What is it? Tennis elbow is a term used to describe an overuse injury of the lateral epicondyle of the humerus (outside of the elbow). Tennis elbow occurs when the tendons (primarily the extensor capri radialis brevis) of the forearm become inflammed or degenerated through repetitive overuse. Tennis elbow is not restricted to racket-sport players, and can affect anyone who participates in activities which vigorously use the forearm muscles.
Prevalence – Tennis elbow affects 1-3% of the general population and 15% of workers who are in at-risk industries such as laborers and office workers[i].
- Localised pain of the outer part of the elbow which can radiate into the forearm
- Exacerbation of pain with gripping and extending the wrist
- Restricted range of movement in the elbow particularly when extending the arm
- Repetitive overuse of the forearm muscles and upper limb i.e. racket sports, meat cutting, painting and typing
- Poor posture and ergonomic positioning
- Inappropriate equipment or poor technique whilst participating in the high risk activities
- Reduced strength and flexibility of the shoulder and scapula stability muscles
- Poor upper limb nerve dynamics, particularly the radial nerve
[i] Bisset, L., Beller, E., Jull, G., Brooks, P., Darnell, R. & Vicenzino, B. (2006). Mobilisation with movement and exercise, corticosteroid injection, or wait and see for tennis elbow: randomised trial. Biomedical Journal, 333, 939-945.Tennis Elbow 2