“However, if the elbow is hurting, gripping a weight will be painful,” Dr. Marko said. “What I do is place an ankle weight around a person’s wrist and have them relax their hand as they perform the movements of the side-lying exercises.”
From there, consider a full home exercise program from the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.
If you’re not making progress, a physical therapist can manually help loosen the joint and develop a personalized strengthening program. They can also put your arm through motions to assess your readiness to return to your sport or activity.
Some physicians might recommend alternative approaches, such as platelet rich plasma, shock wave therapy, dry needling or a corticosteroid injection, but their efficacy is unproven — as is ingesting copious amounts of gelatin, in spite of what friends or social media may tell you.
Ms. Madden first dropped tennis from her routine. When that wasn’t enough, she ceased the other aggravating movements too, such as throwing the ball for her dog and doing yoga. “I found someone who specialized in wrist and elbows and saw him twice a week for about six weeks,” she said.
As you begin to heal, try testing your elbow in small increments of your sport or activity, letting pain be your guide. In worst-case scenarios — you’ve tried resting for several weeks and working with a physical therapist — it’s worth a visit to an orthopedic specialist, said Dr. Robert Parisien, an orthopedic surgeon at Mount Sinai Health System in New York City.
“Not because we’ll suggest surgery, but to consider other treatments,” he said. “There’s about a 95 percent success rate with a combination of treatments.”
Amanda Loudin is a freelance writer covering health and science. Her writing has appeared in the Washington Post, Outside and many others.