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What is Tennis Elbow?

Tennis elbow, scientifically known as lateral epicondylitis, is a condition characterized by pain and tenderness on the outside (lateral part) of the elbow. This condition arises from overuse or strain of the forearm muscles and tendons, especially those that extend the wrist and fingers. Despite its name, tennis elbow doesn't only affect tennis players; it can occur in anyone who performs repetitive tasks that can strain the forearm muscles, such as painting, typing, or using a screwdriver.

Causes and Symptoms

The primary cause of tennis elbow is repetitive or excessive strain on the forearm muscles and tendons. This repetitive motion can lead to micro-tears in the tendon attached to the lateral epicondyle, the bony prominence on the outside of the elbow.

Symptoms of tennis elbow include:

- Pain and tenderness on the outside of the elbow, which may extend into the forearm and wrist

- Pain when lifting or bending the arm

- Pain when gripping small objects, such as a pen

- Pain when twisting the forearm, such as turning a door handle or opening a jar

- Weakness in the forearm

Does Physiotherapy Treat Tennis Elbow?

Yes, physiotherapy is highly effective in treating tennis elbow. It is a preferred non-surgical treatment method that aims to alleviate pain, reduce inflammation, restore normal joint range of motion, and strengthen the forearm muscles. The goals of physiotherapy for tennis elbow include:

- Pain Management: Techniques such as ice therapy, soft tissue massage, and the use of ultrasound or electrical stimulation can help reduce pain and inflammation.

- Stretching Exercises: Gentle stretching exercises can help relieve tension and improve flexibility in the forearm muscles.

- Strengthening Exercises: As pain decreases, specific exercises aimed at strengthening the forearm muscles are introduced to prevent recurrence.

- Manual Therapy: Hands-on techniques may be used by the physiotherapist to mobilize the elbow joint and surrounding tissues to improve function.

- Education and Advice: Physiotherapists can provide advice on activity modification, ergonomic changes, and preventive measures to avoid strain on the elbow.


Tennis elbow, while painful and potentially debilitating, can be effectively managed and treated with physiotherapy. Through a combination of pain management techniques, exercises, and lifestyle modifications, individuals suffering from tennis elbow can experience significant relief and return to their daily activities without discomfort. If you suspect you have tennis elbow, consulting a physiotherapist for a tailored treatment plan is a crucial step towards recovery.

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