Tennis Elbow (Lateral Epicondylitis)

A person experiencing pain from Tennis Elbow

Tennis Elbow, also known as Lateral Epicondylitis, is a tendinopathy of the muscles at the outside of the elbow.  Although the name suggests that it is caused by tennis, only 5% of all tennis elbow cases are related to tennis!  The most common causes of this condition include computer use, heavy lifting, repetitive twisting of the forearm and vibration.  It is characterized by outside elbow/forearm pain with activities such as gripping, lifting even just a cup of coffee, pouring a glass of juice and twisting.  

Self management of symptoms can include limiting the aggravating activities, a tennis elbow brace to reduce the pain during muscle contraction, gentle stretching of the forearm and progressive strengthening with load management.

Tennis Elbow Exercises

Below is a simple stretch for the forearm to help with Tennis Elbow:

  1. Forearm stretch
Tennis Elbow exercise forearm stretch

When the tendon is able to tolerate a load, we want to start with an isometric load (resistance without movement), progressing to an eccentric load (negative loading) to build muscle and forearm strength.

This is an example of an isometric exercise that may be performed.

  1. Isometric forearm strength 
Tennis Elbow exercise isometric forearm strength

A physiotherapy assessment plays an important role in diagnosing the condition and then determining the appropriate course of treatment.  Physiotherapy intervention may include manual therapy, dry needling and exercise prescription.  

Leave a Reply