Tennis Elbow

Over the past few weeks at Range of Motion Physical Therapy in Lucan; I have seen a couple of clients reporting elbow pain. The pain has been consistent with Tennis Elbow, which is not normally relating to tennis players specifically, however one of my clients is a tennis player and recently changed her serve grip and pain started to flare up around her elbow a couple of weeks ago.

Tennis Elbow is an injury to the muscles and tendons on the outside (lateral aspect) of the elbow that results from overuse or repetitive stress. The narrowing of the muscle bellies of the forearm as they merge into the tendons create highly focused stress where they insert into the bone of the elbow.

Mechanism of Injury:

There are two main types of elbow pain, Lateral and Medial Epicondylitis

Lateral Epicondylitis: Injury to the lateral (outside) aspect of the elbow is the most common upper extremity injury. Tennis elbow is generally caused by overuse of the extensor tendons of the forearm, particularly the extensor carpi radialis brevis. Commonly experienced by the amateur player, this injury is often a result of poor technique.

Medial Epicondylitis: Medial (inside) epicondylitis is less common and also referred to as Golfers Elbow and characteristically occurs with wrist flexor activity and pronation. Medial (inside) epicondylitis can result from tremendous stress on the medial tissues of the elbow, also by improper pulling technique with certain swim strokes, especially the backstroke (also referred to as “swimmers elbow”).

It should also be noted that elbow epicondylitis is not limited to those playing tennis, golf or swimming and can result from any activity that puts the lateral or medial compartments of the elbow under similar repetitive stress and strain (e.g., hammering, turning a key, screw driver use, computer work etc).

Signs and Symptoms of Tennis Elbow:

  • difficulty holding onto, pinching, or gripping objects
  • pain, stiffness, or insufficient elbow and hand movement
  • forearm muscle tightness
  • insufficient forearm functional strength
  • point tenderness at or near the insertion sites of the muscles of the lateral or medial elbow

Rehabilitation: What Should you do?

Epicondylitis often becomes a chronic problem if not cared for properly and as soon as possible. For this reason, it must be stressed that the rehabilitation should not cause you pain. Rehabilitation should be progressive, working from Isometric to eccentric exercises and then building strength and flexibility before returning to your previous level of sports or activity.

The initial rehabilitation process should involve reducing inflammation and pain, following the RICE principle. Goal is to decrease inflammation and pain, promote tissue healing, and retard muscle atrophy.

Below is a progression of Home Exercises you can do for tennis Elbow:



Contact us at Range of Motion Physical Therapy, Lucan in order to be assessed and treated for any of the above conditions and to be guided through a progressive rehabilitation programme to ensure you return to pain free movement