Tennis elbow

Tennis elbow, otherwise known as lateral epicondylitis, is an overuse condition affecting the elbow, leading to inflammation of the tendons that join the forearm muscles on the outside of the elbow, causing a burning sensation, pain and tenderness in this area.

The forearm muscles and tendons near the elbow become damaged from overuse when repetitive motions are used, often at work or due to a particular sport. In most cases, like any other overuse injury, tennis elbow begins slowly, progressing over time.

What are the causes of tennis elbow?

Overuse injuries are the common cause of tennis elbow. Repetition of certain motions can put a strain on the tendons of the elbow, causing micro tears in these tendons. This leads to inflammation as the body attempts to heal itself. Over time, continued micro tears in the tendon can lead to tissue degeneration, leaving the tendon weakened and painful.

How is tennis elbow treated?

The aim for treatment is to stop the tendon from degenerating any further and to help the tendon heal. Non-surgical treatment methods may include rest, ice, braces, splints and anti-inflammatory medications. Physical therapy, extracorporeal shock wave therapy and steroid injections into the elbow joint may also be beneficial.

In cases where the pain is not reduced through these methods, surgery may be advised. In these cases, surgery is aimed at removing the diseased tissue and reducing the tension on the tendon.