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Tennis Elbow

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:

Tennis elbow is inflammation of the tendons in your elbow. Tendons are strong tissues that connect muscle to bone.

DISCHARGE INSTRUCTIONS:

Return to the emergency department if:

  • You suddenly have no feeling in your arm, hand, or fingers.
  • You suddenly cannot move your arm, wrist, hand, or fingers.

Contact your healthcare provider if:

  • You have a fever.
  • You have more pain or weakness in your arm, wrist, hand, or fingers.
  • You have new numbness or tingling in your arm, hand, or fingers.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.

Medicines:

  • Acetaminophen decreases pain and fever. It is available without a doctor's order. Ask how much to take and how often to take it. Follow directions. Read the labels of all other medicines you are using to see if they also contain acetaminophen, or ask your doctor or pharmacist. Acetaminophen can cause liver damage if not taken correctly. Do not use more than 4 grams (4,000 milligrams) total of acetaminophen in one day.
  • NSAIDs , such as ibuprofen, help decrease swelling, pain, and fever. This medicine is available with or without a doctor's order. NSAIDs can cause stomach bleeding or kidney problems in certain people. If you take blood thinner medicine, always ask your healthcare provider if NSAIDs are safe for you. Always read the medicine label and follow directions.
  • Take your medicine as directed. Contact your healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him or her if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.

Physical therapy:

A physical therapist teaches you exercises to help improve movement and strength, and to decrease pain.

Self-care:

  • Wear your support device as directed. Devices, such as an arm strap, brace, or splint, help limit your arm movement. They also decrease pain and help prevent more damage to your tendon. Ask your healthcare provider how to care for your arm while you wear a brace or splint.
  • Rest your injured arm and avoid activities that cause pain. This will help your tendons heal.
  • Apply ice on your elbow for 15 to 20 minutes every hour or as directed. Use an ice pack, or put crushed ice in a plastic bag. Cover it with a towel before you apply it to your skin. Ice helps prevent tissue damage and decreases swelling and pain.
  • Elevate your elbow above the level of your heart as often as you can. This will help decrease swelling and pain. Prop your elbow on pillows or blankets to keep it elevated comfortably.

Follow up with your healthcare provider as directed:

Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

© 2017 Truven Health Analytics Inc. Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or Truven Health Analytics.

The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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