Tennis Elbow

Tennis Elbow, also known as lateral epicondylitis, results from damage and disorganised healing of the tendon over the elbow’s outer aspect that helps raise the wrist.

Causes  |  Symptoms  |  Treatment Options

What Causes a Tennis Elbow?

Repetitive wrist movements can result in increased wear and tear of the tendon over the outer aspect of the elbow. This can result in disorganised healing or even tears of the surrounding tendons and ligaments. 

Alternatively, one may suffer from an acute tear which is the result of an injury. This can occur if you fall with an outstretched arm or try to lift a heavy object incorrectly. An acute tear can also happen together with other shoulder-related conditions such as a dislocated shoulder.

Some activities that may cause Tennis Elbow include:

  • Racquet sports such as Tennis and Badminton
  • Gardening using Shears
  • Painting
  • Using Plumbing Tools
  • Playing the Violin

What are the Symptoms of a Tennis Elbow?

Tennis elbow can range from mild pain while performing minor tasks to severe pain even when the elbow is at rest. The pain tends to increase as one engages in activities that involve heavy wrist movement. 

Some of the early signs of the painful condition include: 

  • Pain over the outer aspect of the elbow that worsens with carrying heavy loads 
  • Persistent aching around the elbow joint area
  • Worsening pain when grasping or holding an object
  • Tenderness in the elbow area followed by soreness of the forearm muscles

Tennis Elbow Treatment

Tennis elbow tends to heal on its own, with adequate rest and activity modification. Taking a break from strenuous activities that strain the elbow joint muscles and tendons can help speed up the healing process. 

Non-Surgical Treatment for Tennis Elbow

    • Physiotherapy and Activity Modification
      Targeted stretching, strengthening, and flexibility exercises can help alleviate pain and improve elbow function. Changing your tennis racquet’s grip size and string tension and avoiding playing with wet tennis balls can also help reduce the chance of recurrence of this problem.
    • Medication
      Medication may be prescribed to help manage your symptoms. Our doctors may prescribe anti-inflammatory drugs or paracetamol.

Surgical Treatment for Tennis Elbow

Surgery is a treatment option for persistent cases of tennis elbow where non-surgical approaches have failed.  

    • Elbow Arthroscopy
      In some cases, elbow arthroscopy is first performed to rule out other causes of elbow pain and assess the stability of the elbow. The standard surgical treatment for tennis elbow involves cleaning up the damaged tendon and repairing it where possible.
    • Elbow Tendon Repair or Reconstruction
      Surgery generally involves cleaning up and repairing the damaged tendon. However, if the damaged tendon is irreparable, our doctor may attempt a reconstruction.