Epicondylitis is a term describing inflammation of the tendons of your forearm that connect to the sides (epicondyles) of your elbow. If the muscles of your forearm that bring your hand up and back (the extensor muscles) are inflamed, it is called lateral epicondylitis because these muscles attach to the outer or lateral part of your elbow. This is also called Tennis Elbow. If the muscles of your forearm that bend your hand down (the flexor muscles) are inflamed, it is called medial epicondylitis because these muscles attach to the inner or medial part of your elbow. This inflammation, no matter where it is, involves increased amounts of fluid and congestion within the tendon sheaths near your elbow. Your elbow, wrist, or arm may be very painful, even to touch. Also, you may have difficulty with your grip or strength in your hand or forearm.
What You Can Do
- The first thing to try is chiropractic adjustments of your neck, upper back, shoulder, elbow, and wrist.
- At the same time you need to try alternating cold and hot water treatments. A double sided sink is very helpful for this. Fill one side of the sink with cold water and the other side with hot water (not so hot that it would burn you). Place a pillow or cushion against the side of the sink so you can comfortably lean into it.
Lower your sore forearm into the cold water first so that the water is about half way up your arm. Slowly and gently move your hand, wrist, and fingers in all directions while your forearm is immersed for 5 minutes. Immediately switch to the hot water and repeat the movements for another 5 minutes. Finish with a final 5 minutes in the cold side. Do this at least once a day for 3 days in a row.
- Any time you have to use your hand for gripping and turning things, use a brace for your forearm that fits snugly around the upper part of your forearm close to your elbow. We use and sell this type of brace that is called a Tennis Elbow support.
- If none of the above work enough, you will need supervised deep tissue massage therapy done by a therapist trained in stripping and clearing congested, inflamed tendons. This can be painful but, if done properly, is very effective.