Tennis elbow (lateral epicondylitis) is inflammation of the tendons around the bony bump on the outside of the elbow. The inflammation is typically caused by prolonged, excessive or repeated use of the forearm muscles. Tennis elbow affects men and women equally, peaking in incidence between the ages of 30-50.
The injury occurs not only in sporting actvities such as tennis, squash and badminton but also in day to day activities such as carpentry, sewing, screwdriving, gardening and typing.
Typical symptoms include aching, throbbing or tenderness on the outer elbow that can be made worse by seemingly trivial movements such as carrying bags, chopping food and even turning door knobs.
The treatment of tennis elbow revolves around ceasing or limiting the activity that is aggravating the pain, icing the area and then addressing the muscle imbalance in the forearms. Deep soft tissue massage and trigger point therapy can help alleviate the tension in the forearm and rehabilitation exercises can return strength to the area.
Further consideration in tennis players is to take lessons to improve the backhand technique, increase the grip size to reduce grip tightness and avoiding playing with wet, heavy balls.