Lateral epicondylitis, colloquially known as tennis elbow, occurs when the tendons in the elbow are overloaded.
The tendon involved is known as the Extensor Carpi Radialis Brevis, and irritation to this tendon causes pain and weakness in the forearm and wrist muscles that may radiate down the entire arm.
Repetitive motion in the arms or wrists is the most common cause of tennis elbow. While this form of tendinitis stems from tennis, this condition can affect anyone. Those engaging in racquet sports, fencing, weightlifting, typing, knitting, painting, and overusing tools such as chainsaws are at an increased risk of developing lateral epicondylitis. Normally, tennis elbow only affects one’s dominant arm, but it can occur in both arms. Those who are ambidextrous are at an increased risk for developing lateral epicondylitis in both arms. Most cases of tennis elbow do not require medical attention, as rest paired with over-the-counter pain relievers and ice or heat therapy resolve most symptoms. Your physician may suggest using a forearm strap or brace during recreational activities that trigger pain.
Tennis elbow symptoms typically resolve themselves through rest. Other treatment options include:
Your healthcare provider will ask about the following information:
Risk factors for developing lateral epicondylitis include:
Tennis elbow is more common among people aged 30 to 50.
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