Tennis Elbow

Lateral Epicondylitis

The Facts

Tennis elbow, also called lateral epicondylitis, is a very common injury that results from overuse, injury, or strain of the tendon that attaches the forearm muscles to the boney part of the outside of the elbow.

Called "tennis elbow" because tennis players are prone to getting it (50% of tennis players may have this condition), this medical condition is not limited to tennis players. Tennis elbow can occur with any activity that involves repetitive gripping, turning, bending, or extending the wrist backwards.

Tennis elbow mainly affects people between 40 and 50 years of age, but people of any age can be affected.


Tennis elbow is caused by overuse, strain, or injury to the tendon that attaches to the bone on the outside of the elbow (lateral epicondyle). This tendon is attached to the muscle that bends the hand backwards from the wrist. This results in tiny, microscopic tears in the tendon that causes inflammation and pain in the tendon.

Tennis elbow can be caused by any repetitive movements that involves bending the wrist in a turning or backwards motion (e.g., tennis, painting, hammering, using a screwdriver). Pain often comes on gradually but may be sudden, such as after lifting a very heavy object. In some cases, no specific cause can be found.

Tennis players are more likely to develop tennis elbow if they have improper technique or are using an inappropriate racket handle size or racket weight.

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The contents of this health site are for informational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition.

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