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How do you use ice gel packs to help relieve tennis and golfers elbow pain? (UK)

Tennis or golf elbow is a disorder that is generated by frequent and continuous hyperflexion of the elbow, causing it to stretch more than normal. It is characterised by pain on the inner side of the elbow, extending progressively to the part of the wrist closest to the little finger.

Hence the purpose of this post, to talk to you about how to use hot and cold gel packs to relieve tennis or golf elbow pain. Also, we will talk to you about the origin of these ailments and how to treat them properly.

What are the causes and origin of elbow pain in tennis players, golfers and racquet players?

What are the causes and origin of elbow pain in tennis players, golfers and racquet players?

Tennis elbow, also known as lateral epicondylitis, and golfer's elbow, also known as epitrochleitis, are very similar injuries. They are caused by repeated traction micro-traumatisms at the lower end of the humerus. They are caused by frequent and continuous movements that progressively stress or overload the elbow.

  • Lateral epicondylitis affects the extensor musculature of the hand and wrist which is inserted into the epicondyle, causing pain in the lateral area of the elbow.
  • Meanwhile, epitrochleitis affects the flexor muscles of the hand and wrist that are inserted into the epithelium. Consequently, pain is generated in the inner elbow area.

In both cases, the pain progressively spreads to the arm or forearm, especially when performing very everyday movements. Some of them, opening a bottle, lifting an object, carrying a shopping bag, among others. When it becomes chronic it could even prevent you from sleeping.

Tennis elbow is common in patients who practice racket sports. They perform extension and rotation movements involving hand and wrist (especially when doing the backhand stroke) which could generate an overload on the epicondyle muscles.

On the other hand, epitrocleitis is common in people who play golf. By performing the so-called swing incorrectly, you could force the flexor muscles of the elbow too much.

However, tennis elbow and golfer's elbow are not exclusive to those who play tennis or golf. It also affects those who practice other sports such as baseball, weightlifting, shot put and javelin, among others. It can also affect bricklayers, carpenters, painters, computer users, among others.

In summary, the main causes of elbow pain in tennis players, golfers and racquetball players are:

  • Work, sports or recreational activities that involve excessive use, tension or damage to the epicondyle or epithelium.
  • Not using the correct technique when playing sports such as tennis, golf, baseball, among other racket sports.
  • Lifting weight or using sports equipment that is not suitable for the level of the athlete.
  • Poor posture when practising sports or carrying out work activities such as using a computer, especially on laptops.
  • Lack of warm-up and stretching when doing a sport or physical activity.
  • Tension of the soft tissues of the elbow or nearby generated by anomaly (such as legs of different lengths) or incorrect positioning of bones or joints.
  • Diseases or conditions such as arthritis, osteoarthritis, gout, psoriasis, thyroid, among others.
  • Repeated and frequent movements generated by the excessive use of the mobile phone.
  • Among other causes are infections, stress and insomnia.


