Tennis Elbow2024-05-02T12:19:26+00:00

Tennis Elbow

Tennis Elbow

Recognising the Symptoms of Tennis Elbow

Painful outside of the elbow when gripping – Tennis Elbow

Tennis elbow, despite its name, isn’t just for tennis players! This common condition causes pain on the outer side of your elbow due to overuse of your forearm muscles. Thankfully, I offer a range of treatments, including cutting-edge therapies, helping you return to your activities pain-free.

Simple Marker

Understanding Tennis Elbow

Tennis elbow (lateral epicondylitis) is a painful condition affecting the tendons that attach to the bony bump on the outer side of your elbow. It’s important to understand the basics to take the first steps toward relief. Here’s what you need to know:

  • Symptoms: Pain on the outer elbow, worse with gripping, lifting, or extending the wrist against resistance.
  • Causes: Repetitive overuse of the forearm muscles involved in extending and gripping.
  • Treatment: Includes rest, non-surgical therapies, and sometimes newer treatments like PRP (platelet-rich plasma) injections or minimally invasive shockwave therapy.

Let’s work together to tackle your tennis elbow pain and restore your arm function!

Tennis Elbow FAQs

Tennis elbow is a painful condition possibly caused by overuse and strain of the forearm tendons that attach to the outside (lateral) part of the elbow.

No, while common in tennis players, various activities that involve repetitive wrist and forearm use can cause it. Examples include other sports, occupations like plumbing, painting, or computer work. Only 7% of people with tennis elbow played tennis regularly! 

  • Pain on the outside of the elbow, often radiating down the forearm.
  • Weakness in grip strength.
  • Pain aggravated by activities like gripping, lifting, or twisting the forearm.

I can diagnose it through a physical examination and your medical history. Imaging tests (X-ray, ultrasound, MRI) are rarely needed but can aid in ruling out other issues.

Avoiding painful stimuli: This is absolutely critical to you getting better exclamation month let your body heal and listen to the pain. it is telling you to stop.

    • Ice: Apply ice packs several times a day.
    • NSAIDs: Over-the-counter pain medications (ibuprofen, naproxen).
    • Counterforce Bracing: A forearm strap (Tennis elbow clasp) might lessen strain on tendons.
    • Physical Therapy: Specialised exercises strengthen forearm muscles and promote tendon healing. There are lots of physiotherapy videos online about eccentric stretching exercises but no exercises should cause pain.
    • Corticosteroid Injections: Short-term relief, should be used with caution. Most elbow surgeons come I like me would suggest Stir It injections only to get you through an acute episode like a contract or a wedding for example. it does not alter the Natural History and can make surgery less effective. 

PRP injections: I have not had to operate on tennis elbow since using PRP. it is covered by most insurance policies. The platelet rich plasma helps to heal the problem instead of just masking it like corticosteroid. See my information leaflet on PRP here.

Surgery is a rare option reserved for patients unresponsive to at least 6-12 months of nonsurgical treatment combined with significant impact on daily life.

Several surgical techniques exist. It usually involves either release or repair of the affected tendon. I do these under local anesthetic as a day case but, as I mentioned above, I have not had to do this for a six years since using PRP. 

Surgery is very successful in relieving pain for most. However, recovery and rehabilitation involve commitment to regaining lost strength and range of motion.

Yes, most cases resolve with time and conservative measures. Recovery may take weeks to many months.

  • Gradually increase activity levels.
  • Warm-up and stretch before exercises and sport.
  • Use proper technique (especially in sports like tennis).
  • Practice strengthening exercises for your forearm muscles.
  • Address ergonomics of work-related tasks.

If ignored, inflammation could worsen, causing increased pain and greater functional limitation. However, severe long-term consequences are uncommon.

Healing time varies widely. Often, a few weeks of initial rest combined with treatment aids improvement. For some, a few months to over a year may be needed for complete recovery.

During the initial painful phase, rest is important. Later, specific exercises guided by a physical or hand therapist play a crucial role in rehabilitation.

Certain massage techniques may offer some relief and promote healing. It’s best to consult a massage therapist experienced in treating musculoskeletal injuries.

In the acute (early, painful) stages, ice is preferable for reducing inflammation. With your therapist’s guidance, alternating or utilising heat later may support healing.

Short-term brace use for pain relief can be beneficial. However, relying on them heavily for an extended period could weaken muscles and delay recovery.

Research supporting other therapies is limited. Some include:

  • Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injections: see above
  • Shockwave therapy: Some benefits in short-term studies, but more research is needed.

This idea is not supported by medical evidence.

It’s possible and can happen with frequent strain of both arms. Consult a doctor for an accurate diagnosis and tailored treatment plan.

Your doctor, physical/hand therapist are prime sources. There is an information leaflet in my patient information section. 

Go to Top