable anymore.
 

ollinger

G.O.A.T.
The information above is useful but neglects the fact that there are many causes of tennis elbow other than tennis. Any activity that involves gripping with your elbow bent can cause tennis elbow. The most severe case I personally ever had followed a bicycle ride, as I was gripping the handle bars with my elbow bent for several hours. (Limiting activity and doing some stretching and massage resolved this episode in a few months). People who write a great deal, especially with a relatively thin pen, are often seen in orthopedics offices with tennis elbow.
 

Brand77

Rookie
My TE lasted about 18 months in total. Only stopped playing for 2 weeks because of extreme pain. Then I bought a "vertical" mouse because I work behind a computer all day, started using the flexbar and massaging the tendons.
Bought a more armfriendly racket, installed a Wilson shock shield grip and added some more lead to the handle. Strung with a multi of course. Then started playing with a TE brace and only training and light friendly hitting. That way I could focus on technique and clean hitting.

Slowly but steadily it improved until it plateaued at one point. After 2 months I had my racket strung with a full bed of gut and in 2-3 weeks the final sting disappeared.

Now I only get the occasional irritated feeling after hardhitting dead, heavy balls. So I am a firm believer in the theory that people should play with heavy rackets instead of those ultralight balsasticks. When you hit an object you want the biggest hammer you can wield :cool:
 

badjelix

New User
My TE lasted about 18 months in total. Only stopped playing for 2 weeks because of extreme pain. Then I bought a "vertical" mouse because I work behind a computer all day, started using the flexbar and massaging the tendons.
Bought a more armfriendly racket, installed a Wilson shock shield grip and added some more lead to the handle. Strung with a multi of course. Then started playing with a TE brace and only training and light friendly hitting. That way I could focus on technique and clean hitting.

Slowly but steadily it improved until it plateaued at one point. After 2 months I had my racket strung with a full bed of gut and in 2-3 weeks the final sting disappeared.

Now I only get the occasional irritated feeling after hardhitting dead, heavy balls. So I am a firm believer in the theory that people should play with heavy rackets instead of those ultralight balsasticks. When you hit an object you want the biggest hammer you can wield :cool:
thank you! trying to do all of that except for the part of the vertical mouse ahah
 

PKorda

Semi-Pro
I had on again off again trouble with GE and TE for years. I’ve tried some of the obvious remedies - ice, heat, rest, equipment changes, OTC pain medicine, etc. In my case, it wasn’t until I bought a red flexbar and committed a few minutes every day to strengthening exercises, that the pain fully subsided.
Was gonna post the same thing, I would start doing this right away. If your case is fairly mild I'd get the green one although you could also start with red and move to green if you don't mind buying two (can get on amazon for like 20 bucks). I haven't had TE in a few years, I continue to do the exercises pretty regularly just to keep tendons strong.
 
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happyandbob

Hall of Fame
from another thread

I had terrible tennis elbow a few years back. I couldn't lift a coffee cup for months without excrutiating pain. The ortho told me to take 6 months off from tennis, and prescribed 2x weekly physical therapy. It helped me and got me back to playing, pain-free.

The therapist said there are two keys for recovering from tendonosis (the underlying cause of TE).

1) Breaking up the adhesions and scar tissue in the tendon
2) Strengthening the muscles around the tendon so they can take some of the load off your forearm tendon.

Re 1: the therapist would use a metal tool called a Graston tool and literally grind out from that point on your elbow down the tendon until about 60% down your forearm. It was painful and it felt like they were dragging that tool through pebbles. You could literally feel it grinding out scar tissue. Over the course of a couple of months, it got smoother and smoother and less painful. Today, I replicate on my arm once a week using this https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00IWJDYP4. You can't buy those Graston tools, but if you could they cost $1000. That jade stone with a little vaseline and it keeps my tendon scar tissue free.

