What is Tennis Elbow? Is it inflammation? Is it a torn tendon? Should you treat it the way most other injuries are treated?
Tennis Elbow is 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,
- Don’t use the R.I.C.E. protocol, for example …
Forget The RICE – It’s Not That Kind Of Injury
R – I – C – E stands for Rest, Ice, Compression (often Braces/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 been told to apply it to your elbow, because Tennis Elbow is 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.
Why is this such an important distinction? Because the difference between an acute injury and a chronic injury is night and day.
It’s More Like Arteriosclerosis (Chronic Problem) Than A Heart Attack (Acute Crisis!)
So, to try and make it clear and simple, an acute injury is like a heart attack – and a chronic, degenerative injury is more like hardening of the arteries.
The first, (a heart attack) is obviously a sudden, acute crisis… The second, (hardening of the arteries) is a slow, gradual degenerative condition.
So, the point is that Tennis Elbow is rarely an acute injury crisis, like a heart attack.
Tennis Elbow is usually more like “hardening of the arteries” a chronic, degenerative condition that creeps up on you gradually.
Technically, Tennis Elbow is usually TendinOSIS – NOT TendonITIS (Which I cover in the next video.)
How Big Pain Flare-Ups Can Fool You
Now, I understand, you may have had a big flare-up at some point! When your pain either appeared suddenly – Or it suddenly got a lot worse
Perhaps after a late backhand, a low drive, throwing the ball to your dog with that “chuck it” thing, or maybe spending too many hours gripping a power tool or even a mouse…
But don’t assume, just because your pain appeared suddenly – or it suddenly got a lot worse – that it means you have an acute injury, like a big tear in your tendon.
Yes, it’s possible, and the more violent the motion or activity – the more this increases the possibility of a tear, (especially if you can SEE a significant amount of swelling around the area.)
Otherwise, there’s no reason to assume it’s an acute injury.
Tennis Elbow Almost Always Starts Out Gradually, Quietly And Sneaks Up On You
The thing to keep in mind 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.
And at some point it 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.
And 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) 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.
Want to learn more about how to treat it the right way and actually help it heal?…
Learn To Treat And Heal Your Own Golfer’s And Tennis Elbow Right Here:
I’ll be your personal tutor guiding you through easy-to-follow lessons, where you’ll get the therapy techniques, key stretches and essential exercises you need to treat and recover from your injury at home.
Just watch the videos, follow along and start putting an end to your elbow pain today.
Learn more, and get started here: Tennis Elbow Self-Help Program