Tennis Elbow Treatment and Prevention
Tennis elbow is usually easily
diagnosed by a physical examination. Up to 90% of cases can be remedied by
nonsurgical treatments, and symptoms usually diminish within four to six weeks
with appropriate treatment.
Treatment goals include pain relief and prevention of
Tennis elbow facts
- Tennis elbow is tendinitis of the outer elbow.
- Strain of an elbow tendon causes tennis elbow.
- Risks of tennis elbow include activities that can
strain the elbow.
- Tennis elbow symptoms include dull
pain and tenderness at the
outer elbow often with a sensation of weakness and
- A physician uses a patient's history and physical examination to diagnose tennis elbow.
- The standard treatment for tennis elbow involves measures to reduce the local inflammation.
- The prognosis for tennis
elbow is excellent.
- It's possible to prevent tennis elbow by avoiding activities that
strain the elbow.
What is tennis elbow?
Tennis elbow is inflammation of the tendon at the outer portion of the elbow, leading to pain. Classically, tennis elbow is a strain injury to this tendon from hitting a backhand shot at tennis. The medical term for tennis elbow is lateral epicondylitis because it involves inflammation at the insertion point of the tendon at the outer portion of the humerus bone at the elbow joint (the epicondyle). Most people with lateral epicondylitis actually acquire it from activities other than playing tennis.
In contrast, when the tendon that attaches at the inner portion of the elbow is inflamed, the condition is referred to as medial epicondylitis (or "golfer's elbow" because golfers commonly injure this area after striking the ground to take a deep divot).
What causes tennis elbow?
A strain injury to the tendon at the outer portion of
the elbow causes tennis elbow. While this can occur by straining during a backhand tennis shot, it
can also occur from many repetitive activities that can strain the elbow. These
activities include using a screwdriver or work that includes similar motions, Frisbee
disc throwing, and lifting objects by extending the wrist, etc.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 3/14/2016