Elbow Pain on the outer side / Tennis Elbow (Lateral Epicondylitis)

Tennis elbow, also known as lateral epicondylitis, is a painful condition that affects the tendons in the forearm and the outside of the elbow. It mainly affects the Extensor Carpi Radialis Brevis muscle tendon. Despite its name, tennis elbow is not limited to tennis players and can affect anyone who performs repetitive arm and wrist motions.

It is the most common cause for elbow pain and discomfort and affects around 1-3% of adults. It most commonly involves the dominant arm.


Tennis elbow is typically caused by overuse of the forearm muscles and tendons that control wrist extension and finger movement. It often results from activities that involve gripping, twisting, or lifting with the hand and wrist.

About 50% of all the tennis players develop this condition at some part of their career. The most common causes of this in tennis players are - improper training, poor swing technique, heavy racket, incorrect grip size or holding of the racket, improper tensioning of the racket string etc.


Common symptoms of tennis elbow include

  • pain and tenderness on the outer part of the elbow
  • weakness in the affected arm, and difficulty with gripping and lifting objects. The pain can radiate down the forearm.
  • Numbness in an around the elbow and forearm


  • X-rays:

    To rule out any calcifications in the muscle tendons and other pathologies like arthritis.

  • Ultrasound Scan:

    To identify ECRB tendon pathologies.

  • Lab Tests:

    To rule out conditions like elevated uric acid levels.

  • MRI Scan:

    Very rarely done.

    Identifies tendon tears if present.


Diagnosis is usually based on the patient's medical history, a physical examination, and sometimes imaging studies like X-rays or MRI to rule out other conditions.


Treatment options for tennis elbow may include:

  • Rest: Reducing or modifying the activities that exacerbate the condition.
  • Physical Therapy: Specific exercises to strengthen and stretch the forearm muscles and tendons.
  • Bracing: Wearing a brace or forearm strap might reduce strain on the tendons. But we don’t usually recommend this.
  • Medications: Over-the-counter pain relievers or prescription anti-inflammatory drugs.
  • Corticosteroid Injections: In some cases, corticosteroid injections may be recommended to reduce inflammation.
  • Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) Therapy: A procedure in which a patient's own blood is used to promote healing.
  • Surgery: In severe cases where conservative treatments have failed, surgical options like tendon repair may be considered.


To prevent tennis elbow, it's essential to use proper technique and ergonomics during activities that involve repetitive arm movements. Gradual conditioning, stretching, and strengthening exercises for the forearm and wrist can also help reduce the risk.


Recovery time can vary depending on the severity of the condition and the chosen treatment. Most people can recover fully with conservative treatments. However, it may take several weeks or even months for the pain to subside completely.

It's important to consult us for an accurate diagnosis and a treatment plan tailored to your specific situation if you suspect you have tennis elbow. Early intervention and appropriate treatment can help alleviate symptoms and prevent long-term issues.

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