Tennis Elbow (Lateral Epicondylitis)

Tennis elbow, also known as lateral epicondylitis, is a painful elbow strain condition. Tennis and other racquet sports can induce this condition. Apart from athletics, some other sports and activities may cause this condition. Tennis elbow is a disorder characterized by inflammation or, in rare cases, micro-tearing of the tendons connecting the forearm muscles outside the elbow. The activities damage the forearm muscles and tendons by repeatedly doing the same actions, resulting in soreness and stiffness outside the elbow.


Signs of tennis elbow include:

  • Burning on the outer elbow that may travel to your wrist, these sensations may worsen at night.
  • Pain while twisting or bending your arm
  • Stiffness or pain while extending the arm.
  • Numbness
  • Swollen elbow joint that's tender to touch.
  • Weakened grip

When To See The Doctor?

Consult your doctor if self-care steps such as rest, ice, and over-the-counter pain relievers don't ease your elbow pain and tenderness.


The repetition of improper arm motions causes tennis elbow. This can result in minor rips at the tendon's insertion at the elbow. This results in the repeating movement and force of hitting a ball with a racquet in tennis. This results in activity at the wrist rather than the elbow or shoulder. This might put further strain on the tendon, causing discomfort and inflammation. This tendon rupture usually causes pain in the extensor muscles. Extensor muscles are responsible for stretching the wrist. The tennis elbow is linked to the extension of the fingers and wrist.

Risk Factors

Risk factors of tennis elbow are:

  • Age Age is usually the most common among individuals between 30 and 50. However, it can develop among individuals across generations.
  • Sports Tennis, badminton, squash, cricket, and other sports players are more vulnerable to this medical condition. These sports require repetitive motions of the forearms and outer elbows, which increases the risk of injury.
  • Occupations Repetition, frequent motions, or overexertion of the forearm muscles and tendons, as well as specific occupations, increase the risk of injury. Carpentry, butchery, cooking, painting, cobblers, and other professions fall under this category.


If left untreated can lead to growing pain and permanent loss of grip strength. Fortunately, most people naturally stop the activities that cause their elbow pain, allowing the joint to rest and some tissue damage to recover without major issues. Physical treatment is also quite beneficial.

When surgery is required to treat tennis elbow, the following risks may occur:

  • Nerve and blood vessel damage
  • Infection,
  • Prolonged rehabilitation
  • Permanent loss of arm joint flexibility and strength


Tennis elbow can be avoided by paying close attention to mobility techniques during exercise.

It is better to distribute the stress on the shoulder and upper arm muscles rather than the smaller muscles in the wrist and elbow.

  • Warming up It is essential to warm up before engaging in a sport that requires repetitive arm motions, such as tennis or squash. Stretching the arm muscles gently will help you avoid injury.
  • Using lightweight tools Lightweight racquets with a greater grip size will help reduce pressure on the tendons.
  • Increasing forearm muscle strength Increasing forearm muscle strength can help support arm movement and avoid tennis elbow.
  • Physical Therapy A physical therapist can also recommend activities that will help strengthen the compromised muscles.


A simple test may be performed at home to determine whether a person has tennis elbow. Place your hands on the back of the chair, palms facing down and elbows straight. Also, try lifting the chair.

If this action causes pain outside the elbow, it is a likely indicator of tennis elbow.

The doctor would most likely perform a thorough evaluation of the inflammation and pain of the patient. To evaluate pain and its severity, the doctor may apply pressure to the afflicted area & the patient is asked to move the forearm, elbow, wrist, and fingers in various ways. They may ask about the medical history to determine whether any previous or current medical history is connected to the symptoms. Some diagnostic tests that may be recommended are:

An X-ray or MRI scan may rule out more serious conditions, such as arthritis or elbow joint damage. However, imaging is rarely required. Before asking about the location and type of pain, the doctor will do a range of motion tests with the arm.

Electromyography (EMG) can be used to determine whether or not the nerves are compressed.


Nonsurgical interventions

Tennis elbow can be treated without surgery in many patients. The doctor will initially prescribe one or more of the treatments listed below:

  • Rest Complete the rest of the affected hand, and take a break from the activity that caused the medical condition.
  • Ice pack p>An ice pack may be suggested to reduce inflammation.
  • Medications OTC (over-the-counter) anti-inflammatory pain medications such as ibuprofen or naproxen may assist in alleviating tension in the damaged tendons and muscles.
  • Physical therapy refers to stretching exercises that gradually stretch and strengthen the muscles. For example, slowly lifting the wrist upwards and lowering progressively is often recommended. An elbow brace may help manage and heal the afflicted area's tension.
  • Ultrasonic tenotomy Ultrasonic tenotomy, also known as the TENEX technique, consists of inserting a specific needle through the skin till the damaged tendon is exposed to ultrasonic. The ultrasonic waves cause the needle to vibrate enough to liquify the wounded tendon, which may be suctioned out. Steroid injections may also be used to alleviate inflammation and discomfort.
  • Steroid injections The doctor may inject a corticosteroid medication directly into the affected muscle at the elbow, which helps reduce inflammation.
  • Shock wave therapy This experimental treatment transmits sound waves to the elbow to help the body heal.


