Tennis Elbow (Lateral Epicondylitis)

Tennis elbow is a painful condition caused by overuse of the forearm muscles and tendons, resulting in pain on the outside of the elbow.

The basics

Tennis elbow, or lateral epicondylitis, is a painful condition that affects the elbow due to repetitive motions that strain the muscles and tendons in the forearm and elbow. This can affect athletes, painters, carpenters, and computer users. Symptoms include pain and tenderness on the outer part of the elbow, weakness in the forearm, and difficulty gripping objects. Treatment options include rest, ice, physical therapy, and anti-inflammatory medications. Surgery may be necessary in rare cases. Early treatment is important to prevent further damage and speed up healing.

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The presentation of tennis elbow typically involves pain and tenderness in the outer part of the elbow, which may radiate into the forearm and wrist. The pain is usually worsened by gripping or twisting motions of the wrist and can be accompanied by weakness in the affected arm. Additional symptoms of tennis elbow may include:

  • Pain and tenderness in the outer part of the elbow, which may radiate into the forearm and wrist
  • Pain that worsens with activity
  • Stiffness in the elbow joint
  • Difficulty lifting or carrying objects
  • Weakness in the grip
  • Tenderness or swelling around the elbow
  • Tingling or numbness that radiates down the arm

These symptoms can range from mild to severe and may affect one or both arms. It is important to seek medical attention if you are experiencing symptoms of tennis elbow to receive a proper diagnosis and treatment plan.

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Therapies & treatments


Physiotherapy is a common treatment intervention for tennis elbow injuries. A physiotherapist can help with strengthening and stretching exercises, joint mobilization techniques, and manual therapy to help alleviate pain and improve range of motion.

Steroid Injections

Corticosteroid injections can help to reduce inflammation and pain associated with tennis elbow injuries. They are usually reserved for cases where other treatments have not been effective.

Ultrasound Therapy

Ultrasound therapy uses high-frequency sound waves to stimulate deep tissues, promoting healing and reducing pain. It is a non-invasive and safe treatment option for tennis elbow injuries.

Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) Therapy

PRP therapy involves the injection of concentrated platelets from the patient's own blood into the affected area. This can help to promote healing and reduce pain and inflammation.

Topical Analgesics

Topical analgesics such as lidocaine patches or creams can provide temporary relief from pain associated with tennis elbow injuries.

Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs)

NSAIDs such as ibuprofen or naproxen can help to reduce inflammation and pain associated with tennis elbow injuries. They should be used with caution and under the guidance of a healthcare professional.

Functional Movement Training

Functional movement training involves exercises and techniques to improve posture, body mechanics, and movement patterns to reduce pain and prevent further injury. A physiotherapist or exercise physiologist can help develop a personalized functional movement plan for individuals with tennis elbow injuries.

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Self-care strategies

Rest and Recovery

Rest is important for reducing inflammation and allowing the tendons in the elbow to heal. Avoid activities that aggravate your symptoms and give your elbow time to recover.

Stretching and Strengthening Exercises

Gentle stretching and strengthening exercises can help improve flexibility and build strength in the muscles and tendons that support the elbow. Your physical therapist can recommend exercises that are safe and effective for your condition.

Ergonomic Adjustments

Making ergonomic adjustments to your workstation or tools can help reduce strain on your elbow and reduce the likelihood of exacerbating your symptoms. For example, using an ergonomic keyboard or mouse can reduce strain on the forearm muscles.

Ice and Heat Therapy

Applying ice or heat to the affected area can help reduce pain and inflammation. Ice should be used in the first 24-48 hours after an injury, while heat can be used to help loosen the muscles and improve circulation.

Mind-Body Techniques

Mind-body techniques, such as deep breathing, meditation, and yoga, can help reduce stress and tension in the body, which can exacerbate pain and inflammation. Incorporating these techniques into your self-care routine can help promote relaxation and reduce pain.

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Tennis Elbow (Lateral Epicondylitis)

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