Ice or Heat for Tennis Elbow Swelling and Inflammation?

December 8, 2009 by  
Filed under tennis elbow

elbowice Ok, what’s the first thing that comes to mind when you pull or strain a muscle? Well, besides the obvious, ouch that hurts as you crumple over in pain…

You need to know the proper way to prevent further injury so the muscle can heal properly. I often get asked by my personal fitness training clients, should I use ice or heat on a torn or injured muscle.

And this goes for tennis elbow inflammation and swelling as well!

Hands down, always go with ice first!

When a muscle gets torn or strained, it almost immediately starts to swell and inflame. You need to get control of the swelling and the fastest way is to apply ice!

Here is a fail-proof method to make sure you are ready to act the next time you tear or strain a muscle…(Hint: This works quite well for tennis elbow ;)

Icing Tips for Tennis Elbow

1) Apply an ice pack directly on the outside of your elbow (after covering the area with a clean towel). Keep the ice on for 15 to 20 minutes per hour during the first few hours.

If you don’t have a proper ice pack available, you can use a small bag of frozen vegetables or a plastic bag filled with ice cubes.

2) Reduce the frequency of applying the ice packs to 15 to 20 minutes every 3 or 4 hours during the second day after the injury.

3) Ensure you are elevating your elbow above heart level to to help minimize inflammation.  The easiest way to do this is to prop your arm up with a pillow.

4) Make sure that the outside of your elbow is clean and dried off after the ice pack is removed.

5) Continue icing your arm everyday until the swelling has gone down.

If the pain and swelling has not significantly decreased by the third day, consult a doctor immediately, since the tear is probably more severe than you originally thought or you may even have a more serious injury, like a broken bone.

There you have it. Hands down the most effective way to decrease muscle strain inflammation and even tennis elbow swelling! No more excuses for a swollen muscle right!

For those who are suffering from nagging and stubborn tennis elbow pain, you can save a fortune on going back and forth to doctors, physio, elbow braces, drugs, cortisone shots or even elbow surgery.  In fact, all it really takes to cure tennis elbow are 5 simple steps at home without any special exercise equipment or gadgets while sitting in your comfy chair watching television!

tennis elbow swelling

** I Want Your Comments **

8 Responses to “Ice or Heat for Tennis Elbow Swelling and Inflammation?”

  1. mohammad on January 22nd, 2010 7:23 pm

    I work at seafood dept. of a grocery store so lifting shrimp or 2,3 pound fish and

    put up on the scale and also wrapping them makes my tennis elbow heart it’s

    past two months, swelling is gone. but 8 hrs of work makes really uncomfortable

    what’s the best food for tendons, any other recomandation to get rid of this problem ?

  2. Dianne on February 17th, 2010 6:18 am

    What makes a good ice or heat pack is to sew a couple of wash cloths together around the edges leaving a small opening. Stuff rice into the opening and finish sewing. This pack can be heated in the mikey for a few minutes or left in the freezer for cold. You are right about the ice being best. At first I used heat and it really did nothing for the pain. I have followed your exercises and my elbow pain is almost gone. I really want to thank you for your advise. I want to purchase your book as soon as I can afford it.

  3. Sundar on March 7th, 2010 8:15 am

    I have been suffering from Tennis Elbow for the last 6 months and have tried exercise and IRT, etc. While I got some relief, the pain did not go away. In the last 1 month, i tried putting an ice pack for 10-15 min 3-4 times a day or soon after playing badminton and the relief on the pain is quite dramatic. Infact after the ice pack treatment, I have been able to get back to playing badminton on weekends. This has really helped me greatly.

  4. Priya on July 4th, 2010 4:07 am

    I have taken a steroid injection a week back for tennis elbow. is it safe if i wash small little personal clothes.

  5. Ricardo Calzado Rodriguez on August 18th, 2010 5:55 pm

    My Trainer Recommends To Me To Apply 5 Minutes Of Hot and Then Change To cold 5 Minutes, Etc. Finishing in Cold
    But Since I Read Your Article I’m Only Going To Apply Cold

    Thank You Very Much For Your Tips

  6. Travers Villany R.N. on August 5th, 2011 10:11 pm

    1) R.I.C.E. 2) Lateralepiconolitys is actually Tenosis (John Hopkins) due to lack of blood circulation. Therefore Heat after2-3 weeks while raising the affected extremity above the heart helps very well. When pain subsides, the P.T.that you suggest works very well if done gradually. If pain does not subside within 3-4 months, P.R.P. has bees used as standard protocol in The finest orthro Hospital in NYC, (Hospital for Special Surgery. Therefore dramaticically increasing blood circulation 600x.

  7. Jeannetta Duttry on September 9th, 2011 7:35 pm

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  8. Ramesh on February 3rd, 2014 9:56 pm

    Very good articles. Thank you

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