Tennis Elbow

Tennis elbow (lateral epicondylitis) is a common injury for tennis players, but also impacts many who have never swung a tennis racquet. In fact, only 5% of the cases of tennis elbow are linked to tennis. Keep reading to learn about what tennis elbow is, what causes it, and how physical therapy can help.

What is Tennis Elbow?


The pain is focused where your forearm meets the elbow (highlighted on the picture to the left). If you use your wrist in a repetitive movement, small tears may occur within the tendons that connect the muscles of your forearm to your elbow. These tears lead to inflammation and result in reduced strength which affects surrounding structures throughout the arm and shoulder. You may experience a weaker grip and even pain when handling objects.

What Causes Tennis Elbow?

The main cause of this injury is overuse. It earned its name because the motion of a backhand swing in tennis perfectly demonstrates the repetitive movement that puts stress on the wrist extensors (the muscles used to put your hand out when you signal “stop”). Tennis players may wrongfully use these muscles over and over again, causing injury. Some golfers get the same type of injury called, “golfer’s elbow” on the inside of the forearm due to overusing the wrist flexor muscles in the forearm from gripping too tight or curling their wrists.

Other activities that cause Tennis Elbow:

  • Tree-cutting
  • Painting
  • Carpentry
  • Playing instruments
  • Assembly line workers
  • Cooks

What Can Physical Therapy Do?

At Camelback Sports Therapy, we want to get you back in the game! Our goal is to improve strength, flexibility, and blood flow to the affected area.

How is that done?

People will often try to work through the pain, but this is not recommended. It can become a chronic pain and will not go away on its own. A physical therapist can help get you back in the game and provide education and strengthening to make sure it doesn’t happen again. Camelback Sports Therapy also offers a program called Power Tennis that helps increase strength, agility, speed, and cardiovascular ability. . . everything you need to stay in the game

If you think you may have Tennis Elbow, or any other pain or injury, set up an appointment with a therapist by calling us at (602) 808-8989!