When it comes to pain, the natural human response is to avoid it, minimize it and do whatever it takes to get rid of it. While tolerance to pain can vary greatly among people, any chronic pain is debilitating – whether it’s a dull ache; a periodic sharp sensation or an on-and-off nagging injury.
In the case of tennis elbow, pain can begin mildly, gradually and intermittently, but typically worsens over time. It starts interfering with daily activities, such as exercise, household chores and work (on a computer, at a construction site or on an assembly line), and remains persistent, so that eventually, sufferers must seek relief. If untreated, tennis elbow can make it difficult to turn a doorknob, hold a coffee cup, carry a briefcase or brush your teeth.
Various treatment options are available for tennis elbow – both over-the-counter and through healthcare professionals. One popular first step is to use a support – such as a strap, brace, splint or sleeve – to help the joint rest and heal. Logically, it makes sense to limit movement in a joint experiencing inflammation, but as it turns out, these supports ultimately may not facilitate healing, and may instead slow recovery. Let’s examine why tennis elbow splints don’t work.