4.61 / 5
– 08/01/2023
It’s good to get some cool relief on a sprain or sore muscle, and even better if it can stay put. I’ve only used it for cooling therapy, so can’t comment on using it with heat. I find that it works well for about 20 minutes, then it gets put back in the freezer for the next time I need it. Well made.
Things And Stuff
– 09/04/2022
Really soothing and comforting, both on knees and on elbows. It's comfortable even for wearing for an extended period.
– 07/01/2022
Its maleable and reusable which are two important features. It relieves the pain and the swelling on the applied area. This flexible ice pack is well made and its velcro straps are very convenient so it can be applied not only on the arms and elbows but in pretty much any area of the body without the need for holding it. Dont forget to use a cloth or use it above the clothes not to freeze/burn the skin. This ice pack made from nylon on the outside its resistant and long lasting.
– 30/12/2021
I was thinking this would just strap on, and I could carry on doing stuff, but unless you're just sitting still it's not secure at all. This means it's basically no better than any other ice pack I own which is a shame.
– 30/12/2021
Good quality product overall. I review quite a few things and usually say if something is terrible 🙂 But this one is definitely one I would recommend to others.
– 17/12/2021
So the description states this is a:- Reusable gel ice packs for elbow & arms 28cm x 17cm. Hot & cold compress wrap for tennis & golf injuries:- Tendonitis, fractured, pain. Ice bag compress with strap for elbow relief. These reusable ice packs can be used for both cold and hot therapy. I have added below what they recommend, but we as a family use alot of this type of products. I keep this pack in the freezer at all time, because they at hand when ever it's needed. Once used I clean with antibacterial spray or wipe and them place back in the freezer ready for next time. *** Cold therapy:- Cool for 1 hour in the freezer, keep the ice bags for chronic injuries at room temperature for 10 minutes before applying it to the area to be treated. *** Hot therapy:- Place the reusable heat pads inside the microwave for 30 seconds at 800W, The compression band you place the pack into is Velcro fastening, so it's totally adjustable and can be tightened or loosen whenever or where ever is needed. This product does feel like really good quality and that it is made to last. Only time will tell, so it's a product that I will have to update this review in time. But so far so good. *** Details:- * Size:- One Size. * The 28x17 cm elbow ice pack * 30cm x 8.5 cm compression band * Material:- Nylon * Colour:- Grey
Vince Marsters
– 16/12/2021
I am a big fan of using heat or cold as an efficient pain relief without needing medication. It works best when applied locally to the affected area but when you are trying to use around joints, it can be difficult. This pack gets around that simply and efficiently. What you get is a small gel filled pack that can either be chilled in a freezer or heated in a microwave. Once at the correct temperature it is put on the affected area and the provided elasticated strap wrapped around to hold it in place. Because of this method, it is important to make sure the pack is not very cold or hot to avoid causing further damage. Having used this periodically over the past month I have found it to be highly effective for easing my elbow joints and allowing me to recover faster and without tablets. For this reason, I recommend this pack - especially as it is reusable many times over.
– 15/12/2021
Really helped ease tennis elbow. Qell made and happy to recommend
Chapel’s Dad
– 14/12/2021
I’m not sure why this is aimed at arms and elbows in the product title as it can be used for all areas of the body, in actual fact it’s not great for elbows as it isn’t shaped to suit. The packs take a while to get down to a cold temperature so I pop it in the freezer before I play sport, then if I hurt myself (which is relatively frequently) it’ll be ready for use. I have had it in the freezer for up to 5 hours and it hasn’t frozen, I haven’t tried for longer but I get the impression that it won’t go solid. The pack is reasonably thick so it stays cold for a good amount of time - I haven’t tried it for heat but I don’t see why you wouldn’t get similar results. Happy to recommend..
– 14/12/2021
I really like this ice pack. I pop it in the freezer for a few hours, it has an insert which you put it in and then the main wrap which you can wrap around the elbow and it lasts for 30 minutes or more and I can use it on both elbows , one after the other and not still having it cold. Initially it was tricky to try and wrap it around myself and needed a hand but over time I have figured out a way. It is not the easiest to do that but I have managed. Overall it works really well, as I suffer from golfers/tennis elbow, this really helps me and it works well.

What is best for reducing elbow pain in tennis players and golfers, hot or cold?

What is best for reducing elbow pain in tennis players and golfers, hot or cold?

Once a patient has been diagnosed with tennis or golf elbow, treatment may vary depending on the severity of the injury. Hence, the importance of consulting with a medical specialist or physiotherapist who will indicate the respective and timely treatment according to the type of damage existing in the injury.

In any case, it is very important to identify the cause of the problem and avoid it if possible. However, abstaining from the activity that has caused the illness will not be enough, so certain measures must be taken.

Generally, these traumas are treated by placing a strap on the forearm, slightly below the elbow. This can reduce the traction force exerted on the epicondyle or epithelium. This allows the inflammation and pain associated with the injury to be reduced.

Physiotherapy specialists also apply massages or techniques such as electrotherapy, shock waves and infiltrations. Although, from home it is possible to perform self-massage and stretching. Similarly, many physiotherapists recommend thermotherapy and cryotherapy to treat lateral epicondylitis and epitrochleitis. An excellent option is gel packs for cold and heat.

