Hand & Wrist

Secrets to Sleeping with Tennis Elbow

Mon, Mar 27, 2023

Secrets to Sleeping with Tennis Elbow

Despite the name, tennis elbow doesn’t happen only to tennis players. It is a fairly common joint injury, occurring in between 1% and 3% of the population and resulting from overuse. Irritation and pain in the elbow can affect many areas of your life.

For instance, sleeping with tennis elbow is often a challenge, due to the pain and discomfort. If you have pain in your elbow that is negatively affecting your sleep and well-being, it’s time to talk to a joint specialist. In the meantime, you can learn to sleep better with this condition.

What is Tennis Elbow?

A female staff member in scrubs and a mask talks on the phone behind a desk and computer. Tennis elbow, also known as lateral epicondylitis, is a condition that causes pain and inflammation in the outer part of the elbow. It is caused by repetitive motions of the wrist and arm, such as those used in playing tennis or other racquet sports.


Symptoms of tennis elbow include:

  • Pain when gripping objects
  • Tenderness on the outside of the elbow
  • Weakness in the forearm muscles
  • Elbow pain that increases at night

Managing Tennis Elbow Pain

Managing elbow pain can be done through a combination of rest, ice, compression, and elevation (RICE). Resting the affected arm is important to allow the injury to heal. An ice pack should be applied for 15-20 minutes at a time several times throughout the day.

Compression can help reduce swelling and discomfort by applying an elastic bandage or brace to the area. Finally, elevating the arm above the heart can help reduce swelling.

Sleeping with Tennis Elbow

Sleeping with tennis elbow can be difficult, as the pain and discomfort can make it hard to get comfortable.

Why Is Tennis So Painful at Night?

The pain in your joint is often more painful at night due to the decrease in activity during this time. When you are active, your muscles and joints are warmed up and moving, which can help reduce pain.

However, when you are inactive for a long period of time, such as when sleeping, your muscles and joints can become stiff and inflamed. This can cause an increase in pain in the elbow joint.

Is There a Pain-Free Position That’s Best for Sleeping with Tennis Elbow?

The best sleeping position for tennis elbow is one that works best for you. Generally, the key is to find a position that puts the least amount of strain on your elbow joint.

One of the best positions for sleeping with a painful elbow is lying on your back with your arm supported by a pillow. This will help keep your arm in a neutral position and reduce the strain on your elbow joint.

You can also try sleeping on your side with a pillow between your arm and body to provide support. Try to keep your arm straight but not locked at the elbow joint.

Try not to Sleep in These 3 Positions

When sleeping with tennis elbow, it is important to avoid certain sleep positions that can put extra strain on the elbow joint. These positions include:

  1. Sleeping on your stomach. This position puts a lot of pressure on your elbow joint and can increase pain.
  2. Sleeping with your arm above your head. This position also puts extra strain on the elbow joint and can cause discomfort.
  3. Sleeping with your arm bent. This position can cause the elbow joint to be overstretched and can increase pain.

Should I Wear a Tennis Elbow Brace at Night?

Yes, an elbow brace for sleeping can be beneficial for those suffering with joint pain. A brace can provide support to the elbow joint and help reduce pain and discomfort. It can also keep your arm in a neutral position while you sleep, which can help reduce strain on the joint.

When choosing a brace for tennis elbow, look for one that is designed specifically for this condition. It should provide support to the elbow joint without being too tight or restrictive.

When to See a Specialist for Tennis Elbow

If you are experiencing persistent pain and discomfort from tennis elbow, it is important to see a specialist for treatment.

A doctor can help diagnose the condition and provide advice on how to manage your symptoms. They may also recommend specific exercises or stretches that can help reduce pain and improve mobility in the elbow joint. You can also benefit from working with a physical therapist.

If rest and exercises don’t provide adequate relief, you might need additional treatments. These include pain medications, physical therapy, bracing, injections, and, for more severe injuries, surgery.

Sleeping with tennis elbow can be a challenge, but there are ways to make it more comfortable. Finding a pain-free position that puts the least amount of strain on your elbow joint is key. Avoiding certain sleep positions, wearing a brace at night, and seeing a specialist for treatment can also help manage symptoms and improve mobility in the elbow joint.

Learn more about tennis elbow from our hand, wrist, and elbow specialists. Call (919) 956-9300 or fill out our online form for more information.

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