This is a first-hand description of an athlete that suffered tennis elbow due to an injury during their sport.
The injury likely includes an actual injury event and chronic overuse. This is a very common scenario when diagnosing tennis elbow.
Below, we will outline how to determine the severity of tennis elbow, what you can do to treat tennis elbow, and provide some opinions on when you should seek a physician for assistance in treating and recovering from tennis elbow or a similar elbow injury
How did you hurt your elbow?
I was practicing my sport and had a quick movement that caused my hand to turn outwards and my elbow to turn inwards with my arm bent at a 90-degree angle.
This experience tweaked an already sore and irritated part of my elbow joint.
I would say that the injury exacerbated a preexisting chronic issue that was due to overuse.
How did you find out it was tennis elbow?
I had actually previously seen an orthopedic doctor and asked about the elbow. He said it was likely that I had a mild case of chronic tennis elbow.
What does tennis elbow feel like?
Tennis elbow has a mix of dull and sharp pains and aches. Quick twisting motions can cause sharp pain on the inner portion of the elbow while a prolonged lack of movement can lead to a dull ache in a similar location on the backside of the elbow.
How did your tennis elbow feel after a few weeks?
When tennis elbow is chronic or severe, it responds very slowly to healing and treatment.
My elbow was almost worse after one week of healing than it was immediately following my injury.
It was slightly better in two weeks but was not significantly improved until months after the injury.
Do icing and elevation help tennis elbow?
Yes. To a small degree.
Anytime you have swelling, ice and elevation can help your body reduce inflammation and excess fluid which generally improves recovery and sensitivity to pain.
Typically, unless there is a more serious injury involved, there is not a significant amount of swelling from tennis elbow.
Can braces help with tennis elbow?
While there are certainly a lot of them out there, I did not find many that offered much help.
I’ve heard others say that had success with the ones that offer compression over some of the muscles in the forearm, but I found these to weaken my arm and cause the dull aches of tennis elbow to be much worse.
When I tried to compete in my sport with the brace, my hands would go numb and my arm would usually fill with blood.
When I loosened braces enough to where they were comfortable, I felt that I lost any benefit from having them on to begin with.
How did you treat tennis elbow?
I had to stop my sport for a whole month.
The injury is largely a result of overuse that is unavoidable in my sport. My elbow was able to be injured because of a lack of recovery that I gave it during my normal routine.
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I started doing the traditional rehab exercises and used a Theraband to strengthen the anterior muscles that are often weak when you have a tennis elbow injury. The Theraband came highly recommended by my athletic trainer.
How long did it take to recover from tennis elbow?
I was able to return to my sport successfully after 1 month.
My elbow still had pain and was not what I would have considered 100% at that time.
I would say complete recovery took nearly 6 months.
The rehab and treatment protocol helped me ensure that I kept progressing even though I continued my sport.
I had to learn to back off of it when it was starting to become sore.
If you suspect tennis elbow, when should you see a doctor?
Below, you can see the general description of tennis elbow and where the pain is located in the arm.
If the pain is not intense and is consistent with what you are reading, then an orthopedic doctor might not be able to provide a ton of help.
Surgery is typically not needed.
Sometimes, stem cells can be used to speed up recovery.
Tennis elbow occurs when tendons in your elbow are overloaded, usually by repetitive motions of the wrist and arm. Pain can also spread into your forearm and wrist.
What else should be considered with tennis elbow?
It is not a fun injury to have. It takes a long time to recover and usually develops over a long period over time.
It is typically better to treat tennis elbow before a major injury occurs.
If pain is extremely pronounced or function is completely lost, see an orthopedic doctor quickly; as it is possible that you may have a more serious injury.
You should always consult a physician when making healthcare decisions.
Thoughts, questions? Leave them below.
Jena is considered one of the accomplished female grapplers of all-time. She is one of only 5 American females to win an IBJJF World Title at black belt and is a multi-time ADCC, IBJJF, and Abu Dhabi World Pro medalist and qualifier. Jena is a former athletic trainer as well and currently coaches and trains female athletes at Alliance San Diego in San Diego, California.