Tennis elbow, also known as lateral epicondylitis or “thrower elbow”, occurs when the tendons attaching your muscle to your bone at the elbow become inflamed and irritated. The affected area is specifically outside your elbow and at the forearms.
Whilst the condition does not exclusively occur amongst tennis players, they are most vulnerable to the condition. Tennis elbow specifically affects the wrist flexors and pronators that are attached to the medial epicondyle.
What causes tennis elbow?
Tennis elbow is caused by a variety of things such as:
Overuse: repetitive use of a muscle in the forearm can cause microscopic tears to occur in the tendon, this can lead to inflammation, also known as tendonitis.
Holding or hitting heavy objects: holding something that is heavy or hitting heavy objects such as a wet tennis ball can cause tennis elbow.
Acute trauma: an accident or high-impact object hitting the elbow leading to violent contraction of the muscle, can result in tennis elbow.
Poor body mechanics: incorrect movement of the body can cause an overexertion or strain on the muscles and tendons of the forearms, leading to tennis elbow.
What are the symptoms of tennis elbow?
Symptoms of tennis elbow include:
Discomfort or pain in the elbow at all times
Pain when extending your wrist or gripping objects
Pain when twisting your arm
Pain when extending or bending your arm
Swollen or slight enlargement of the elbow region
If you notice any of the symptoms, make an appointment with an orthopaedic specialist to get an accurate diagnosis and treatment.
Dr Puah KL is our Senior Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon at Artisan Sports & Orthopaedic Surgery. He used to serve the sports service of Singapore General Hospital - the highest volume trauma centre for orthopaedics in Singapore.