Tennis elbow (lateral epicondylalgia) is a condition characterised by pain and weakness in the forearm as a result of injury or degeneration of the wrist extensors. The wrist extensors are a group of muscles that connect between the hand and elbow and are responsible for extending or pulling back the wrist and fingers. The most common site of pain is the outside of the elbow. Despite its name, most cases of tennis elbow present in people who do not play tennis.
Pain with gripping
Pain on stretching
Tight forearm muscles
Decreased movement at the wrist joint
Difficultly or inability to perform regular activities involving gripping
Recent increase in activity using the upper limbs
Excessive gripping and wringing activities for example hammering or knitting
Repetitive activities including typing and use of mouse
Tightness or weakness of the wrist extensors
Poor technique for example, a poor tennis shot
Acute injury to the site of the wrist extensors
Long history of repetitive injury resulting in muscle and tendon degeneration
In some cases symptoms of tennis elbow may be related to a problem in the neck
A physiotherapist will assess your pain and presentation in relation to your work, hobbies and lifestyle. Your physiotherapist can also determine if you pain is related purely to dysfunction of the wrist extensors or if there may be involvement of the neck structures.
They can then treat your condition with hands on techniques which may include massage, manual therapy, dry needling and taping. Your physiotherapist can provide advice on what you can do at home to further progress your treatment including stretching, strengthening exercises and activity modification. In some cases a brace may be of benefit.