An important thing to consider when looking for tennis elbow remedies (and a big source of confusion) is whether to apply ice or heat. Every sports injury expert and doctor I have spoken to recommend applying ice to a damaged, swollen painful elbow. This is a general list of things that they recommend.
As soon as you damage a muscle or joint you will get inflammation. Rather than taking drugs, the key is to get ice onto the area as soon as possible.
Here’s a quick recommendation. ALWAYS keep a large ice pack in the freezer. The quicker you get ice onto an injury, the better. There’s nothing more frustrating than hurting yourself and then waiting a few hours for your freezer to make some ice. I’ve found that you need some volume (a big block of ice stays frozen longer), so get a small (say salad sized) plastic container and fill it with water. When it is frozen solid, transfer the ice to a plastic bag (stops it dripping all over you later on) and put it back in the container in the freezer.
If you do not have any ice handy, use a packet of frozen vegetables (peas or sweetcorn, the smaller the better as they “wrap” around the leg, arm elbow, whatever). It’s not as good as a big block but better than nothing. Anyway, back to the painful elbow…
1/ Put a clean towel or flannel over the affected area (clean the skin first). This will prevent you burning your skin. Apply your ice directly onto the outside of your elbow. Hold it there for at least twenty minutes. On the day of the injury, do this every hour for say, the next six hours (don’t forget to put the ice back into the freezer to re freeze).
2/ On the second day, repeat the above treatment (twenty minutes) every three to four hours.
3/ Repeat this on the third day or until the swelling goes down. If it is still as bad after three days, it may be something more serious than a tennis elbow injury. It could even be something like a fractured elbow bone, or a ligament rupture. Get some medical attention quickly.
Most of them also recommend lifting the swollen area up above your heart (easier when lying down). This is standard procedure in most first aid boks and courses.
Here’s what I don’t recommend. I tend to be lazy and it is very rare that I have ever carried out the above instructions to the letter! If I do, then my injuries clear up better. Maybe that’s the key when looking for tennis elbow remedies, actually doing what you are told!