What is Lateral epicondylitis?
Lateral epicondylitis is the name for a condition in which the bony bump at the outer side of the elbow is painful and tender. The elbow joint is made up of the upper arm bone (Humerus) and one of the bones in the lower arm called the Ulna. The bony bumps at the bottom of the Humerus are called epicondyles. The bump on the outer side is the lateral epicondyle and it is the attachment point for the muscles that extend your wrist. When the tendons that attach there become inflamed it can be very painful.
How does it occur?
Tennis elbow results from overuse of the muscles in the forearm that straighten and raise your hand and wrist. Repeated use pulls at the muscular attachment.
Many activities can cause overuse in this area including tennis, carpentry, typing, or lifting.
What are the symptoms?
Pain or tenderness on the outer side of the elbow
Pain when you straighten or raise your wrist and hand
Pain made worse by lifting
Pain when you make a fist, grip, shake hands or turn door handles
Pain that shoots from the elbow down the forearm or up into the upper arm
How is it diagnosed?
Your health care provider will do a physical examination to assess what motions cause the pain, where the area of tenderness is, and do resisted tests to see if muscle contraction causes pain.
The doctor may order an x-ray.
How is it treated?
Treatment may include:
Exercises recommended by your health care provider
Wearing a tennis elbow strap just below the elbow
Relative rest/ avoiding repetitive motion
Biomechanical correction of repetitive activities