Below, I will explain the main benefits of high and low temperatures to treat tennis and golf elbow:

Benefits of applying cold

In the field of sport it is very common to use cold for therapeutic purposes (cryotherapy). This is because applying low temperatures to an injury such as tennis or golf elbow has the following benefits:

  • Anti-inflammatory: The cold helps to reduce the inflammation caused by lateral epicondylitis and epitrochleitis. This is because low temperatures cause a decrease in vasoactive substances. This reduces the body's inflammatory response and decreases oedema or swelling.
  • Analgesic: Applying cold reduces the pain associated with tennis or golf elbow. This is because low temperatures interrupt the transmission of nerve impulses associated with the sensation of pain.
  • Vasoconstriction: The cold causes the constriction of the blood vessels. This reduces blood flow, helping to reduce bruising and bleeding.

Benefits of applying heat

Applying heat for therapeutic purposes (thermotherapy) is undoubtedly one of the most widely used techniques for treating various injuries to the locomotive system. Such is the case of tennis or golf elbow, which can be treated by applying high temperatures. The following benefits are obtained as a result:

  • Vasodilation: Heat generates the dilation of the blood vessels favouring the flow of blood in the treated area. This helps in the nutrition of the tissue and promotes the elimination of toxins.
  • Fast recovery: The increased circulation helps in the healing of the damaged tissue.
  • Analgesic and relaxing effect: The application of heat relieves pain and tension in the muscles. This is largely due to the vasodilation caused by the high temperatures.
  • Reduces joint stiffness: The heat produces a noticeable change in the physical condition of the fibrous and elastic tissues. At high temperatures these can stretch more easily which reduces stiffness in the joints.

How can hot/cold gel packs be used to reduce inflammation of the elbow due to lateral epicondylitis?

Hot and cold gel packs are very useful in the treatment of tennis or golf elbow. These gel-filled packs can reach low and high temperatures keeping them for a long time, so they are ideal for thermotherapy and cryotherapy.

We also recommend our gel packs with compression tape to treat this type of injury. These are ideal, as they manage to stay perfectly adjusted to the elbow providing greater comfort.

Use cold

The use of cold is indicated in lateral epicondylitis if the lesion is in the initial stage. That is, within the first 48 hours where there is severe pain, but of short duration.

If you want to know how to use cold/hot gel packs to reduce inflammation of the elbow due to lateral epicondylitis correctly, bear in mind these recommendations:

  • Put the pack in the freezer for about 2 hours.
  • Remove the pack and check the temperature.
  • Freeze a little longer if necessary. But if it's too cold you can let it warm up a bit in the open air.
  • Place the cold gel pack on the elbow area for 20 minutes.
  • Repeat this session 3 or 4 times a day at 1 hour intervals.
  • Be sure to monitor the injury every 5 minutes while the cold is on the skin to avoid damage.
  • With our cold gel pads you don't need to put on cloths or towels to avoid direct contact with the skin, as they include a protective cover. However, this will depend on the manufacturer.

Use in heat

Heat is indicated after the first 48 hours, especially when there is chronic, long-term pain. Use our very simple gel compresses for heat. Just keep in mind the following recommendations:

  • For microwave heating the hot/cold gel pack must be at room temperature. Just place it in an 800W microwave for approximately 30 seconds. If your microwave has a different power, you will have to carry out several tests until you find the right time.
  • Remove the heat gel pack and massage to distribute the heat evenly.
  • Check if it has reached the desired temperature. If you need to heat it up further, microwave it at 10 second intervals until it reaches the ideal temperature.
  • To heat on the cooker, you should put 3.5 litres of water in a pot until it boils.
  • Once the water has boiled, turn off the heat and put the gel pack in the pot for 7 - 8 minutes. Remove the packet carefully and check the temperature. If you want to heat more, immerse the pad in the water for 1 minute intervals until it reaches a temperature that does not cause burns.
  • Place the gel pack on the elbow area for 15 - 20 minutes.
  • Perform this session 3 to 4 times a day.
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