Pain in Your Elbow? You Could Have Tennis Elbow

Tennis elbow is a common condition and you may even have had it before or known someone who has.  Sometimes it can clear up in no time or at times it can be persistent taking months to settle. Clinically it’s called lateral epicondylitis as the condition affects the outer boney part of the elbow or lateral epicondyle.

If you think you may have tennis elbow, look out for pain, which is felt on the outer aspect of your elbow. You may also get pain performing activities such as picking up items or turning a key.  Bending or straightening your elbow can also be painful.  It’s typically an overuse activity so you may have been playing lots of tennis, typing, decorating or playing a musical instrument.  Muscles that control out wrist and finger movements originate at the elbow, on a spot called the lateral epicondyle. Small tears can occur in these muscles causing weakness and pain and inflammation can also develop.

In treating tennis elbow, firstly ensure that you have a proper diagnosis either from your GP or your physiotherapist. Some other conditions can masquerade as tennis elbow so having the correct diagnosis means receiving the correct advice and treatment.  Carrying out stretches and eccentric (lengthening the muscle) exercises are shown to be effective in treating this condition.  Within 6-8 weeks of completing your exercises you should notice a difference.  Do rest the elbow from aggravating factors, for example, if your mouse at work aggravates it then change hands.  It’s also a good idea to have a workstation assessment to ensure that you’re sitting correctly at your desk.  There are also braces that can help to alleviate some of the pain around your elbow and taking paracetamol and using ice on the area a few times a day can help to reduce the pain.  However, don’t directly apply ice to the skin, wrap it in a tea towel or plastic bag.

Research has shown that physiotherapy can be effective in reducing pain caused by tennis elbow and your physiotherapist can spot and address caustic factors, treating these by mobilising the elbow joint, relieving tight muscles, as well as massaging, using acupuncture, taping and other modalities.

Are you suffering from tennis elbow?  Our highly specialist physios are able to see you at work or at home and we can usually arrange the first appointment within 24 hours.  Contact us today on 0207 884 0374 or email

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