Re 2: this bar https://www.amazon.com/dp/B000KGOMBC and this exercise called the Tyler twist

The exercise in the video is clinically proven to work for tennis elbow -- https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2971639

I do this combo at least 1x a week and it keeps me TE free.
 

Yamin

Professional
If my cure you mean improve greatly of course. Tyler twist, forearm twist, triceps and regular lifting are what you need. Make sure you're not using dead poly obviously, and consider switching to a soft one or a multi. Softer racket will help as well.

I'm stringing 10 lbs higher and have less pain than I did 2-3 months ago given the same setup. You actually have to put in the work though and not think "wow twisting some rubber great".
 

Dartagnan64

G.O.A.T.
I've successfully fended off TE with some of the recommendations here: Softer gear set up, Flexbar exercises, bracing when playing, adjusting technique.

Recently had a slight relapse due to changing my serve motion and over-practicing, but getting back to exercises, massage and less practice has settled it back down.

TE is frequently self limited no matter what treatment you try, but it can take months. Not much evidence to support doing nothing vs. keeping active and doing physio. So I kept active and never took a break from tennis. If I can heal and never take a break from tennis, I'm sure others can too. But everyone's cure will likely be different.
 

movdqa

Talk Tennis Guru
Mine has been cured but I have permanent side-effects. I have looked into fixing the side-effects but it would involve surgery and there's no guarantee that it would return to 100%.
 

graycrait

Hall of Fame
This is my tennis elbow cure kit. Hard massage of the forearm and upper arm with the crazy looking blue/green/black gadget, hard massage above and below point of pain with the small roller ball, then wrap the electronic massager in a dry wash cloth and put that on your point of pain to "wiggle" the blood through those tiny capillaries. Do this routine 3 or 4 times/day. Use the dumbbell on a string with the large dowel as much as you can stand it. Also curls and reverse curls with dumbbell. If you can play then play tennis with a POG until you are well. I gave away my Flexbar set.

 
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max

Legend
I used two therabands. Even had physical therapy. Case lasted about three years. Eventually I doubled the number of exercises the therapist recommended and began to see a glimmer of improvement. Encouraged I continued for a couple more weeks and it was shook.
 

OlgaOM

Rookie
Rest is the key. Mine got cured by itself after a long break in tennis during lockdown... before it I was doing exercises, bands, stretching, braces (everything mentioned here and other places), nothing worked to completely get rid of the pain.
 

pronostix

New User
Yes of course it is

Look up 'myofascial trigger points' + 'tennis elbow' (or + 'elbow pain')

Thank me later

ie:
MTPs play a major role in the majority of chronic pain issues and their importance is sadly stilll widely underestimated by most medical professionnals

another decent website: https://www.painscience.com/articles/tennis-elbow.php
 
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Dartagnan64

G.O.A.T.
Yes of course it is

Look up 'myofascial trigger points' + 'tennis elbow' (or + 'elbow pain')

Thank me later

ie:
MTPs play a major role in the majority of chronic pain issues and their importance is sadly stilll widely underestimated by most medical professionnals

another decent website: https://www.painscience.com/articles/tennis-elbow.php
Interesting all my trigger points with TE/GE are in the forearm. My triceps and serratus are supple as a baby's bottom.

But I agree that massaging those points in the affected muscles is really helpful. I don't need all of Graycrait's gadgets though. Just nimble fingers.
 
Yes, you will get better! I saw many players who recovered from tennis elbow, including myself. Actually, my tennis improved more than ever during the recovery process. I overhauled my techniques completely using elbow pain as an indication that I was swinging wrong. For all shots (forehand/backhand ground strokes and volleys, and serve), I switched to use bigger muscles and gravity.

Get well soon!
 

ByeByePoly

G.O.A.T.
@badjelix ... all TE is not equal ... but "curable" in my case didn't mean back to 100%. It meant zero pain with: 1) dropping poly 2) change in racquet 3) routine roller bar massage of forearm (I also did tricep ... but I think my TE was unique).

