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Tennis Elbow - Symptoms, Causes & Treatment Options

Tennis Elbow Treatment

What is Tennis Elbow?

Tennis elbow, medically known as lateral epicondylitis, is a common overuse injury that affects the tendons on the outside of the elbow. Despite its name, tennis elbow can occur in individuals who don't play tennis, other similar sports, such as badminton, may be a cause of lateral epicondylitis too. It is characterized by inflammation or degeneration of the tendons that attach to the bony prominence (lateral epicondyle) on the outer side of the elbow.

The condition typically develops as a result of repetitive motion and strain on the tendons in the forearm, particularly those that attach to the lateral epicondyle. Activities that involve repetitive gripping, twisting, or lifting motions, such as tennis, golf, gardening, or manual labor, can contribute to the development of tennis elbow. Poor technique or equipment use during sports or occupational activities can also increase the risk.

Primary Symptoms of Tennis Elbow

Symptoms of tennis elbow may include:

  • Pain: Pain and tenderness on the outside of the elbow, particularly during activities that involve gripping or lifting objects.

  • Weakness: Weakness in the wrist or forearm, making it difficult to perform everyday tasks such as shaking hands or turning a doorknob.

  • Stiffness: Stiffness or limited range of motion in the elbow joint, especially after periods of rest or in the morning.

  • Radiating Pain: Pain that radiates from the elbow down the forearm, sometimes extending to the wrist or fingers.

Causes and Risk Factors of Tennis Elbow

Several factors may contribute to the development of tennis elbow, including:

Repetitive Motion: Engaging in activities that involve repetitive gripping, twisting, or lifting motions, such as tennis, golf, gardening, or manual labor, can strain the tendons in the elbow and lead to inflammation.


  • Poor Technique: Improper technique or equipment use during sports or occupational activities can increase the risk of tennis elbow.

  • Age and Overuse: Aging and overuse of the tendons can weaken the tissue and make it more susceptible to injury.

  • Occupational Factors: Certain occupations or professions that require repetitive arm movements or heavy lifting may increase the risk of developing tennis elbow.

  • Previous Injury: A history of elbow injury or trauma can predispose individuals to developing tennis elbow.

Tennis Elbow Diagnosis by Medical Professionals

Medical professionals diagnose tennis elbow through a combination of methods, including:

  • Physical Examination: Examination of the elbow joint, assessment of pain, tenderness, and range of motion, and evaluation of strength and muscle function.

  • Medical History: Gathering information about the onset, duration, and characteristics of symptoms, as well as any activities or occupations that may contribute to the development of tennis elbow.

  • Imaging Tests: X-rays, ultrasound, or MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) scans may be ordered to rule out other conditions and assess the extent of tendon damage.

Tennis Elbow Treatment Approach

The treatment approach for tennis elbow typically involves a combination of conservative measures aimed at reducing pain, inflammation, and promoting healing. Here's a breakdown of the treatment approach for tennis elbow and the role chiropractic care may play:

  1. Rest and Activity Modification: Resting the affected arm and avoiding activities that exacerbate symptoms is often the first step in treatment. This allows the inflamed tendons to heal. Chiropractors may provide guidance on activity modification to prevent further aggravation of symptoms.

  2. Ice Therapy: Applying ice packs to the affected area for 15-20 minutes several times a day can help reduce pain and inflammation. Chiropractors may recommend ice therapy as part of the initial management of tennis elbow.

  3. Physical Therapy: Physical therapy exercises and techniques play a crucial role in the treatment of tennis elbow. These exercises focus on stretching and strengthening the muscles and tendons surrounding the elbow joint, improving flexibility, and promoting proper biomechanics. Chiropractors may incorporate specific exercises and manual therapy techniques into their treatment plans to address muscle imbalances and joint dysfunction contributing to tennis elbow.

  4. Bracing or Splinting: Wearing a brace or splint to immobilize the elbow and reduce stress on the tendons during activities may provide pain relief and support. Chiropractors may recommend or provide braces or splints as part of the treatment plan.

  5. Medications: Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen or naproxen may be recommended to alleviate pain and reduce inflammation. Chiropractors do not prescribe medications but may advise patients to consult with their primary care physician or a medical doctor for medication management if necessary.

  6. Manual Therapy: Chiropractors are trained in various manual therapy techniques, including soft tissue mobilization, joint manipulation, and mobilization. These techniques can help reduce muscle tension, improve joint function, and alleviate pain associated with tennis elbow.

  7. Education and Lifestyle Modification: Chiropractors may provide education on ergonomic principles, proper lifting techniques, and lifestyle modifications to prevent recurrence of tennis elbow and promote long-term joint health.

Can Tennis Elbow Be Cured Without Treatment?

While mild cases of tennis elbow may improve with rest and self-care measures, seeking early intervention and appropriate treatment is essential for managing symptoms, promoting healing, and preventing chronicity.

Tennis Elbow Recovery Period

The recovery period for tennis elbow varies depending on the severity of symptoms, the effectiveness of treatment, and individual factors such as age and overall health. With proper management and adherence to treatment recommendations, many individuals can experience significant improvement in symptoms within a few weeks to a few months.

Tennis Elbow Complications and Takeaway

Complications of untreated or poorly managed tennis elbow may include chronic pain, weakness, and limitations in functional activities. However, with a comprehensive treatment plan tailored to individual needs, most individuals with tennis elbow can effectively manage their symptoms and return to normal activities.

For personalized care and effective treatment options for tennis elbow, visit Bliss Chiropractic and Physiotherapy Centre. Our experienced team offers comprehensive services to help you recover from tennis elbow, alleviate pain, and regain strength and mobility in your arm. Contact us today to schedule your consultation and take the first step towards healing.


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