Tennis elbow

Alternative Names

Epitrochlear bursitis; Lateral epicondylitis; Epicondylitis – lateral

Definition of Tennis elbow

Tennis elbow is inflammation, soreness, or pain on the outside (lateral) side of the upper arm near the elbow.

Causes, incidence, and risk factors

The part of the muscle that attaches to a bone is called a tendon. Muscles in your forearm attach to the bone on the outside of your elbow.

Signs and tests

The diagnosis is made based on signs and symptoms, because x-rays are usually normal. Often there will be pain or tenderness when the tendon is gently pressed near where it attaches to the upper arm bone, over the outside of the elbow.

Treatment

The first step is to rest your arm and avoid the activity that causes your symptoms for at least 2 – 3 weeks. You may also want to:

Expectations (prognosis)

Most people improve with nonsurgical treatment. The majority of those who do have surgery show an improvement in symptoms.

Review

Linda Vorvick, MD, Medical Director, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc. – 8/3/2010

Elbow - side view

ADAM Medical Encyclopedia

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