I rollerbar massaged forearm every time before leaving house for tennis. Big believer in the flexbar ... I used the green one healing/rehab ... but got to a point roller massage by itself kept all elbow "warnings" away.

My guess is the threshold for "healing" is different for everyone. With new racquet (Volkl V1 Pro) and multi (Velocity 16g) I never once felt an elbow twinge, even playing a lot. String with poly again (tried a couple of times) ... I would feel elbow twinges within 2-3 hours of hitting ... often 2nd hit which to me rings of "accumulated" stress on forearm.
 

hochiglenn

New User
from another thread

I had terrible tennis elbow a few years back. I couldn't lift a coffee cup for months without excrutiating pain. The ortho told me to take 6 months off from tennis, and prescribed 2x weekly physical therapy. It helped me and got me back to playing, pain-free.

The therapist said there are two keys for recovering from tendonosis (the underlying cause of TE).

1) Breaking up the adhesions and scar tissue in the tendon
2) Strengthening the muscles around the tendon so they can take some of the load off your forearm tendon.

Re 1: the therapist would use a metal tool called a Graston tool and literally grind out from that point on your elbow down the tendon until about 60% down your forearm. It was painful and it felt like they were dragging that tool through pebbles. You could literally feel it grinding out scar tissue. Over the course of a couple of months, it got smoother and smoother and less painful. Today, I replicate on my arm once a week using this https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00IWJDYP4. You can't buy those Graston tools, but if you could they cost $1000. That jade stone with a little vaseline and it keeps my tendon scar tissue free.

Re 2: this bar https://www.amazon.com/dp/B000KGOMBC and this exercise called the Tyler twist

The exercise in the video is clinically proven to work for tennis elbow -- https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2971639

I do this combo at least 1x a week and it keeps me TE free.
This! I have used a red flex bar for TE with success however I could not get rid of my Golfers elbow and suffered with it for over a year. I even quit playing for 3 months and the pain was still there when I went to play again. The ONLY thing that helped was an ASTYM Therapist who used the modified Graston type tools. I think after 8 visits with some dry needling in there, it went away. Google it and look for therapist in your area. Now, I use an old iPod and some coconut oil when I feel a little discomfort. I simulate what the therapist did and it doesn't progress. Oh, and I definitely changed strings from Poly to hybrid at a low tension in a little bit more flexible frame. Also try to be smoother in my strokes. Slow it down a little bit.
 

atatu

Legend
I just got over TE recently. I went to an acupuncturist and that helped a lot. The key is getting blood to flow into the area, which promotes healing. Therefore I suggest heat every day not ice. I put a heating pad on my arm when I watch TV and I ways make sure to get some concentrated hot water on my arm when in the shower. I use the flexbar as well but honestly I think just doing curls and reverse curls is just as effective along with some good old fashioned grip strengthening. The best part about my visits with the acupuncturist was he turned me onto "scraping" or Gua Sha which I now swear by. You can buy a good scraping tool on amazon pretty cheap. Edit: forgot to say I switched from Tour Bite to Technifibre Triax and that helped as well.
 
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ByeByePoly

G.O.A.T.
I just got over TE recently. I went to an acupuncturist and that helped a lot. The key is getting blood to flow into the area, which promotes healing. Therefore I suggest heat every day not ice. I put a heating pad on my arm when I watch TV and I ways make sure to get some concentrated hot water on my arm when in the shower. I use the flexbar as well but honestly I think just doing curls and reverse curls is just as effective along with some good old fashioned grip strengthening. The best part about my visits with the acupuncturist was he turned me onto "scraping" or Gua Sha which I now swear by. You can buy a good scraping tool on amazon pretty cheap.
Supposedly tendon injury is not typical injury ... low blood flow to begin with. Lot’s of doubt about ice and heat ... more about proper tendon fiber (name for it ... can’t remember) healing (why they think eccentric flexbar exercise works) . Just fyi on what I read. I quit icing pretty early into injury ... and never used heat.

