What is tennis elbow?

Tennis elbow or lateral epicondylitis is a painful over-use injury that affects the lateral (outer) elbow and develops gradually over time.  The affected soft tissues involved in tennis elbow are the forearm extensor muscle group and the common extensor tendon.  The forearm extensor muscle group travels from the back of the wrist and join at the common extensor tendon.  Via the common extensor tendon the group attaches to the bony bump on the outside of the elbow called the lateral epicondyle. 

The repetitive contracting of the forearm muscles during hand and forearm activities can shorten and contract the muscles causing strain and micro tears in the common extensor tendon. The strain and micro tearing of the tendon eventually develops into pain and swelling at the site of attached on the outer elbow.

Individuals that suffer from tennis elbow will often experience tenderness and pain on the common extensor tendon, which can radiate from the outside of the elbow down the forearm to the wrist. Some may also develop pain and weakness when opening jars, using a screwdriver, playing racket sports, shaking hands and gripping objects. 

Despite its name "tennis elbow" more often then not affects people who do not play tennis. Those most at risk for this condition are those whose jobs or activities involve repetitive use of the hands and forearms such as: carpenters, plumbers, weight lifters, climbers, tennis players, martial artists, office and construction workers.

Like all forms of tendonitis, tennis elbow does respond to treatment, however the most effective way to treat it is by avoiding developing it, or by limiting your chances of developing it again. Below are four tips to help prevent tennis elbow.



1.  Perform a pre-activity or pre-work warm up

Before performing work or sports related activities take a few minutes to warm the muscles of hands, forearm, upper arms and shoulders.


2. Stretching

 Develop a daily stretching routine that targets the muscles of the hands, forearms, upper arms and shoulders.


3. Rest days

Take days off from training and the sports related activities that can aggravate the condition.  If you perform repetitive tasks at work try and avoid these tasks and other repetitive tasks of the hands and forearms on your days off. 


4. Have your therapist work on it

If you get Massage Therapy, Active Release, Acupuncture or another form of soft tissue therapy, ask your therapist from time to time to give your hands and forearms a little extra attention.  


For any questions or to book a free initial consultation please call my office or visit my website www.kelownaacupunctureclinic.com

This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.

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About the Author

Ryan Samuels is a Registered Acupuncturist and Chinese Medical Herbalist (R.Ac, R.TCMP) at KLO Chiropractic Centre in Kelowna. He holds a Doctor of Traditional Chinese Medicine diploma, and has a special interest in the treatment of digestive issues, neuropathy, acute & chronic pain, sports injuries, and migraines.  All treatments with Ryan are individualized and designed around your current physical and mental well being. 

Website link:  http://www.kelownaacupunctureclinic.com/

Contact Email:  [email protected] 

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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