Tennis Elbow (Lateral Epicondylitis)

Tennis elbow, medically known as lateral epicondylitis, is a common condition characterised by pain and inflammation in the tendons that connect your elbow to your forearm. It often occurs due to overuse or repeated strain on the elbow joint, particularly in activities that involve repetitive arm and wrist motions. Despite its name, tennis elbow is not limited to tennis players and can affect anyone who performs repetitive arm movements.

Symptoms

The primary symptoms of tennis elbow include:

  • Pain or burning on the outer part of your elbow
  • Weak grip strength
  • Pain when lifting or bending your arm
  • Pain when gripping small objects

Diagnosis

Diagnosis of tennis elbow comprises:

  • Physical examination: Your doctor will examine your elbow, wrist, and arm to identify any signs of pain or inflammation.
  • Imaging tests: X-rays, ultrasounds, or MRI scans might be used to rule out other conditions that could be causing your symptoms.

Prevention

Preventing tennis elbow involves:

  • Performing exercises to strengthen your forearm muscles
  • Using proper technique during activities that involve repetitive arm movements
  • Regularly taking breaks from repetitive tasks
  • Using protective equipment when necessary

Treatment Options

Tennis elbow can be treated using:

  • Physiotherapy: This involves exercises that stretch and strengthen the muscles in your forearm. You might also learn how to improve your posture to reduce strain on your elbow.
  • Pain Relievers: Over-the-counter pain relievers, such as ibuprofen or naproxen, can help reduce pain and inflammation.
  • Corticosteroid Injections: In more severe cases, corticosteroid injections might be used to alleviate symptoms.
  • Surgery: If conservative treatments are not effective, surgery might be necessary. This could involve removing damaged tissue or repairing the tendon. Recovery can take several months, and physiotherapy is usually required afterward.