Surgery may be required if symptoms won't improve after noninvasive treatment. The doctor can determine whether surgery is necessary to improve your situation.

Surgery is performed arthroscopically (with a small scope put into the elbow) or through a larger incision made directly above the elbow (open surgery). Both techniques are used to remove dead tissue and restore the healthy muscle to the bone.

The arm may be immobilized with a splint following surgery. This is done to promote the recovery of muscular strength and flexibility.

Tennis elbow surgery is effective in 80 to 90 percent of cases. However, it is usual to feel some muscular weakness.

Dos and Don’ts

Tennis elbow may be treated and prevented by taking proper care of yourself. Avoid muscular injury by knowing the limitations and resting enough. Strengthen the muscles, so they don't give out during exercises, and apply a cold pack after a long day of hard work to reduce inflammation. The do's and don'ts might assist you in managing the discomfort.

Stop the activity that is causing the discomfort for 1-2 weeksPerform any activity that involves extending or rotating the wrist.
Massage your arm Apply chemical cold packs to your skin.
Use pillows under your arm while sleeping to reduce the tension in arm muscles.Overdo sports or physical activities.
Take restAvoid taking prescribed medicines.
Avoid injuries and take precautionsDo exercises that hurt you.

Care At Medicover

At Medicover hospital, we have the best team of Rheumatologists, pain management therapists, physiotherapists, and orthopedic surgeons together to deliver the most precise tennis elbow treatment and therapies. Our highly qualified staff uses cutting-edge medical equipment, diagnostic techniques, treatments, and technologies that bring good patient results to treat many forms of autoimmune illnesses and disorders. For Tennis Elbow, we use a multidisciplinary approach to give patients an all-around healing experience and address their medical requirements at once, resulting in a faster and more sustainable recovery.


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Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is tennis elbow?

Tennis elbow, medicallyThe condition known as lateral epicondylitis is characterized by soreness and tenderness on the outside of the elbow. Despite its name, it can affect individuals who are not tennis players as well.

2. What are the symptoms of tennis elbow?

On the outside of the mouth, discomfort and tenderness are common symptoms. elbow, weakened grip strength, pain while gripping objects, and discomfort when lifting or bending the arm.

3. What causes tennis elbow?

Tennis elbow is frequently brought on by excessive forearm use, which causes minor tears in the tendons that adhere to the lateral epicondyle, a bony bump on the outside of the elbow. Repetitive motions, gripping activities, and improper technique during sports or work can contribute to its development.

4. Who is at risk of developing tennis elbow?

People who engage in activities involving repetitive forearm movements or excessive gripping, such as tennis, painting, plumbing, or manual labor, are at a higher risk. However, anyone can develop tennis elbow if they strain their forearm tendons.

5. How is tennis elbow diagnosed?

A doctor typically diagnoses tennis elbow through a physical examination, assessing pain, tenderness, and grip strength. Occasionally, imaging procedures like X-rays or MRI scans might be recommended to rule out other potential causes of the symptoms.

6. What are the dos and don’ts for tennis elbow?


  • Rest and give your forearm muscles time to heal.
  • Apply ice to reduce pain and inflammation.
  • Perform gentle stretching exercises to maintain flexibility.
  • Use proper technique and ergonomic equipment during activities.
  • Consult a healthcare professional for proper diagnosis and guidance.
  • Avoid overusing the affected arm or engaging in activities that worsen the pain.
  • Don’t ignore persistent pain; seek medical attention if symptoms worsen.

7. What is the treatment for tennis elbow?

Treatment options include:

  • Rest and activity modification.
  • Pharmaceuticals that reduce pain, such as NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory meds).
  • Physical therapy to strengthen forearm muscles and improve flexibility.
  • Bracing or splinting to provide support to the affected area.
  • Corticosteroid injections to reduce inflammation and pain.
  • In severe cases, surgery might be considered if conservative treatments do not provide relief.

8. How long does it take to recover from tennis elbow?

Recovery time varies from person to person. With proper rest and treatment, mild cases might improve within a few weeks. Severe cases or those with underlying issues might take several months to recover fully.

9. Can tennis elbow be prevented?

While it might not be completely preventable, you can reduce the risk by using proper technique during activities, taking regular breaks, using ergonomic equipment, and maintaining forearm strength and flexibility through exercises.

10. When should I see a doctor?

If you experience persistent or worsening pain in your elbow, especially after trying home remedies, it’s advisable to consult a doctor. If you encounter extreme discomfort, get medical help right away.inability to move the arm, or any signs of infection.

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