Elbow pain is no laughing matter…especially when it takes you out of the game. Last week, we looked at golfer’s elbow. This week, we examine tennis elbow.
Fitness Tennis Elbow Pain
Tennis elbow (lateral epicondylitis) is a common condition affecting the outside of the elbow and forearm. It is also characterized by wrist pain and weakness. The pain can be felt during wrist extension (push-up position).

Tennis elbow is an overuse condition caused by repetitive motions. The tendons attaching forearm muscles to the outside boney bump of the elbow (lateral epicondyle) become injured or stressed. Many activities can contribute to tennis elbow. The Mayo Clinic says these include playing tennis with incorrect form or grip, excessively using a computer mouse, using plumbing tools, painting, using a screwdriver, or cutting up cooking ingredients (especially meat).

Treatment for tennis elbow is similar to other sports related injuries. Think RICE: Rest, Ice, Compression (Elevation does not apply). Anti-inflammatory medication may be recommended.

Physical therapy may also be needed. Physical therapist, Dave Nissenbaum, from the Sport and Spine Clinic of Madison, WI, focuses on stretching and strengthening exercises to treat patients:

  • Wrist flexor stretch – holding elbow straight (extension) for 30 seconds
  • “Radial Head” glides to relieve elbow stress and loosen the capsule where the radial head lies
  • Eccentric (elbow straightening) control exercises using light weights/resistance
  • Shoulder and scapular drills to reduce pressure on the elbow during activities

In severe cases, doctors may suggest cortisone shots or surgery.

Take charge of your tennis elbow and serve up some fun instead of pain!

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