Arm and elbow

Tennis elbow - lateral epicondylitis

"Tennis elbow" is a common term for a condition caused by overuse of arm, forearm and hand muscles that results in elbow pain. You don't have to play tennis to get this, but it can be a significant problem for some tennis players. Tennis elbow is caused by either abrupt or subtle injury of the muscle and tendon area around the outside of the elbow. Tennis elbow specifically involves the area where the muscles and tendons of the forearm attach to the outside bony area of the elbow.

Golfers elbow - medial epicondylitis

Another common term, "golfer's elbow," refers to the same process occurring on the inside of the elbow. It is an injury to the muscles that flex your wrist and fingers and the site of injury is typically the bony bump on the inside of the elbow where these muscles attach. Sufferers will experience pain when performing gripping tasks or when flexing the wrist or fingers with resistance.

Bursitis - bursa

The elbow (olecranon) bursa lies between the loose skin and the pointy bone at the back of the elbow. Normally, this bursa is flat; If it becomes irritated or inflamed, more fluid will accumulate in the bursa and bursitis will develop. Elbow bursitis can occur for a number of reasons:

  • Trauma - a hard blow to the tip of the elbow, causing excess fluid and swell

  • Prolonged pressure - leaning on the tip of the elbow for long periods of time

Tendon tear

A triceps tendon injury is a problem with the tendon that connects the muscle at the back of your upper arm to the bony bump at the back of your elbow. We use this tendon to straighten our arm. Tendons can be injured suddenly or they may be slowly damaged over time. You can have tiny or partial tears in your tendon. If you have a complete tear of your tendon, it is called a rupture. Other tendon injuries may be called a strain, tendinosis, or tendonitis.


A broken (fractured) arm means that one or more of the bones of the arm have cracked. This is a common injury and in adults accounts for nearly half of all broken bones. Fractures of varying severity can occur to any one of the three bones of the arm. The humerus - from the shoulder to the elbow or the radius and the ulna - from the elbow to the wrist. When a bone fractures there is usually damage to surrounding soft tissues.

SportsMed TENS therapy

After a diagnosis of muscle, tendon or ligament damage, bursitis or fracture, your arm or elbow injury management plan should include physical therapy treatment as often as possible.

SportsMed is the TENS, ECS and EMS machine we suggest to aid repair of an arm or elbow injury

SportsMed electrotherapy can be used everyday - outside the clinic - for drug-free, on-demand pain relief. It is also designed and programmed to aid circulation, reduce inflammation, hasten healing and help with arm muscle rehabilitation.

  • RELIEVE mode:

    • Pain relief (modulated low and high frequency TENS; continuous, comfortable intensity)

    • Early stage injury treatment (modulated low to medium frequency ECS; continuous, low intensity)

  • RECOVERY mode - injury healing

    • Later stage injury treatment (modulated low to medium frequency EMS and ECS; surging, medium intensity)

  • EXERCISE mode - muscle strengthening

    • Rehabilitation stage (high frequency EMS; surging, medium to high intensity)

Pad placement - arm and elbow

golfer elbow electrode placement
tennis elbow electrode placement

SportsMed treatment guide

Purpose ModeIntensity TimeHow often
Pain relief RELIEVELow to medium Minimum 60 minutesOn demand
Muscle soreness RELIEVELow Several hoursDaily for 1 or 2 days
Scar tissue RELIEVELow Several hoursDaily as needed
Soft tissue healing RECOVERMedium 10 to 20 minutes3 times per day
Circulation RELIEVE or RECOVERLow 60 minutesas often as needed
Rehabilitation EXERCISEMedium 5 to 15 minutes3 times per day
Rehabilitation EXERCISEMedium to high 10 to 20 minutes3 times per day
On RELIEVE mode – muscles should not contract or twitch
On RECOVER mode – muscles should contract, mildly
On EXERCISE mode – muscles should contract, mildly or strongly – as required
TENS and EMS machine for arm injury or elbow injury

Injury page links

SportsMed TENS, ECS and EMS
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Conductive Garment - Elbow
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