What is Tennis Elbow?

  • Tennis elbow, is a painful condition of the elbow caused by overuse
  • Tennis elbow is an inflammation of the tendons that join the forearm muscles on the outside of the elbow
  • Your elbow joint is a joint made up of three bones

Tennis elbow, is a painful condition caused by overuse. Sports such as tennis or other racquet sports can cause this painful condition, but other sports and activities can also put you at risk.

Tennis elbow is an inflammation of the tendons that join the forearm muscles on the outside of the elbow. The forearm muscles and tendons become damaged because of repetitive motion. This causes to pain and tenderness on the outside of the elbow.

Our Treatment Approach

Nonsurgical Treatment

Most patients have success with nonsurgical treatment.

  • Rest. The first step toward recovery is to give your arm proper rest for several weeks.
  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medicines. Drugs like aspirin or ibuprofen reduce pain and swelling.
  • Equipment check. If you participate in a racquet sport check the equipment for proper fit.
  • Physical therapy. Specific exercises are helpful for strengthening the muscles of the forearm.
  • Brace. Using a brace centered over the back of your forearm may also help relieve symptoms of tennis elbow. This reduces symptoms by resting the muscles and tendons
  • Steroid injections. Steroids, such as cortisone, are very effective anti-inflammatory medicines.

Surgical Treatment

If after 6 to 12 months of nonsurgical treatments with no relief, your doctor may recommend surgery. Most surgical procedures for tennis elbow involve removing diseased muscle and reattaching healthy muscle back to bone.

  • Open surgery. The most common approach to tennis elbow repair is open surgery. This involves making an incision over the elbow. Open surgery is usually performed as an outpatient surgery. It rarely requires an overnight stay at the hospital.
  • Minimally invasive surgery. Tennis elbow can also be repaired using tiny instruments and small incisions. Like open surgery, this is a same-day or outpatient procedure



Recent studies show that tennis elbow can be caused by damage to a specific forearm muscle. The extensor carpi radialis brevis (ECRB) muscle helps stabilize the wrist when the elbow is straight. This occurs during a tennis groundstroke, for example. When the ECRB is damaged from overuse, microscopic tears form in the tendon. This causes inflammation and pain.


Athletes are not the only ones who get tennis elbow. Painters, plumbers, and carpenters can also develop tennis elbow because of the repetitive nature of their work.


The symptoms of tennis elbow develop over time. In most cases, the pain starts as mild and slowly worsens over weeks and months. Generally, there is no specific injury associated with the start of symptoms.

Common signs and symptoms of tennis elbow include:

  • Pain or burning on the outer part of your elbow
  • Weak grip strength

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