Tennis elbow is a condition where the outer part of the elbow becomes sore and tender. The strain happens to the lateral forearm muscles near their origin on the lateral rounded protuberance (condyle) at the end of the humerous (forearm bone).
It is commonly associated with playing tennis and other racquet sports, though the injury can happen to almost anybody.
Tennis elbow is more prevalent in individuals over 40. Tennis elbow equally affects both sexes and although men have a marginally higher overall prevalence rate as compared women, this is not consistent within each age group, nor is it a statistically significant difference.
- Recurring pain on the outside of the upper forearm just below the bend of the elbow; occasionally, pain radiates down the arm toward the wrist
- Pain caused by lifting or bending the arm or grasping even light objects such as a coffee cup
- Difficulty extending the full forearm fully because of inflamed muscles, tendons and ligaments
- Pain that typically lasts for six to 12 weeks; the discomfort can continue for as little as three weeks or as long as several years
Ways to prevent tennis elbow include:
- Decrease the amount of playing time if already injured or feel pain in outside part of elbow
- Stay in overall good physical shape
- strengthen the muscles of the forearm, upper arm, shoulder and upper back. Increased muscular strength will increase the stability of joints such as the elbow
- Like other sports, use equipment appropriate towards your ability, body size and muscular strength
Treatment should start with rest, anti-inflammatory medications, and a stretching routine. If those fail to cure tennis elbow, surgery may be considered, although this form of treatment is rare (fewer than 3 percent of patients).
One procedure is for the tendon to be cut loose from the epicondyle, the rounded bump at the end of the bone, which eliminates stress on the tendon but renders the muscle useless. Another surgical technique involves removing roughened or granulated tissue in the tendon and repairing tears.