Tennis Elbow Definition
Tennis elbow is a painful condition that occurs when tendons in your elbow are overworked, usually by repetitive motions of the wrist and arm. Tennis elbow can result from poor technique in executing a tennis backhand. However, many occupations also feature repetitive wrist and arm motions that can cause tennis elbow.
The pain of tennis elbow occurs primarily where the tendons of your forearm muscles attach to the bony prominence on the outside of your elbow. Pain can also spread into your forearm and wrist.
Tennis elbow (AKA lateral epicondylitis) is an overuse and muscle strain injury. The cause is repeated contraction of the forearm muscles that you use to straighten and raise your hand and wrist. The repeated motions and stress to the tissue may result in inflammation or a series of tiny tears in the tendons that attach the forearm muscles to the bony prominence at the outside of your elbow (lateral epicondyle).
As the name suggests, playing tennis — especially repeated use of the backhand stroke with poor technique — is one possible cause of tennis elbow. However, many other common arm motions can cause tennis elbow, including:
Using plumbing tools
Cutting up cooking ingredients, particularly meat
Excessive computer mouse use
Increased risk of tennis elbow includes adults between 30-50 years of age, certain occupations such as plumbers and cooks, and playing rocket sports (especially when applying poor stroke techniques).
The pain associated with tennis elbow may radiate from the outside of your elbow into your forearm and wrist. Pain and weakness may make it difficult to shake hands, turn a doorknob, or hold a coffee cup.