The elbow is a hinge joint that connects the upper arm and lower arm. It consists of three bones: the humerus, radius, and ulna. Each bone is capped with cartilage and a complex array of ligaments and tendons from various muscles that cross over the joint. Tennis Elbow, or lateral epicondylitis, is an overuse injury and inflammation of the common extensor tendons of the forearm as they attach to the lateral epicondyle, or outside part of the elbow.
You do not need to be a tennis player to get tennis elbow! Most often this injury is due to oversue, especially with repetitive activities from certain jobs, sports, or home activities. Over time, the gripping muscles and tendons on the outside of the forearm/elbow sustain forces that exceed their capacity leading to micro-injuries. You may not notice these at first, but given enough time, the tendon starts having larger tears, gets thick, swollen, and inflammation starts to settle in causing pain and decreased function.
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Reviewed by: Dr. Steven Papuchis, DO.