Tennis Elbow/ Lateral Epicondylalgia

on April 29 | in Uncategorized | by | with No Comments

Lateral epicondylalgia commonly known as tennis elbow is an overuse injury affecting the elbow, causing pain and tenderness on the outside of the elbow. Despite its name, tennis elbow doesn’t just affect tennis players, it can occur in anyone who engages in repetitive arm, elbow, and wrist movements. 

What is Tennis Elbow?

Tennis elbow is a condition characterised by pain and irritation of the common extensor tendon that joins to the outside of the elbow. This tendon can become irritated from repeating the same motions or by  increasing or starting a new type of activity that uses this tendon.

Causes of Tennis elbow

Some common activities that can lead to tennis elbow include:

  • Playing racquet sports: Especially if using poor stroke technique.
  • Manual work: Such as plumbing, painting, gardening, or using tools like screwdrivers or hammers extensively.
  • Computer use: Particularly extensive mouse and keyboard use.
  • Culinary work: Activities like cutting and chopping can contribute if done excessively.
  • Weight lifting: Particularly exercises that require a strong grip.


The most common symptom of tennis elbow is pain and tenderness on the outside of the elbow. Other symptoms may include:

  • Pain that radiates from the outside of your elbow into your forearm and wrist.
  • Pain when you extend or lift the arm.
  • Pain when making a fist or when gripping small objects, such as a pen.
  • Difficulty and discomfort when trying to grasp objects, especially with the arm extended.


Tennis elbow can usually be diagnosed with a thorough history taking and physical examination. In some cases, imaging tests like an X-ray, Ultrasound or MRI may be conducted to rule out other causes such as elbow joint injury, nerve injury or a fracture.

Physiotherapy Treatment and Management

  • Activity modification/relative rest: Your physiotherapist can provide advice on how to modify your activity or reduce your activity to help reduce aggravation of your symptoms and aid with long term recovery.
  • Soft tissue massage of forearm muscles and joint mobilization to help relieve pain.
  • Tennis elbow brace: this can often provide short term pain relief when worn during daily activities and exercise
  • Rehab exercises: Your physiotherapist will often  prescribe you with specific exercises to strengthen the forearm muscles and tendon. In some cases we may also work on strengthening muscles higher up in the arm and shoulder as this can also help to reduce load placed on the tendon with daily activities and exercise.


The prognosis for tennis elbow is generally very good, with most people recovering fully with non-surgical treatment. However, the recovery time can vary significantly depending on several factors including the severity of the condition, how long the condition has been going on before starting treatment, age, and the individual’s compliance with recommended lifestyle and work modifications and therapy. 

Mild cases will usually settle with treatment between 6-12 weeks, moderate cases will usually recover in 3-6 months and severe or chronic cases will recover in 6-12 months with treatment. In rare cases where people may require referral to a specialist or sports physician for injections and in very rare cases surgical options might be considered. 


Preventing tennis elbow involves several strategies to reduce stress on the tendons:

  • Strengthen muscles: Regularly performing exercises that strengthen your forearm muscles can help them cope with the stresses of daily activities.
  • Improve technique: Whether in sports or work, proper technique and posture can reduce unnecessary strain on your elbow.
  • Use the right equipment: For athletes, using the correct racquet and string tension can help prevent tennis elbow.
  • Take breaks: Regular breaks during continuous use of the arm can prevent excessive strain.

Understanding and respecting the limits of your body is crucial in preventing and managing tennis elbow. If you begin experiencing pain or discomfort at the outside of your elbow, early intervention can help manage the symptoms effectively before they become more severe. Be proactive in treatment and modify your activities to ensure a full recovery.

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