Tennis elbow SUCKS!!!
 

Fintft

Legend
My TE lasted about 18 months in total. Only stopped playing for 2 weeks because of extreme pain. Then I bought a "vertical" mouse because I work behind a computer all day, started using the flexbar and massaging the tendons.
Bought a more armfriendly racket, installed a Wilson shock shield grip and added some more lead to the handle. Strung with a multi of course. Then started playing with a TE brace and only training and light friendly hitting. That way I could focus on technique and clean hitting.

Slowly but steadily it improved until it plateaued at one point. After 2 months I had my racket strung with a full bed of gut and in 2-3 weeks the final sting disappeared.

Now I only get the occasional irritated feeling after hardhitting dead, heavy balls. So I am a firm believer in the theory that people should play with heavy rackets instead of those ultralight balsasticks. When you hit an object you want the biggest hammer you can wield :cool:
Using the mouse left handed for many years, other than that I'm doing what you are doing, after only mild bouts of TE.
 

Robbnc

Rookie
Man it’s really hard to believe that after all these years folks still don’t know how to cure tennis elbow. It must have been 12 years ago I posted a write up on my PRP treatment for tennis elbow. I don’t know if that can still be found but to sum it up...months of tennis elbow cured in 3 or 4 weeks. And I’ve never had it since. PRP is much more widely available now and if you can afforded it stem cells work even better. The post was PRP for TE. It’s still there.
 
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pats300zx1

New User
Man it’s really hard to believe that after all these years folks still don’t know how to cure tennis elbow. It must have been 12 years ago I posted a write up on my PRP treatment for tennis elbow. I don’t know if that can still be found but to sum it up...months of tennis elbow cured in 3 or 4 weeks. And I’ve never had it since. PRP is much more widely available now and if you can afforded it stem cells work even better. The post was PRP for TE. It’s still there.
Do you have a link to it? I tried finding it but had some trouble.
 

Soul

Semi-Pro
I had bad tennis elbow for awhile. Now I don't have that pain.

What I did to resolve my issue was to change how I hit. I make it a point to not move my wrist as much when serving and hitting. For a short while I went to a sports doctor were he used what was likely a Tens unit. It helped some. lastly I made a diet change, as some foods I know make me feel stiff and sore for some reason. Oh, I changed tennis racquets also, one that was more tennis elbow friendly.
 

Dartagnan64

G.O.A.T.
Man it’s really hard to believe that after all these years folks still don’t know how to cure tennis elbow. It must have been 12 years ago I posted a write up on my PRP treatment for tennis elbow. I don’t know if that can still be found but to sum it up...months of tennis elbow cured in 3 or 4 weeks. And I’ve never had it since. PRP is much more widely available now and if you can afforded it stem cells work even better. The post was PRP for TE. It’s still there.
To say it's "the" cure is a little bit over the top. It's a treatment that may or may not work and in phase 3 trials it shows benefit (but nowhere near 100% cure rate). More like 70% cure rate at 6 months (compared to 50% cure rate for placebo). Absolute boost of 20% more people cured in 6 months compared to controls which is good but that boost does come with a higher cost than less invasive measures that still can work.
 

ByeByePoly

G.O.A.T.
To say it's "the" cure is a little bit over the top. It's a treatment that may or may not work and in phase 3 trials it shows benefit (but nowhere near 100% cure rate). More like 70% cure rate at 6 months (compared to 50% cure rate for placebo). Absolute boost of 20% more people cured in 6 months compared to controls which is good but that boost does come with a higher cost than less invasive measures that still can work.
Charge Rob $ for such nonsense. :-D
 

cortado

Professional
from another thread

I had terrible tennis elbow a few years back. I couldn't lift a coffee cup for months without excrutiating pain. The ortho told me to take 6 months off from tennis, and prescribed 2x weekly physical therapy. It helped me and got me back to playing, pain-free.

