Sharp pain and inflammation in your elbow can be a sign of tennis elbow. Named for the frequency with which this type of injury affects tennis players, tennis elbow is a strain injury in the outer tendon of the elbow. Although roughly half of all tennis players suffer from tennis elbow at some point, the injury is common among all non-tennis players, as well. Only 5 percent of those with tennis elbow at any given time are tennis players. Depending on the severity of the injury and how you try to get rid of it, tennis elbow can last anywhere from three weeks to several years.
Stop using your arm, moving it as little as possible until the pain completely recedes. Avoid lifting objects whenever possible. Most chronic tennis elbow injuries occur when individuals try to continue working through the pain or do not let the injury fully heal. With proper care, tennis elbow usually disappears after a few weeks.
Ice your elbow at 15 minute intervals three to six times each day. This helps reduce swelling and inflammation. Keeping the swelling down accelerates the healing process.
Wear a supportive brace that applies some compression to your arm's muscles and tendons. The brace should have an elbow joint hole to help keep the brace stable as you move your arm.
Stretch your wrist to its full range, performing the stretch with an empty hand and holding a small cup. Bend your wrist as far back as you can, providing slight pressure with your other hand. Then bend your wrist forward so that your palm moves towards your inner arm. Then repeat this step while holding a small cup in the hand being stretched.
Talk to your doctor about potential therapy or other treatments, which can include physical therapy, electrotherapy, ultrasound or laser treatment to heal your tennis elbow.
Take over-the-counter pain relievers, following the manufacturer's directions, or your doctor's recommendations.