Tennis Elbow

Tennis elbow, also known as lateral epicondylitis, is characterized by pain and tenderness on the outside of the elbow. Although known as tennis elbow, it is not restricted to only people who play tennis.

Lateral epicondylitis most commonly presents 24-72 hours after an unaccustomed activity which involved repeated wrist extension. This occurs typically after a person spends the weekend engaged in manual activity such as laying bricks or using a screwdriver, or after prolonged sessions of knitting or sewing. In the tennis player, it may occur following the use of a new racquet, playing with wet heavy balls, or over hitting – especially when hitting into the wind.


For most people with tennis elbow, the pain only occurs when they use their forearm and wrist, particularly for twisting movements such as turning a door handle or opening a jar. However, for some people the pain is constant; it occurs at rest and can affect their sleep. The pain may travel down your arm from your elbow towards your wrist. You may find it difficult to hold items such as a knife or fork, a cup or a pen, or to straighten your arm fully.


Treatment initially focuses on controlling pain and encouragement of the healing process, before focusing on restoration of any flexibility and strength deficits, correction of any predisposing factors and gradual return to activity. Physiotherapy can help with modifications to your lifting, loading and daily tasks, as well as strengthening the muscles in and around your elbow, shoulder and wrist to help with long term recovery.

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