Tennis elbow (lateral epicondylitis) is a painful condition that occurs when tendons in your elbow are overloaded, usually by repetitive motions of the wrist and arm.
Despite its name, athletes aren't the only people who develop tennis elbow. People whose jobs feature the types of motions that can lead to tennis elbow include plumbers, painters, carpenters and butchers.
The pain of tennis elbow occurs primarily where the tendons of your forearm muscles attach to a bony bump on the outside of your elbow. Pain can also spread into your forearm and wrist.
Rest and over-the-counter pain relievers often help relieve tennis elbow. If conservative treatments don't help or if symptoms are disabling, your doctor might suggest surgery.
Tennis elbow care at Mayo Clinic
June 15, 2016
- DeLee JC, et al. Elbow tendinopathies and bursitis. In: DeLee & Drez's Orthopaedic Sports Medicine: Principles and Practice. 4th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2015. http://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed April 4, 2016.
- AskMayoExpert. Lateral elbow tendinopathy. Rochester, Minn.: Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research; 2014.
- Tennis elbow (Lateral epicondylitis). American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons. http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=A00068. Accessed April 4, 2016.
- Jayanthi N. Epicondylitis (tennis and golf elbow). http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed April 4, 2016.
- Ferri FF. Epicondylitis. In: Ferri's Clinical Advisor 2016. Philadelphia, Pa.: Mosby Elsevier; 2016. https://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed April 14, 2016.
- Barnes DE. Percutaneous ultrasonic tenotomy for chronic elbow tendinosis: A prospective study. Journal of Shoulder and Elbow Surgery. 2015;24:67.
- Laskowski ER (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. May 13, 2016.
- Coombes BK, et al. Effect of corticosteroid injection, physiotherapy, or both on clinical outcomes in patients with unilateral lateral epicondylalgia: A randomized controlled trial. JAMA. 2013;309:461.
- Gosens T, et al. Ongoing positive effect of platelet-rich plasma versus corticosteroid injection in lateral epicondylitis: A double-blind randomized controlled trial with 2-year follow-up. American Journal of Sports Medicine. 2011;39:1200.
- Brown AY. Allscripts EPSi. Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Dec. 9, 2015.