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Golfer’s and Tennis Elbow Treatment Options

Golfer’s elbow and tennis elbow are two common injuries that affect athletes and people who engage in repetitive movements with their arms. The most effective treatments for golfer’s and tennis elbow include nonsurgical management and in severe cases, surgery.

Rest and Ice:

The first and most important step in treating golfer’s elbow and tennis elbow is to rest the affected arm and apply ice to the affected area. This helps reduce inflammation and swelling, which are often the source of pain. It is recommended to apply ice for 15-20 minutes at a time, several times a day, until the pain subsides.

Physical Therapy:

Physical therapy is a highly effective treatment for golfer’s elbow and tennis elbow. Physical therapists can teach exercises to strengthen the muscles and tendons around the elbow, improving their flexibility and reducing the risk of re-injury. They may also use modalities such as ultrasound or electrical stimulation to help reduce pain and inflammation.


Over-the-counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen can help reduce pain and swelling associated with golfer’s elbow and tennis elbow. In some cases, doctors may prescribe stronger pain medications or corticosteroid injections to relieve severe pain and inflammation.

Braces and Supports:

Wearing a brace or support can help relieve the pain and discomfort of golfer’s elbow and tennis elbow. These devices help support the muscles and tendons in the forearm, reducing strain on the affected area. There are a variety of braces and supports available, from simple elbow sleeves to specialized braces designed for specific sports or activities.

Surgery is typically considered a last resort for treating golfer’s elbow and tennis elbow. However, in severe cases where other treatments have been ineffective, surgical intervention may be necessary to repair damaged tendons or remove damaged tissue.

What is the surgical treatment for golfer’s and tennis elbow?

Surgical treatment for golfer’s elbow and tennis elbow is typically considered a last resort after other treatments have failed to provide relief. The type of surgery performed depends on the severity of the injury and the specific needs of the patient. Here are the surgical options available for these conditions:

Open Surgery:

In severe cases of golfer’s elbow or tennis elbow, where there is a complete tear of the tendon or damage to the bone, open surgery may be necessary. This involves making an incision in the skin and repairing the damaged tissue using sutures, anchors, or screws. The surgery is typically performed under general anesthesia, and recovery can take several weeks to several months.

Arthroscopic Surgery:

Arthroscopic surgery is a minimally invasive surgical technique that involves inserting a small camera and instruments through small incisions in the skin. This allows the surgeon to visualize and repair the damaged tissue without the need for a large incision. Arthroscopic surgery is typically performed under general anesthesia, and recovery time is generally shorter than open surgery.

Percutaneous Tenotomy:

Percutaneous tenotomy is a newer surgical technique used to treat golfer’s elbow and tennis elbow. It involves using a small needle to make a small hole in the damaged tendon, which causes it to break apart and then heal on its own. This technique is performed under local anesthesia, and patients can often return to regular activities within a few weeks.

Many people are able to recover with conservative treatments such as rest, physical therapy, and medication. However, in some cases, surgery may be the best option to relieve pain and restore function to the affected arm. If you are experiencing symptoms of golfer’s elbow or tennis elbow, it is important to consult with an LALL Orthopedics + orthopedic surgeon to determine the best course of treatment for your specific needs.

Dr. Ajay C. Lall is a former dual sport NCAA collegiate athlete (football and track & field), American board certified, triple fellowship-trained expert orthopedic surgeon who specializes in diagnosing and treating elbow injuries. He treats non-athletes and athletes at all levels of play from collegiate to professional to the Olympic level. Dr. Lall is a world-renowned orthopedic surgeon who cares for all patients like family. Contact LALL Orthopedics + to schedule a consultation, receive the correct diagnosis, and undergo state-of-the-art treatment options.

At a Glance

Ajay C. Lall, MD, MS, FAAOS

  • Board Certified – Orthopedic Surgery
  • Triple Fellowship Trained
  • Performs over 750 Surgeries Per Year
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