Tennis elbow

Also known as lateral epicondylitis, is a common overuse injury that affects the elbow. It is a painful condition that results from damage to the tendons that attach to the lateral epicondyle, which is the bony bump on the outside of the elbow.

In this blog post, we will explore what tennis elbow is, its common signs and symptoms, how it can be treated, and references for scientific literature.

What is Tennis Elbow?

Tennis elbow is caused by repetitive movements of the wrist and forearm, leading to microtrauma and damage to the tendons. This condition can affect anyone, not just tennis players. It is common among people who perform repetitive tasks with their hands and wrists, such as carpenters, painters, and office workers. The repetitive motion causes small tears in the tendons that attach to the lateral epicondyle, leading to inflammation and pain.

Common Signs and Symptoms

The most common symptom of tennis elbow is pain on the outer part of the elbow that may radiate down the forearm. The pain is often worsened with gripping, lifting, or twisting motions of the wrist or forearm. Weakness in the wrist and forearm may also be present. In some cases, there may be swelling or tenderness around the elbow.

How Can It Be Treated?

Treatment for tennis elbow aims to reduce pain, inflammation, and promote healing of the tendons. Initially, rest and ice can help to reduce pain and inflammation. Over-the-counter pain medications, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen, may also be helpful.
Physical therapy can help to improve pain and function. A physiotherapist can provide specific exercises to improve flexibility and strength in the wrist and forearm. They may also use techniques such as ultrasound, soft tissue massage, and manual therapy to help reduce pain and inflammation.

In severe cases, a corticosteroid injection may be recommended to help reduce inflammation and pain. However, it is important to note that this is a short-term solution and may not be effective in the long-term. Surgery may also be considered in rare cases if other treatments are unsuccessful.


Tennis elbow is a common overuse injury that affects the elbow, causing pain and inflammation. It can be caused by repetitive movements

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Scientific References

  1. Coombes BK, Bisset L, Vicenzino B. Efficacy and safety of corticosteroid injections and other injections for management of tendinopathy: a systematic review of randomized controlled trials. Lancet. 2010;376(9754):1751-1767.
  2. Shiri R, Viikari-Juntura E, Varonen H, Heliövaara M. Prevalence and determinants of lateral and medial epicondylitis: a population study. Am J Epidemiol. 2006;164(11):1065-1074.
  3. Smidt N, van der Windt DA, Assendelft WJ, Devillé WL, Korthals-de Bos IB, Bouter LM. Corticosteroid injections for lateral epicondylitis: a systematic review. Pain. 2002;96(1-2):23-40.
  4. Vicenzino B, Cleland JA, Bisset L. Joint mobilization techniques for the shoulder and elbow. J Man Manip Ther. 2007;15(1):E2-E18.
  5. Voskuil MI, Staal JB, Reijneveld SA, van der Windt DA. Repetitive strain injury (RSI) and physical and psychosocial workload. Occup Med (Lond). 2007;57(5):389-393.