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Tennis Elbow – Lateral Epicondylitis


More plumbers, painters and carpenters develop this condition than actual tennis players. Regardless, this condition, commonly called tennis elbow, is an inflammation of the tendons that connect the muscles of the forearm to the elbow. The pain is primarily felt at the lateral epicondyle, the bony bump on the outer side of the elbow.

The elbow joint is a complex group of bones, muscles, ligaments and tendons. Lateral epicondylitis involves the extensor muscles, which control the extension of the wrist and fingers, and the extensor tendons, which anchor the muscles to the lateral epicondyle.


Tennis Elbow – Lateral Epicondylitis

Causes & Triggers

Lateral epicondylitis is caused by specific repetitive motions of the wrist and arm. The stress placed on the forearm by a tennis backstroke is a common culprit. This stress causes tiny tears to develop in one or more extensor tendons. This results in inflammation and pain.

  • Chronic overuse
  • Repetitive motion

Signs & Symptoms

This condition typically causes pain and tenderness that is centered on the lateral epicondyle. This pain may radiate along the forearm and wrist. The grip of the hand may feel weak.

  • Inflammation
  • Pain
  • Swelling
  • Weakening grip
  • Worsening symptoms with forearm activity

Risk Factors
Lateral epicondylitis typically affects people between the ages of 30 and 50. It is a common complaint of athletes who play racquet sports, but certain occupations can also raise a person’s risk. This condition is common among plumbers, painters, carpenters and butchers

Tips & Treatment

Treatment options may include rest, ice, anti-inflammatory medications and stretching exercises. A physician may recommend an arm brace or wrist splint and physical therapy or massage therapy. Steroid injections or PRP injections may also provide relief.

  • Tennis elbow is usually treated with a regimen of rest, anti-inflammatory medications or steroid injections, bracing and physical therapy.
  • While uncommon, surgery may be necessary if symptoms do not resolve within six to twelve months.

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