If you have pain on the outside of the elbow and upper forearm, it can be diagnosed under several names. The medical term is epicondylitis (medial or lateral), and it’s more colloquially known as Tennis Elbow or Golf elbow. Epicondylitis is a specific kind of tendonitis, which just means a swelling of any tendon.
Of course, Tennis Elbow isn’t unique to golfers and tennis players. It’s also a common ailment for musicians such as violinists who hold the bow for their instrument up in the air for hours on end, or for computer users who type or mouse for too long with elbows splayed at an odd angle. In the last few years, a new term for the disorder has been coined– Wii elbow, after people who have pain after playing with their Nintendo Wii for too many hours.
In the end, it doesn’t matter what you call it — what you want is fast relief. Naturally, there are many treatments. Most common are ice for the swelling, stretching and motion exercises for the stiffness, and rest and relaxation.
After years of forearm pain, I highly recommend using some kind of support brace for the muscles and tendons. You can find them under several names — epicondylitis strap, elbow brace, Tennis Elbow support. They wrap around the forearm and provide a cushion against the sore spot, which helps support the muscle and relieves some of the pain and pressure. The braces are available from any drugstore, medical supply store or online.
I got one a couple years back from a Walgreens drug store for about $15. It’s not a fancy device, just a neoprene support wrap made by Futuro. I find the neoprene gets slippery and tends to fall off, so I often just use a basic Ace bandage. You can find them in other fabrics and styles, too. Take a look at your options before you decide what to try.
When you put it on your arm, don’t wrap it so tightly as to cut off circulation, just enough to provide some support. If you’re like me, you’ll find you can sleep with it and feel a lot better in the morning.