Harvard Women's Health Watch

What to do about tennis elbow

There's surprisingly little evidence about what's best.

Tennis elbow is the common term for lateral epicondylitis, a degenerative condition of the tendon that connects the extensor muscles of the lower arm to a bony prominence on the outside of the elbow called the lateral epicondyle. The condition causes pain at the point where the tendon attaches to the epicondyle. The pain may radiate to the forearm and wrist, and in severe cases, grip strength may lessen. It can become difficult to perform simple actions like lifting a cup, turning a key, or shaking hands.

According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, as many as half of all people who play racket sports have the condition. One common cause is poor body mechanics while hitting backhand shots.

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