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What is tennis elbow?

Tennis elbow is a condition that causes swelling and pain in the outer elbow and arm. It is caused when the tendons in the elbow are overloaded, usually by repetitive motions of the arm, elbow and wrists. The pain occurs primarily where the tendons of the forearm muscles attach to the bony bump on the outside of the elbow and can also spread into the forearm and wrist.

Possible Causes: 

Tennis elbow, called lateral epicondylitis in medical terms, occurs when there is an injury to the outer elbow tendons due to repetitive motions of the wrist and arm. Tennis elbow causes are usually repetitive motions due to sports or occupational activities.

Risk Factors: 

Repetitive motions due to one’s occupation – people whose jobs involve the repetitive motions that can lead to tennis elbow are manual workers such as plumbers, painters, carpenters and butchers.

Signs & Symptoms: 

Typical tennis elbow symptoms are:

  • Pain on the outside of your elbow.
  • Pain that spreads towards outer forearm and wrist 
  • Difficulty in shaking hands. 
  • Trouble gripping or holding objects.


If you notice symptoms that could be tennis elbow, visit the Medcare Sports Medicine Centre for a proper diagnosis. The doctor here will note down your detailed medical history and symptoms, and will conduct a physical examination to confirm a tennis elbow diagnosis.

If your doctor suspects that there may be some other reason for your symptoms, X-rays or other imaging tests may be recommended. Electromyography (EMG) can reveal nerve dysfunction, muscle dysfunction or problems with nerve-to-muscle signal transmission that can associate tennis elbow condition.

Treatment Options: 

Meet a sports medicine specialist at Medcare for the best tennis elbow treatment plan for you. Your treatment may cover the following:

  • Conservative treatments like rest and over-the-counter pain killers are recommended. Often tennis elbow gets better on its own. 
  • Doctors will evaluate the underlying cause of the condition first. So, if your tennis elbow is related to a sport then Medcare doctors will evaluate your technique and suggest steps to reduce stress on your injured tissues.
  • Physiotherapy can help stretch and strengthen your muscles. Learn the right tennis elbow stretches and exercises. To reduce the pressure on your injury, a forearm strap or tennis elbow brace may be used.
  • Some nonsurgical procedures may be recommended, such as dry needling, or ultrasonic therapy.
  • Surgery is the last resort to remove damaged tissue.
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الأسئلة الشائعة:


  • What is tennis elbow?

    A: Tennis elbow is a condition that causes pain in the area where your forearm meets your elbow. Using your arm in a repetitive motion like in tennis or excessive manual work cause small tears in the extensor carpi radialis brevis (ECRB) tendon leading to inflammation and pain.

  • How do I avoid getting a tennis elbow?

    A: Avoid physical exertion that aggravates your elbow pain. Take some over-the-counter pain relievers and apply a cold pack 3-4 times a day. Above all, ensure that you are following the correct technique when playing your favourite sport. Do adequate stretched and warm ups.

  • I’ve been told that I have tennis elbow, but I’ve never played tennis! I’m confused.

    A: Yes, this can happen and is common. The condition is called ‘tennis elbow’ because the muscle group involved is used extensively while playing tennis. But people who play other sports, or whose work involves repetitive arm, hand grip and wrist motions can also get tennis elbow.

  • How long does it take for tennis elbow to heal?

    A: Tennis elbow is usually caused by sudden motions which affect the tendons of the elbow. It is a condition that causes discomfort, pain and hampers daily movements. Typically, a tennis elbow takes as long as a year to heal completely since tendons and ligaments don’t heal as fast as muscles do. 

    However, the best way to ensure faster recovery is through adequate rest and proper rehabilitation exercises. Icing the affected area is also recommended as it reduces inflammation and can help reduce the pain quickly. With proper treatment and care, your tennis elbow can heal as early as six months.

    Need to recover quickly from tennis elbow? Book an appointment with a Medcare specialist today.

  • Is heat or cold better for tennis elbow?

    A: Tennis elbow is accompanied by pain and discomfort, and so, a lot of patients wonder whether they should apply a hot or cold compress to help soothe the area. During the initial stages, icing the affected area will help reduce pain and inflammation by constricting the blood vessels. 

    However, after a few weeks, using a heat compress will help the muscles relax, increase blood flow and promote healing. In a nutshell, both hot and cold compresses will help in healing your elbow. But remember to apply them at the right time. 

    Need proper treatment for tennis elbow? Book an appointment with a Medcare specialist today

  • How do I know if my elbow injury is serious?

    A: The elbow is a fundamental joint in the body that facilitates hand movement, and subsequently, a lot of our daily activities. Thus, an injured elbow could severely hamper your everyday life. If it is a  minor elbow injury, it will usually heal on its own. But if you feel like the elbow has been dislocated or feel a bone protruding, visit a doctor immediately. 

    Other warning signs include swelling, severe pain in the elbow, limited or no mobility, and bruising around the bend, which could indicate that the problem might get bigger with time. 

    Need a safe and effective treatment for tennis elbow? Book an appointment with a Medcare specialist today.

  • What exercises can I do to fix tennis elbow?

    A: Physical therapy is a popular treatment option for treating tennis elbow. For instance, a wrist turn, wherein you bend the elbow at a right angle with the palm facing up. You then extend the hand outward and twist the wrist to make the palm face down and hold for 5 seconds. You can also do this with lightweight dumbbells. 

    Another exercise that works well for tennis elbow is the elbow bend. To do this exercise, you should stand straight and lower the affected arm to one side. After lowering the arm, bend it in the upward direction till the hand touches the shoulder, hold the position for up to 30 seconds, and repeat ten times.

    Need physical therapy to treat tennis elbow? Book an appointment with a Medcare specialist today.

  • What is the best treatment for tennis elbow?

    A: Tennis elbow usually heals with time and self-care, but you can expedite the process with medical aid. 

    Ice and heat packs can help the pain subside and reduce inflammation. Even non-steroid anti-inflammatory medicine, such as ibuprofen can help reduce swelling. Additionally, wearing an elbow strap regulates movement and speeds up the healing process. 

    We also recommend a few exercises and stretches to strengthen the muscles, which help to reduce the strain and improve flexibility and range of motion. However, in extreme cases, we also suggest steroid injections to treat the condition.

    Need to get rid of tennis elbow safely? Book an appointment with a Medcare specialist today.

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