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- Improper technique for hitting a tennis ball
- Improper size of tennis racquet or tension of racquet strings
- Improper golf swing technique or grip of golf clubs
Doing certain arm motions too much, such as:
- Tennis strokes
- Golf swings
- Using a hammer or screwdriver
- Playing tennis or golf
- Work that requires repetitive wrist extension and gripping with a closed fist
- Muscle imbalance
- Decreased flexibility
- Advancing age
- Pain and tenderness on the outside of the elbow
- Possibly pain extending down the forearm
- Tightness of forearm muscles
- Stiffness or trouble moving the elbow or wrist
- Lack of full elbow extension
- Shaking hands
- Turning doorknobs
- Picking up objects with your palm down
- Hitting a backhand in tennis
- Swinging a golf club
- Pressing on the outside of the elbow
Pain on the outside of the elbow when:
- Doing certain arm motions
- Pressure is applied on the outside of the elbow
- Stiffness of elbow and wrist movement
- When lifting objects, lift with your palms up
- Consult a sports professional to check your form when playing tennis or golf
- Nonsteroid anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
- Topical pain relievers that are applied to the skin
When You Are Ready to Return to Exercise
- Heat may be helpful when you are ready to return to physical activity. It can decrease the stiffness in the muscle or tendon.
- Start gentle stretching of the wrist and elbow. Follow your doctor's recommendations. Do not push the stretch to the point of pain. Hold each stretch for about 10 seconds and repeat 6 times.
- Maintain strengthening exercises for your forearm muscles.
- Gradually return to your sport. Talk to a sports professional to adjust your technique, if needed.
- Keep your arm muscles strong . This will decrease the stress on the tendons.
- After a short warm-up period, stretch out your arm muscles.
- Learn the proper technique for activities that require forearm motion.
If you play tennis, ask a tennis specialist to check your:
- Technique for hitting the ball, especially your backhand
- Racket size, tension of racket strings, and composition of the racquet frame
Ortho Info— American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons http://orthoinfo.org
Sports Med—American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine http://www.sportsmed.org
Canadian Association of General Surgeons http://www.cags-accg.ca
Canadian Orthopaedic Foundation http://www.canorth.org
Chumbley EM, O'Connor FG. Evaluation of overuse elbow injuries. Am Fam Physician. 2000;61(3):691-700.
Józsa LG, Kannus P. Human tendons. Human Kinetics; 1997.
Lateral epicondylitis. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated March 4, 2013. Accessed March 6, 2013.
Nirschl RP, Kraushaar BS. Keeping tennis elbow at arm's length. Phys Sportsmed. 1996.
Nirschl RP, Kraushaur BS. Assessment and treatment guidelines for elbow injuries. Phys Sportsmed. 1996;24.
Tennis elbow (lateral epicondylitis). American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons Ortho Info website. Available at: http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=A00068. Updated September 2009. Accessed November 7, 2012.
11/8/2006 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed : Bisset L, Beller E, et al. Mobilisation with movement and exercise, corticosteroid injection, or wait and see for tennis elbow: Randomised trial. BMJ. 2006;333:939.
10/26/2010 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed: Massey T, Derry S, et al. Topical NSAIDs for acute pain in adults. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2010;(6):CD007402.
- Reviewer: Teresa Briedwell, PT, DPT, OCS, CSCS
- Review Date: 12/2014 -
- Update Date: 12/20/2014 -
This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.
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