Tennis Elbow or Lateral epicondylitis refers to chronic tendon disorganization and dysfunction of the common extensor tendon, a tendon which originates from the lateral (outside) aspect of the elbow.
Lateral epicondylosis is caused by overuse and muscle strain injury. The cause is repeated contraction of the forearm muscles that you use to straighten and raise your hand and wrist. The repeated motions and stress to the tissue may result in a series of tiny tears in the tendons that attach the forearm muscles to the bony prominence at the outside of your elbow.
As the name suggests, playing tennis — especially repeated use of the backhand stroke with poor technique — is one possible cause of tennis elbow. However, many other common arm motions can cause tennis elbow, including:
- Using plumbing tools
- Driving screws
- Cutting up cooking ingredients, particularly meat
The pain associated with tennis elbow may radiate from the outside of your elbow into your forearm and wrist.
Procedural options include needling the tendon under ultrasound to improve blood flow by creating acute inflammation and biologic regenerative injections (such as platelet-rich plasma [PRP] therapy) that can stimulate the body’s own natural healing response when conventional treatments have failed.