Tennis Elbow

Tennis elbow – also called lateral epicondylitis – is a painful condition caused by overusing the tendons in your elbow by making repetitive motions of the wrist and arm. Although sports men and women are at risk, so too are people whose jobs require this type of movement, including carpenters, plumbers and butchers. The condition doesn’t just affect the elbow, but you may also feel pain in your wrist and forearm.

Causes of Tennis Elbow

Tennis elbow is the result of repeatedly contracting the muscles of your forearm which you use to straighten and lift your wrist or hand. Overusing these muscles can cause tiny tears in the tendons that attach the muscles to the bony bump on the outside of your elbow. People who participate in racket sports are particularly prone to the condition as certain strokes, such as backhand, can strain these muscles. Also those who work in certain types of job – such as plumbers, butchers and cooks – may be at risk Tennis Elbow. The condition is most common in adults between 30 and 50.

Symptoms of Tennis Elbow

Tennis Elbow causes pain that spreads from the outside of your elbow down into your forearm and wrist. Your hand and wrist may feel week and it may be difficult to grip or make a twisting movement, such as turning a doorknob or holding a cup.

Diagnosis of Tennis Elbow

A physical examination is normally sufficient to confirm a diagnosis of Tennis Elbow. Your doctor may ask you to make certain movements and grip so they can ascertain where you are feeling the pain and whether there is any weakness. If they suspect something else might be causing the pain, such as a fracture, you may be sent for an X-ray.

Treatment of Tennis Elbow

Tennis Elbow often gets better by itself with rest, painkillers and anti-inflammatories. Applying an ice pack three or four times a day can help to reduce swelling and you may need to wear a brace to support the injured tendons. A physiotherapist can recommend exercises to build strength in the forearm muscles while it is healing.

In some cases, more invasive procedures may be needed. We offer the following treatments for Tennis Elbow:

  • Injections of corticosteroids – An injection of steroids and local anaesthetic into the damaged tissue can relieve pain and reduce inflammation to help you manage the symptoms of Tennis Elbow.
  • Dry needling – This involves repeatedly piercing the damaged tendon with a needle to encourage natural healing.
  • Platelet-rich Plasma Injections – This involves taking a sample of your own blood and spinning it in a centrifuge to separate out the plasma. This concentration of plasma is then re-injected into your damaged elbow to speed up the healing process.
  • Shockwave therapy – High energy shockwaves are passed through the skin to relieve pain and promote movement in thee affected area.
  • Surgery – In the worst cases, surgery is sometimes needed to remove the damaged  section of tendon. This may be performed arthroscopically (keyhole surgery) or using conventional open surgical techniques.


We are an experienced and highly qualified team of orthopaedic surgeons using the latest surgical and non-surgical techniques to eliminate or reduce pain so our patients can experience the best possible quality of life.


Whether you have an existing diagnosis or you are keen to discover what is causing your symptoms, contact us to arrange a consultation. We can organise any tests you require and discuss your treatment options.

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