Tennis elbow (aka “lateral epicondylitis”) is an inflammatory condition of the tendon that attaches to the outside “knob” of the elbow. These muscles and tendons travel down the inside of the forearm, and their action is to extend the wrist and fingers. Tennis elbow is usually caused by repetitive lifting/extension of the wrist (eg. Lifting items out of the trunk of a car with the hand in the palm down position, or using a computer mouse without the elbow properly supported. Avoiding the repetitive aggravating action is an important component in alleviating the inflammatory response at the elbow. If the aggravating repetitive motion is continued, the wrist may also become involved.
When the aggravating action cannot be avoided, it is important to apply ice locally to the painful part of the elbowfor 15-20 minutes in order to minimize inflammation. Cold laser therapy is also very helpful in reducing the chronic inflammation and pain associated with strain to these tendons where they attach to the elbow.