How to Sleep With Tennis Elbow—3 Useful Guide

How to Sleep With Tennis Elbow—3 Useful Guide

Tennis elbow, also known as lateral epicondylitis, is a condition that can result in arm pain and other symptoms. These symptoms may keep you up at night, and the way you sleep may be one of the causes. Fortunately, there are measures you can take to get better sleep if your epicondylitis is affected. Here are three suggestions for improving your sleep if you have tennis elbow: stop sleeping on the affected arm, press the elbow with a pillow, and wear a brace while you sleep.

Discover three suggestions to help you with tennis elbow sleep better.

The Definition of Tennis Elbow

“Tennis Elbow” is a form of tendinitis called lateral epicondylitis. A strain on the tendons in the forearm is what causes it. The tendons become inflamed where they join the bony part on the outside of your elbow joint. Activities that repeatedly grip and twist the forearm are the main culprits for this kind of strain.

The Symptoms of Tennis Elbow

On the outside of your elbow, tennis elbow hurts and feels tender. Additionally, the back of your hand and your forearm might hurt. Tennis elbow pain can range from slight discomfort while using your elbow to excruciating pain when your elbow is at rest.

Utilizing your arm, especially for twisting motions, will frequently make the pain worse. The pain may also get worse if you repeatedly extend your wrist or grip something.

If you have tennis elbow, you will usually experience pain:

  • on the outside of the elbow, which may travel down the forearm when lifting or bending your arm
  • when twisting your forearm, such as turning a door handle or opening a jar
  • when gripping small objects, such as a pen

You may also have pain and stiffness when fully extending your arm.

Most people (90%) recover completely within a year after suffering from tennis elbow, which typically lasts between 6 months and 2 years.

How to Sleep With Tennis Elbow—3 Useful Guide

Causes of Tennis Elbow

Tennis elbow is typically brought on by overusing your forearm during demanding or repetitive activity. After hitting or knocking your elbow, it might also happen occasionally. Small tears and inflammation can form close to the bony lump (lateral epicondyle) on the outside of your elbow if the forearm muscles are overworked.

You may get tennis elbow if your forearm muscles are not used to doing a certain activity, such as gardening or decorating. Even if you frequently use your forearm muscles, it is still possible.

Activities that can cause tennis elbow:

  • activities that involve fine, repetitive hand and wrist movements (typing or sewing)
  • using hand tools repeatedly (gardening shears, screwdriver or scissors)
  • playing racquet sports (tennis, badminton or squash) or sports that involve throwing (javelin or discus)
  • using tools while decorating, plumbing or bricklaying

Three Useful Guide to Sleep With a Tennis Elbow

1. Stop Sleeping on the Affected Arm

According to a study, “Sleep position should be considered as a possible aggravating factor that delays healing of an acute injury and results in chronic pain.”

Most people find that sleeping on their side is most comfortable, but if you have tennis elbow, this can also be problematic. By way of illustration, lying on the afflicted arm can lessen blood flow to the injured tendons. The healing process that occurs while you sleep may consequently be slowed down by this. However, sleeping on your back relieves some of the pressure on the injured arm, allowing blood flow to continue normally while you sleep and possibly accelerating the nocturnal healing of your elbow.

2. Use a Pillow to Press the Elbow

Even if you choose to sleep on your unaffected side, tennis elbow can still cause sleep disturbances. The upper arm muscles may put strain on your elbow in this position, which could make the elbow tendons more painful. Additionally, you might find yourself twisting your forearm while you sleep, which would put additional strain on the hurt tendons and cause discomfort. Sufferers of tennis elbow can support their affected arm on a pillow to prevent such problems. This can help relieve tension in the upper arm muscles, and it can also help hold your forearm in an untwisted position while you’re sleeping.

3. Use a Brace While Sleeping

A tennis elbow brace is a third choice that can make sleeping while having tennis elbow more comfortable. These armbands can provide support for the forearm muscles and are intended to be worn on the forearm just below the elbow. They do this to help lessen pressure on the hurt elbow tendons, which can help lessen the pain that keeps you awake at night. If you typically clench your fists at night, these braces can help prevent the forearm muscles from fully contracting, which can be beneficial for your tennis elbow.

The forearm muscles are compressed by a counterforce brace, an elastic strap that is worn one to two inches below the elbow. This helps reduce the force that the muscle transmits to the tendon.

How to Sleep With Tennis Elbow—3 Useful Guide

Treatment for Tennis Elbow

Tennis elbow will get better without treatment (known as a self-limiting condition).

Most people (90%) recover fully from tennis elbow within a year, with the typical duration of the condition being between 6 months and 2 years. The most important thing to do is to rest your injured arm and stop doing the activity that caused the problem.

Here are some helpful treatments for tennis elbow:

  • Rest: Rest to let the injury heal. Avoid opening doors, carrying anything heavy, or repeatedly shaking hands with people.
  • Ice: For 20 to 30 minutes, three times per day, during the initial painful stage, apply ice to your elbow. Then apply for 20 minutes after active use of your arm.
  • Physical therapy: Stretching can help prevent stiffness by enhancing muscle flexibility and reducing scar tissue.
  • Strengthen the muscles in your forearms by exercising. Building strength will help protect the injured tendon and prevent the injury from happening again.
  • Anti-inflammatory medications can occasionally help with pain management.
  • Surgery: While it’s not always necessary, surgery can be helpful to treat persistent or recurrent tendinitis.


The above methods, including ceasing to sleep on the injured arm, pressing the elbow with a pillow, and wearing a brace while you sleep, are thought to be effective at reducing tennis elbow pain. Of course, refraining from using your elbows repeatedly is another useful strategy.

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