Tennis Elbow Therapy

Cindy Glaenzer, a physical therapist, describes the types of tennis elbow and treatments to help relieve pain.


What is tennis elbow?

Tennis elbow's real name is lateral epicondylitis or tendonosis. If you just played golf or tennis or painted or gardened for an entire weekend and the outside of your elbow is hurting like crazy, that's a tendonitis. If it's been going on for six months to a year, then it's a tendinopathy or tendonosis, so it's not an acute injury.

What are some of the initial treatments for tennis elbow?

For an acute injury, we're going to do ice and rest that area to control the swelling. For a tendinopathy, we're trying to get things realigned better. We will teach you better techniques on lifting and using your racket, if it's a racket sport. Or if you're a construction person or a hobby/weekend repair person using a hammer, we will teach you ways that you can quit injuring and re-injuring that same area.

What are some of the therapies you use for tennis elbow?

We definitely do some soft tissue stretching and teach them techniques to stretch that area out. Then we can start with eccentric strengthening, which is where you do the strengthening on the opposite direction that you would normally think of strengthening. We build these up too so that they can regain strength after they get rid of the pain.