The therapist said there are two keys for recovering from tendonosis (the underlying cause of TE).

1) Breaking up the adhesions and scar tissue in the tendon
2) Strengthening the muscles around the tendon so they can take some of the load off your forearm tendon.

Re 1: the therapist would use a metal tool called a Graston tool and literally grind out from that point on your elbow down the tendon until about 60% down your forearm. It was painful and it felt like they were dragging that tool through pebbles. You could literally feel it grinding out scar tissue. Over the course of a couple of months, it got smoother and smoother and less painful. Today, I replicate on my arm once a week using this https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00IWJDYP4. You can't buy those Graston tools, but if you could they cost $1000. That jade stone with a little vaseline and it keeps my tendon scar tissue free.

Re 2: this bar https://www.amazon.com/dp/B000KGOMBC and this exercise called the Tyler twist

The exercise in the video is clinically proven to work for tennis elbow -- https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2971639

I do this combo at least 1x a week and it keeps me TE free.
Graston technique sounds like snake-oil. Only papers I can find on pubmed are by chiropractors (witch-doctors).
 

happyandbob

Hall of Fame
Graston technique sounds like snake-oil. Only papers I can find on pubmed are by chiropractors (witch-doctors).
maybe. Though deep tissue manipulation to break up scar tissue is pretty well established at this point. Graston or roller or massage therapy, they are all trying to do the same thing.

my point is not trying to shill for graston, it’s that you have to break up those adhesions.
 

cortado

Professional
maybe. Though deep tissue manipulation to break up scar tissue is pretty well established at this point. Graston or roller or massage therapy, they are all trying to do the same thing.

my point is not trying to shill for graston, it’s that you have to break up those adhesions.
Are there adhesions to be broken up?
If there are, why doesn't the action of playing tennis do that? Eg repetitive strenuous contraction and elongation of the big muscles that are pulling on the tendon?
When we break up the scar tissue and adhesions, why doesn't the tendon rip apart? Normally when we break things down, they break apart.
 

Robbnc

Rookie
Charge Rob $ for such nonsense. :-D
To say it's "the" cure is a little bit over the top. It's a treatment that may or may not work and in phase 3 trials it shows benefit (but nowhere near 100% cure rate). More like 70% cure rate at 6 months (compared to 50% cure rate for placebo). Absolute boost of 20% more people cured in 6 months compared to controls which is good but that boost does come with a higher cost than less invasive measures that still can work.
I’m not a doctor and I don’t do medical studies. All I can do is report my personal experience. So I stand by my statement. FOR ME PRP WAS A CURE.
 

Robbnc

Rookie
For the record I tried Gastron before the PRP. Totally worthless! I felt like I had been to “Theodoric of York Medieval Butcher/Doctor”.
 

ByeByePoly

G.O.A.T.
I’m not a doctor and I don’t do medical studies. All I can do is report my personal experience. So I stand by my statement. FOR ME PRP WAS A CURE.
Sorry ... you just got included in my trash talk to doc. TE sucks ... thank goodness it worked for you. I read a lot, and posted a lot here. Bottom line is TE isn’t one of those things science, medicine, PT understands 100%. A lot of anecdotal... and always the unknown if one was about to heal without the action taken. One thing is for sure ... PRP (assuming priced reasonable) is the one one would hope would work 100% of the time. 8-B (y)
 

Dartagnan64

G.O.A.T.
I’m not a doctor and I don’t do medical studies. All I can do is report my personal experience. So I stand by my statement. FOR ME PRP WAS A CURE.
yes but you kind of presented it as “The Cure” as if every other piece of advice was rubbish.
Better to say that it was an effective treatment that worked for you.

the only true 100% cure for tennis elbow is the same as for global thermonuclear war. Not to play.
 

ByeByePoly

G.O.A.T.
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