Despite popular belief, tennis elbow does not only occur from playing tennis. Tennis elbow occurs when the tendon and the soft muscle tissue in the elbow are damaged. How this happens is repetitive twisting motion using the elbow. There are other conditions that are commonly mistaken for tennis elbow such as golfer's elbow and bursitis, because the pain is similar, as well as the same general location of the injury.
Some of the symptoms of tennis elbow are a constant and or recurring pain in the elbow shooting down to the wrist. You may have difficulty lifting larger objects as well as smaller objects. It can also be difficult to extend the arm because of the tears in the tendon. This pain can last for a month or longer, depending on the severity of the condition.
You can start treating tennis elbow at home immediately. Start by applying ice for 15 - 20 minutes every hour for the first three days. Try taking an over-the-counter anti-inflammatory such as ibuprofen for the swelling, and Acetaminophen for the pain.
Adequate rest is very important to the treatment of tennis elbow. If you can avoid irritating it for a week, do so. If you cannot avoid using it, make sure to warm the muscles of your arm up by stretching. (See below)
Preventing tennis elbow may be even simpler then treating it. You can do this by strengthening the muscles and the tendons in the elbow by exercising it.
Stretch your muscles before using them excessively by extending your arm out in front of your palm facing out. With your other hand hold your fingers and gently pull them back towards your body do this a few times to each arm. This same method can be used when rehabbing the tendon.
Strengthen the muscles using a 1- 2 pound weight. Grip it tight with your hand palm down using your wrist to lift the weight. Do this about 15 - 20 times. This exercise can also be used when rehabbing the muscle.
If these methods do not work, and you condition stays the same or worsens, you may have a more serious case of tennis elbow and should see your doctor. Some cases do require more significant medical treatment like a steroid injection to reduce the swelling, and the joint rehabbed in a professional manner. In some more serious (but rare) cases, surgery to repair the torn tendon may be necessary.