Tennis Elbow

How It Happens

A tennis elbow is a common term for the Lateral Epicondylitis. It is the inflammation of the wrist and finger tendons that attach to the bone on the outer part of the elbow (the lateral epicondyle).

Muscle and tendon overexertion causes pulling of tendon from bone. This causes micro tearing of tendons, hemorrhage, inflammation, scarring, degeneration and shortening of the tendons.



There is pain and tenderness on the lateral (outside) aspect of the elbow on the lateral epicondyle. Usually, more severe pain can be felt during activities and there may have diffuse discomfort down the forearm and into the fingers. Pain is NOT limited to tennis players or athletes!

Early Stage:
Pain after play or work.

Middle Stage:
Pain during play or work.

Last Stage:
Pain at rest and or at night.

Painful activities include:

  • Grasping or squeezing a handle, a golf club or a tennis racquet
  • Computer work and writing
  • Bending and straightening elbow and when rotating forearm
  • Painting and hammering

Inflammation will be present alth
ough it may not always be visible. It is the result of the irritation of the tendon and the tear of some tendon fibers.

Usually nothing shows on x-ray. There may be some calcium deposit in advanced stage only.

What Causes It?
  • Occupational overuse
  • Weak forearm muscles or imbalance between flexor and extensor muscle groups
  • Weak grip strength
  • Poor fitting equipment– grip size or weight of club or racquet
  • Overuse in a sporting or daily activity
  • Inadequate flexibility or endurance
  • Improper technique
  • Direct trauma
  • Untreated past injury of the upper extremity or fracture
  • Cervical spine nerve pinching or adverse tension
What Should You Do?
  1. Rest from painful activities
  2. Icing will help decrease the inflammation and the pain
  3. Analyze and correct your technique in sporting or occupational activities
  4. Make sure you stretch properly before and after each activity
  5. Compressive bracing prevents tendon pulling from bone and absorbs vibration
  6. Have an expert look at your equipment and change it if required
Will Physiotherapy Help Me?

A physiotherapist will assess your condition and determine the origin of your pain. Your treatment plan will address both the local symptoms such as pain and inflammation as well as the cause of your pain (see causes above).
If you have developed this problem through a specific activity, your physiotherapist can review your technique and make recommendations to avoid injury.

You will also be given an exercise program that will include proper stretching and strengthening exercises, to maintain the flexibility and strength of the wrist, elbow and shoulder muscles. With the help of modalities, physiotherapy will reduce your symptoms and promote healing.

To learn more about how you can access and benefit from our services, please contact us today!





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