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Tennis Elbow

Lateral epicondylitis, also known as tennis elbow, is characterized by pain on the outside (lateral side) of the elbow. The pain is caused by damage to the tendons that bend the wrist backward away from the palm. Tennis elbow, as the name implies, can be caused by the repetitive force of the tennis racket hitting balls in the backhand position, but you do not have to play tennis to have this condition. The forearm muscles, which attach to the outside of the elbow, may become sore from excessive strain by a number of other repetitive motions, including:

  • gripping, lifting

  • acute injury (heavy lifting)

  • gardening

  • typing

Diagnostic procedures may include the following:


Symptoms include:

  • pain may be felt along the outside of the forearm and elbow

  • the pain may increase down to the wrist, even at rest, if the person continues the activity that causes the condition

  • pain may also persist when the arm and hand are placed palm-down on a table and the person tries to raise the hand against resistance


Treatment for tennis elbow includes stopping the activity that produces the symptoms and also may include:

  • ice pack application (to reduce inflammation)

  • strengthening exercises

  • anti-inflammatory medications

  • bracing

  • corticosteroid injections

  • surgery

Surgery for tennis elbow may involve:

  • cutting (releasing) the tendon

  • removing inflamed tissue from the tendon

  • repairing (reattaching) tendon tears

After Surgery/Recovery

Physical Therapy is a critical part of complete recovery. Our doctors recommend DMC's Rehabilitation Institute of Michigan, with 30 convenient locations across southeastern Michigan. To find one near you, click here. 

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