Treating Tennis Elbow

Treating Tennis Elbow

Tennis elbow, also known as lateral epicondylitis is a musculoskeletal condition that occurs when there is pain on the outer side of the elbow. This is an extra-articular condition believed to be caused by strain or incomplete rupture of the forearm extensor muscles. The condition is aptly termed tennis elbow, as it mostly happens to tennis players. It also affects anyone who performs repeated resisted motions of the wrist joint. Tennis elbow can occur at any age but is more prevalent in middle age. It equally affects both men and women alike.


  • Repetitive stress and strain on the muscles and tendons that are attached to the elbow.
  • Tennis players who have an incorrect grip or improper hitting technique, usually backhand.
  • Tennis elbow can also affect people with occupations or hobbies involving repetitive arm movements like typing. painting, carpentry, etc.


  • Pain on the outer side of the elbow.
  • Weakness involving gripping activities and twisting movements of the wrist like playing tennis, using a screwdriver, etc.
  • A repeated movement such as using a computer mouse often increases the pain.
  • Outer side of the elbow may be tender to touch.
  • Sometimes, the pain may increase by lifting objects like even a coffee cup.

Physiotherapy (Treatment)

  • InitiaI treatment involves application of ice to relieve pain and inflammation, It should be applied for 10 minutes every two or three hours.
  • Stop particular activities which cause pain or aggravates pain.
  • Avoid repetitive movements of the elbow and hand.
  • A splint or brace may be used if the pain is very severe as it decreases the tension on the tendons.
  • Ultrasound can be effective in controlling pain and inflammation.
  • Elbow taping technique is designed to support the elbow, therefore reducing stress on the muscles of the forearm during regular activity.
  • Gentle active movements of the elbow, wrist, and hand should be started. These exercises can be done for three sets of 10 repetitions each.


Wrist Fexion
Hold a light weight, for example, a bottle or a tin and bend wrist slowly towards you. Hold for five seconds and then slowly relax.

Supination And Pronation
Sit with your forearm supported on a table and hand placed at the edge of the table, palm facing the floor. Hold a stick or weight in the hand and turn your hand outwards and hold for few seconds and go back to the starting position. In the same position, place your hand at the edge of the table and your palm facing the ceiling, holding the weight turn your hand and hold for few seconds.

Grip Exercise
For improving your grip, a soft tennis ball or putty can be used. Squeeze as hard as you can and hold for few seconds and relax.

Wrist Extension
Turn wrist slowly so that the palm is facing down. Hold for five seconds and then relax. It can be done with weights too.

Elbow Bend
Bend your arm slowly upwards so that your hand is touching the shoulder. Hold for five seconds and then relax.

Keep your arm straight, palm facing down and slowly bend your wrist and use the other hand to press the hand back towards your body until a stretch is felt and hold for 10 seconds and relax. Gently bend the stretched hand backwards and use the other hand and pull the fingers back until a stretch is felt. Hold for 10 seconds and relax.

Eccentric Exercise
Using a resistance band, fix the band firmly under your feet and the other end in the injured hand. The elbow should be kept straight and the wrist towards the floor. Pull the wrist back towards you with the uninjured hand, Gently let go with the supporting hand and let the band work at pulling the injured wrist towards the floor.

A splint or brace may be used if the pain is very severe as it decreases the tension on the tendons


  • Warm up and stretch before and after practice or competition.
  • Maintain wrist and forearm flexibility.
  • Follow a proper technique while playing.

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