What Causes Tennis Elbow?

Most of the muscles that extend down your wrist are attached to a bony bump on the outside of your elbow that is known as the lateral epicondyle.

Sometimes, either by injury or overuse, the site where these muscles insert can start to become either irritated or inflamed. This condition is known as lateral epicondylitis or "tennis elbow"- although the majority of those affected do not have to play tennis.

Activities That Create Or Aggravate Tennis Elbow.

The most common way for this condition to be created is from activities that involve repetitive wrist extension and gripping.” Then for examples please add “golf and mountain biking.

Some examples of this include i.e., tennis, carpentry, bricklaying, knitting, playing piano, typing, or lifting objects with your palm facing down. The condition is more likely to be in your dominant arm for most activities but in the non-dominant arm in golf.

The pain will typically begin as an intermittent or gradual discomfort during activity and then it progresses so that even simple activities, like holding a coffee cup, can become painful. Pain may in some cases increase when you straighten your arm, grip a doorknob or shake hands. The pain can also vary from mild to severe and commonly radiates into the forearm, sometimes to the wrist.

How Should Tennis Elbow Be Treated?

Without any treatment, "tennis elbow" will often linger - 80% of patients still report pain after one year.

As always resolution starts with finding the true cause but in the short run for symptom relief changing behaviors and habits to lessen stress across the elbow can be helpful.  Sometimes braces and straps can be helpful, sometimes ice or sports creams like PRoZE “nerve” can help.  Here's a link for you to buy it at a discounted price


Manual therapy also has a place in treatment but may be to a nerve or the neck or a distance muscle not just at the elbow. These problems often have contributors throughout the upper extremity.   

Keep in mind once this problem has been around 12 weeks or longer it is less of an acute inflammatory problem but more of a chronic degenerative one.  We have to treat these differently.  Had a bunch of Advil or cortisone shot for your “tendonitis” but no help?  That’s because it wasn’t tendonitis. It was tendonosis. Similar names, different treatment strategies.   

Tennis elbow can be diagnosed in seconds but the root cause is often a challenge to find. This is why you save money and time seeing a skilled clinician who is capable to treating all the potential causes not just easing inflammation especially after 12 weeks because inflammation is no longer there then. After 12 weeks its not inflammatory its degenerative.  Different game.

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