Managing Tennis Elbow

Tendons, Muscles, Pain, Managing Tennis Elbow

Persistent pain is your body’s way of indicating that something is wrong, so you shouldn’t ignore it!

Did you know that although Tennis Elbow has been named due to its common affliction of tennis players, anyone can experience pain due to injury of the muscles and tendons near the elbow.

Persistent pain is your body’s way of indicating that something is wrong, so you shouldn’t ignore it!

If you’re experiencing acute or chronic pain with loss of function, a physiotherapists may be able to help you reduce and better manage your discomfort and get you back to doing what you love. 

Basics of Tennis Elbow

Tennis Elbow refers to a condition in which muscles or tendons in the forearm become overworked or injured and cause pain in the elbow. Tennis elbow specifically causes pain that starts on the outside bump of the elbow, the lateral epicondyle. The forearm muscles that bend the wrist back (the extensors) attach on the lateral epicondyle and are connected by a single tendon. Tendons connect muscles to bone. 

The medical term for tennis elbow is lateral epicondylitis if there is acute inflammation, or more commonly, lateral epicondylosis whereby wear and tear is thought to lead to tissue degeneration in the absence of inflammation.

Tennis players most commonly suffer from this type of injury to the repetitive forceful movements of the wrist and elbow while gripping a racquet, but anyone who engages in activities that require repeated movements of the arms, elbows, or wrists may experience tennis elbow. Baseball players, golfers, bowlers, professional cleaners, factory workers, mechanics, and gardeners are other examples of people who often struggle with this condition. 

Tennis elbow typically affects a person’s dominant arm, but may develop in either arm. It tends to affect men more often than women.

Symptoms of tennis elbow include:

  • Pain or burning in the elbow that slowly intensifies
  • Pain that worsens when an object is squeezed or lifted
  • A weak grip or intense pain in the elbow while gripping objects
  • Pain that gets worse when the wrist is moved (e.g., opening jars, brushing the teeth)

Brian Empey, BPE, DipSIM, CAT(C), BHScPT, RCAMT, is a Certified Athletic Therapist and Registered Physiotherapist at Be In Motion Physical Therapy in Oakville, ON. Brian is a graduate of Sheridan College's Sports Injury Management Program in 1996 and McMaster University's Physiotherapy Program in 2000.

He has worked in professional sports with the Hamilton Tiger Cats and New York Islanders. Learn more at