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Causes, Signs and Treatment of Lateral Epicondylitis (Tennis Elbow)

The tennis elbow is known by many, as the condition which Sachin Tendulkar had faced.

Thus, it gives an obscure Idea of an elbow injury common in players.

However, this is not only concerned with Sports fracture. Yet in reality, others may suffer from this without even acknowledging it. 

Meaning of Tennis Elbow or Lateral Epicondylitis?

Lateral epicondylitis is a painful weakening of the tendons that joins forearm muscles to Bones.

Tendons and Forearm muscles deteriorate with excessive use- repeating the same movement multiple times.

Therefore pain and tenderness can be felt outside of the elbow. It causes pain when doing things like stretching, lifting, and grasping.

It can occur in people of any age, but it is most common in people around 40 years of age.

This not only affects sportspersons but also Mechanics, home builders and plumbers can also become sufferers of this. 

Causes of Tennis Elbow

Primarily the reason is excessive use. Therefore, the question arises: How can one overuse the joint of an elbow?

Well, the answer lies in the fact that if the tasks which involve the usage of the forearm are performed repeatedly with force for a certain time period then it causes the problem of tennis elbow. 

To clearly understand the causes of Lateral Epicondylitis, lets first have a look at the Structure of the joint and understand it

An elbow joint usually consists of three bones 

The upper arm bone is known as Humerus.

The Two other bones in the Forearm known as Radius and Ulna.

Extensor carpi radialis brevis (ECRB) is a small muscle that helps straighten the wrist.

Overuse occurs due to repeated functions using the ECRB muscle, such as tennis, Racquetball, Squash, Fencing, Weight Lifting, Knitting,  Carpentry, Typing, Painting, etc.

Symptoms of Tennis Elbow

The Symptoms of tennis elbow originate moderately.

At first, the pain starts mildly and gradually worsens with the passage of time, it might be a few weeks or months.

Usually, there are no significant injuries linked with the onset of signs.

The Seriousness proliferated when similar tasks are performed.

Lateral epicondylitis puts more impact on the active arm, but sometimes it can influence both elbows.

If this is not taken under consideration then with the passage of time symptoms become worse and even affect the performance of small tasks like lifting a teacup.

Treatment for Lateral Epicondylitis 

Non-Surgical Treatment

The main purpose of the treatment of tennis elbow is to relieve pain and control inflammation.

Painkillers: The non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs advised by a doctor to relieve pain and inflammation.

Rest: Relax the arm and wrist and do not perform painful actions.

Brace: A restrictive lease provides comfort, support, and prevention to worsen the situation.

The braces function as assisted muscles to ECRB and are a suitable option for patients suffering from extreme levels of pain and are unable to respond to other forms of treatment such as physiotherapy or injections. 

Ice Pack: Cold compression with an ice pack three times a day speeds up the healing process. 

Steroid injection: Corticosteroid injections have proved to be beneficial for short-term pain relief. 

Vaccines are injected directly into the area. An orthopedic surgeon can advise you depending upon the need of the situation. 

Strengthening Exercises: The most effective long-term treatment for the tennis elbow is strengthening exercise.

They assist to build muscles of the forearm and avoid recurrence of the same. Don’t forget to consult your doctor for doing the same.  

Surgical treatment for tennis elbow

If the signs of lateral epicondylitis exist and there is no reaction to the treatment after the period of six months then there is a need to go for surgery. 

Dr. Tanveer Bhutani is well known for his expertise in treating joint and bone problems along with elbow problems.

He says that: we believe in providing personalized treatment to patients as per their significant problems.

If there is a need to operate then we will prefer to go for minimally invasive arthroscopic surgery and elbow joint replacement.

The Proper approach and experience are very important to consider surgery. 


Tennis elbows can be a very annoying, painful, and prolonged position if not addressed properly.

Talk to your orthopedic surgeon to find out which treatment option is best for you.


About The Author

Tanveer Bhutani
Eva Hospital encompasses various modern orthopedic practices pioneered by the prominent orthopedic surgeon in Ludhiana “Dr. Tanveer Singh Bhutani”.


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