Where Does Tennis Elbow Hurt

Introduction to Tennis Elbow

Tennis elbow, clinically known as lateral epicondylitis, is a common condition characterized by pain and tenderness on the outer part of the elbow. Despite its name, tennis elbow doesn’t only affect tennis players; it can occur in anyone who repeatedly uses their forearm muscles, leading to overuse and strain. But Where Does Tennis Elbow Hurt ?

Understanding Tennis Elbow Pain

Definition of Tennis Elbow

Tennis elbow is a type of tendinopathy, which involves the inflammation or degeneration of the tendons in the forearm muscles that attach to the bony bump on the outside of the elbow.

Anatomy of the Elbow Joint

To understand where tennis elbow hurts, it’s essential to grasp the anatomy of the elbow joint. The outer part of the elbow is primarily composed of tendons, ligaments, and muscles that facilitate movement and stability.

Tennis ELbow

Common Symptoms of Tennis Elbow

Pain Location

The primary symptom of tennis elbow is pain and tenderness on the outer part of the elbow. This pain may radiate down the forearm and can worsen with gripping or lifting objects.

Activities That Aggravate Tennis Elbow

Certain activities exacerbate tennis elbow pain, such as gripping objects, lifting heavy items, shaking hands, or even turning a doorknob.

Causes of Tennis Elbow

Overuse and Repetitive Motions

The most common cause of tennis elbow is overuse and repetitive motions of the forearm muscles, leading to micro-tears in the tendons.

Incorrect Technique

Engaging in activities with improper technique, such as using poor form while playing tennis or performing manual labor, can increase the risk of developing tennis elbow.

Age and Gender Factors

Tennis elbow is more prevalent in individuals aged 30 to 50 and tends to affect men and women equally.

Risk Factors Associated with Tennis Elbow


Jobs that involve repetitive arm motions, such as painting, plumbing, or carpentry, increase the risk of developing tennis elbow.

Sports Participation

Apart from tennis, sports like golf, squash, and fencing can also contribute to the development of tennis elbow due to the repetitive arm movements involved.

Age and Gender

As mentioned earlier, age and gender play a role in the prevalence of tennis elbow, with middle-aged individuals being more susceptible.

Diagnosis of Tennis Elbow

Physical Examination

Diagnosing tennis elbow typically involves a physical examination, where the doctor assesses the range of motion of the elbow and identifies areas of tenderness.

Imaging Tests

In some cases, imaging tests like X-rays or MRI scans may be ordered to rule out other conditions or assess the extent of tendon damage.

Treatment Options for Tennis Elbow

Rest and Activity Modification

The initial treatment for tennis elbow involves resting the affected arm and avoiding activities that exacerbate pain. Modifying techniques or equipment can also help alleviate symptoms.

Physical Therapy

Physical therapy focuses on strengthening and stretching exercises to improve forearm muscle strength and flexibility, reducing strain on the tendons.


Over-the-counter pain relievers like ibuprofen or naproxen may help alleviate pain and inflammation associated with tennis elbow.


Corticosteroid injections may be administered directly into the affected area to reduce inflammation and provide temporary pain relief.

Surgical Options

In severe cases of tennis elbow that do not respond to conservative treatments, surgery may be recommended to remove damaged tissue or repair the tendon.

Preventive Measures for Tennis Elbow

Proper Technique and Equipment

Using proper technique and ergonomic equipment can help prevent tennis elbow. For example, maintaining a neutral wrist position and using lightweight, well-balanced tools can reduce strain on the forearm muscles.

Strengthening and Stretching Exercises

Incorporating specific exercises to strengthen and stretch the forearm muscles can improve their resilience to repetitive stress and reduce the risk of developing tennis elbow.

Rest and Recovery

Allowing adequate rest between activities and taking breaks to stretch and relax the forearm muscles can help prevent overuse injuries like tennis elbow.

Lifestyle Changes to Manage Tennis Elbow

Ergonomic Adjustments

Making ergonomic adjustments in the workplace or during recreational activities, such as using supportive braces or modifying workstations, can help reduce strain on the elbows and forearms.

Regular Exercise Routine

Maintaining a balanced exercise routine that includes activities to strengthen the upper body and improve flexibility can support overall joint health and reduce the risk of developing tennis elbow.


Tennis elbow is a common overuse injury characterized by pain and tenderness on the outer part of the elbow. Understanding the causes, symptoms, and treatment options for tennis elbow is essential for effective management and prevention. By incorporating proper technique, rest, and targeted exercises, individuals can alleviate symptoms and maintain optimal elbow health.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

1. Is tennis elbow only caused by playing tennis?

No, tennis elbow can occur due to various activities involving repetitive arm movements, not just tennis.

2. Can tennis elbow heal on its own without treatment?

In mild cases, tennis elbow may improve with rest and conservative measures. However, severe or persistent symptoms may require medical intervention.

3. How long does it take to recover from tennis elbow?

Recovery time varies depending on the severity of the condition and the effectiveness of treatment. It may take weeks to months to fully recover from tennis elbow.

4. Are there any exercises to avoid if I have tennis elbow?

Activities that involve repetitive wrist extension or gripping should be avoided or modified to prevent exacerbating tennis elbow symptoms.

5. Can tennis elbow recur after treatment?

Yes, tennis elbow can recur, especially if the underlying causes, such as overuse or improper technique, are not addressed.