LATERAL EPICONDYLITIS / TENNIS ELBOWtennis_elbow.jpg

Classic Presentation

Patients with Tennis Elbow, also known as lateral epicondylitis may present with pain at the boney prominence on the outer portion of the elbow associated with repetitive sport or occupational activity. 


Cause

Many theories have been proposed and many structures have been implicated; however, the currently accepted theory is that initially there is tearing of the extensor carpi radialis brevis muscle at its origin, which is located at the outer portion of the elbow.  This process may extend to the extensor digitorum or the extensor carpi radialis longus.  Repetetive movements requiring forceful wrist extension, radial deviation ( moving the wrist sideways towards the thumbs), and supination (palm facing up) are the most common causes.  Although, it is associated with tennis, other sports and occupational activities are also possible causes.  Meat cutter, plumbers, and weavers are examples of those who may be affected.  With tennis, novice players with poor backhand technique account for most cases.  With professional players, the forehand or serving may be the cause.  The more frequently an individual plays, the higher the risk of developing tennis elbow. 

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