You might have heard of the injury which is known as ‘tennis elbow‘. However, tennis elbow is a common injury which is not only limited to professional tennis players, as is generally thought to be the case. Tennis elbow is a surprisingly prevalent condition and affects between approximately 1% and 3% of the general population at any, one time. Unsurprisingly, approximately 5% of individuals with tennis elbow are professional racquet sports players. But what is tennis elbow, how is it diagnosed and finally, what are the causes?
What is tennis elbow?
Very simply, tennis elbow is a cause of elbow pain. Clinically, tennis elbow is called lateral epicondylitis. Your elbow joint links three different bones: the humerus (which is your upper arm bone); radius and ulna; both the radius and ulna are located within the forearm. Clinically, tennis elbow is known as lateral epicondylitis, due to the tendency of the elbow pain to occur on the lateral bony section of your outer elbow (the bottom of the humerus), which is known as your lateral epicondyle. Lateral epicondylitis occurs when the extensor tendons of the forearm, which have the main job of aiding the grip of objects, become inflamed due to overuse. Specifically, when your muscles (and specifically the extensor carpi radialis brevis muscle) and tendons are strained, tears and inflammation can occur near the lateral epicondyle of your elbow, resulting in the characteristic pain. As tennis elbow affects the tendons, it is a type of condition which is known as a tendinopathy. Lateral epicondylitis typically occurs in your dominant arm; in other words, if you are right-handed then symptoms of tennis elbow will occur in your right arm.