What is it?

A condition known as lateral epicondylitis, commonly referred to as tennis elbow, involves swelling of the tendons that bend your wrist away from your palm. Tennis elbow is usually diagnosed in both men and women between the ages of 30 and 50 years.

Often, tennis elbow is caused by hitting balls with a tennis racket while playing backhand.

In spite of this, many people with tennis elbow do not play tennis.

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Additional names

This group contains additional names:
- Tennis Elbow
- Lateral Epicondylitis

Signs & symptoms

There may be pain, burning, or an ache along the outside of your forearm and elbow. The pain worsens over time. You may experience wrist pain even at rest if you continue the activity that caused your condition. Trying to raise your hand against resistance after placing your arm and hand palm-down on a table may also cause pain. Lifting and gripping small objects, such as a coffee cup, can also cause pain. Another symptom of tennis elbow is a weak grip.

Diagnosis

A physical exam can usually diagnose tennis elbow. The following tests may be performed in some cases:

Checking for arthritis in your elbow by taking an X-ray of its bones.

A magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) can reveal how severely your tendons have been damaged. An MRI of your neck can reveal whether your arm pain is caused by arthritis in your neck or disk problems in your spine.

An electromyography (EMG) of your elbow may show if you have any nerve problems.

Treatment

Avoid the movements that caused your injury in the first place. Among the treatment options are:

Stopping the activity that causes the symptoms and resting

Inflammation can be reduced with ice packs

Exercises that strengthen and stretch

Ibuprofen and naproxen (anti-inflammatory medicines)

Your healthcare provider may suggest the following treatments if these treatments do not work:

Using a special brace with activities for a few weeks or bracing the area to keep it still

Injections of steroids to reduce swelling and pain

Healing ultrasound that breaks up scar tissue, increases blood flow, and promotes healing

There is rarely a need for surgery

☝️ This is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Please consult with your physician before making any medical decision.

Learn more about our editorial process for content accuracy.

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