What Is Tennis Elbow? Is it inflammation? Is it a torn tendon? Should you treat it like most other injuries?
It’s definitely an injury – A tendon injury to be precise – But the short answer is:
- No, it’s probably not inflamed,
- It’s probably not a big tear in your tendon,
- And you should definitely NOT treat it like most other injuries…
With the RICE protocol, for example…
Forget RICE – It’s Not That Kind Of Injury
R – I – C – E stands for Rest, Ice, Compression (often braces or supports in this case) and Elevation.
The RICE ‘protocol’ is usually recommended for treating sudden, traumatic injuries (for the first few days after the injury, anyway.)
But you can forget about RICE – even if you’ve read or been told to apply it to your elbow, because it’s usually not that kind of injury.
Chances are there’s no big tear in your tendon and despite all the talk about inflammation – your tendon probably isn’t inflamed either!
The point is that Tennis Elbow is usually not a sudden, ‘Acute’ Injury – like a cut, tear, sprain, strain or fracture, which you would use the RICE protocol for.
Rather, it’s a slow, gradual, chronic kind of injury. Technically, it’s usually chronic TendinOSIS rather than acute TendonITIS.
Why is this such an important distinction? Because the difference between how you treat these different kinds of injuries is night and day.
Tennis Elbow Injuries Usually Sneak Up On You
The big takeaway here is that the root of your injury was probably a gradual build-up of muscle tension and a gradual breakdown of your tendon that started long before you noticed any significant pain.
It’s that muscle tension and tendon damage that most needs to be treated – (But not with RICE)
Yes, at some point it may have suddenly started hurting like hell – Perhaps when your dog jerked the leash too hard, you hit a late backhand or you spent all day digging in the garden – or all weekend typing a paper.
But it would be a mistake to assume it’s a big tear – And that it’s all inflamed.
If you really think you’ve just suffered an acute injury (you’ll know because it will likely swell up on you) then go ahead and RICE it for a day or two…
Better yet, skip the ‘Compression’ and ‘Elevation’ and just Rest and Ice it.
(The ‘Compression’ and ‘Elevation’ parts are really for something like a sprained ankle; a classic Acute Injury, which usually has a lot of swelling.)
But, even then, you would only RICE it for the first three days or so.
RICE is never how you want to treat a chronic tendon injury.
In fact, if you treat a chronic injury, like most cases of Tennis Elbow, by resting it, icing it and wearing a brace, (not to mention taking anti-inflammatories and getting cortisone shots) it’s more likely to make your injury worse – than to help it heal.
Treat Your Tennis Elbow Yourself At Home
Learn how to treat and heal your chronic Tennis Elbow injury naturally, with a Tennis Elbow treatment program you can easily follow at home…
Tennis Elbow Classroom teaches you how to do your own therapy, stretches and exercises through a simple self-help video program.
All you need to do is follow the step-by-step video lessons to treat your own muscles and tendons, help speed your healing naturally, and break that vicious cycle of pain finally and forever.
No more inflammation-fighting pills, ice or shots! (Or miracle cures, magic-bullet affiliate offers or gimmicks either.)
I’m a Neuromuscular Therapist who’s been clinically treating Tennis Elbow with great success for over a decade…
And I’m standing by, ready and able to be your virtual tutor at:
Tennis Elbow Classroom