Tennis Elbow: An Injury For More Than Just Tennis Players

Tennis Elbow: An Injury For More Than Just Tennis Players

Lateral epicondylitis, or Tennis Elbow in lay terms, is a condition that does not affect only tennis players. In fact, most of the people diagnosed with the condition are NOT tennis players. So what exactly is a tennis elbow?

It’s a very common injury on the outside of the arm, at the joint of the elbow and forearm. The tendons of the extensor carpi radialis brevis (ECRB) muscle near the elbow may develop tears due to constant repetitive motions. This can cause inflammation and add stress to other parts of your arm. Holding and lifting objects can become very painful. The condition requires treatment or else it can become chronic. Nearly 3% of the adult population between 30 and 50 is affected by tennis elbow.

Causes of Tennis Elbow

Any repetitive activity that puts stress in the elbow region can give rise to tennis elbow. Doctors term it a ‘classic repetitive stress injury’.

It’s called a tennis elbow because a poor backhand technique or overly tight gripping of the racquet results in repeated contractions of the muscles in your forearm, causing tears to develop in the tendons.

The more you repeat the actions, the higher the chances that you will get tennis elbow. Tennis, squash, and racquetball are sports that can cause this injury; other jobs or activities that can give you a tennis elbow are:

  • Playing the violin, guitar, drums etc.
  • Painting
  • Typing
  • Carpentry
  • Tree cutting
  • Cooking
  • Meat cutting, grocers, and assembly line work
  • Lifting weights


The most telltale symptom of tennis elbow is the severe pain on the outside of the elbow. If left untreated for months, it may become so severe that gripping or lifting even a tiny weight becomes extremely painful. The elbow may become tender and painful to touch. It can affect one or both arms.


Your doctor will likely prescribe some anti-inflammatory medication along with specific exercises and physical therapy.

Do you have severe pain around your elbow? If you think you have tennis elbow, you can walk in to our Urgent Care clinics, open 24×7 at 3 convenient locations: Germantown MD, Alexandria VA, and Woodbridge VA.