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Tennis Elbow

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What is Tennis Elbow?

Tennis elbow is a condition where the tendons of the forearm become sore and painful. This condition is also known as lateral epicondylitis or lateral epicondylalgia in medical terms. Although called tennis elbow, it can occur due to repetitive movements in other sports such as swimming, baseball, bowling, golfing, etc.

Tennis elbow can plague any person who carries out repetitive arm movement. The overuse of the arm tendons causes the outer elbow to become inflexible and very painful to touch. Tennis elbow requires one to rest their arms to get relief. Over-the-counter medications are also very useful in getting rid of the pain.

Causes of Tennis Elbow

Tennis elbow as mentioned earlier is caused due to overuse of the elbow. The repetitive actions of the arms cause stress on the extensor muscle-tendons. This makes the muscles sore and leads to pain. Another cause of tennis elbow is trauma. When a sudden force or action causes swelling of the tendon, it leads to discomfort and pain.  In some cases, loss of internal rotation of the elbow can lead to pain in elbow after a game of tennis.

Symptoms of Tennis Elbow

The signs of tennis elbow include:

  • Pain felt around the outer side of the elbow
  • Pain tends to worsen when one tries to hold or squeeze something
  • Pain increases when one moves the wrist or tries to use hand for daily tasks like opening jars, lifting objects or even brushing teeth.


Diagnosis of tennis elbow does not require one to undergo specific tests. No X-ray or blood tests will help diagnose tennis elbow. The doctor will treat you for tennis elbow only after you give a clear description of your symptoms and from physical examination. However, if  the doctor thinks the cause of pain is something else, he may ask you to undergo an X ray, MRI and  electromyography. This will help locate the affected area and remove any doubts related to fracture or arthritis.


Tennis elbow can get better with use of over-the-counter pain killers and application of heat compression. One can prevent tennis elbow by learning the proper technique to play tennis. Physical therapy exercises may also help in stretching your muscles and overcoming the constant pain. Some people may benefit with the use of certain braces like a strap that reduces stress to the elbow. People suffering from constant pain may have to undergo a surgery to remove the damaged tissue.

This was all about tennis elbow and its symptoms. Avoid carrying out repetitive movements and give ample rest to the injured arm. Tennis elbow will get cured in a week or so.

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Written by: Saptakee sengupta
Date last updated: March 02, 2015

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