Tennis elbow, formally known as lateral epicondylitis, is similar to golfer’s elbow except that it affects the other side of the elbow. The primary symptom is pain at the outside of the elbow (i.e., the lateral epicondyle). The term tennis elbow is itself somewhat of a misnomer, as a wide variety of activities can cause this problem. Tennis elbow ranks as the number one reason that people seek medical help for elbow pain.
The most common cause of tennis elbow is overuse of the wrist extensors, which pull the hand back, resulting in pain and inflammation of the tendons that attach to the outside of the elbow. The first sign of tennis elbow is pain on the outside of the elbow during or after intense use.
Treatment: Discontinue activities that cause the pain. Following the R.I.C.E. treatment regimen is known to be helpful in reducing both pain and swelling. Anti-inflammatory medications might also be helpful. In chronic cases, a cortisone injection might relieve the pain/discomfort.
Physical therapists may be able to use ultrasound to help heal the damage. They should also be able to prescribe strength and flexibility exercises. In some cases, a wrist brace or splint might be required. If non-surgical forms of treatment do not solve the problem, surgery might be recommended — seek the opinion of a medical specialist.