Tennis Elbow

Tennis Elbow

John Miller Physiotherapist

Article by John Miller

Tennis Elbow

A Physiotherapist’s Guide to Lateral Epicondylalgia

Tennis elbow, medically known as lateral epicondylalgia, stems from overusing the forearm’s muscles and tendons, causing pain on the elbow’s outer part. Symptoms exacerbate during gripping tasks or when extending the wrist and fingers against resistance. Wrist muscle trigger points often accompany this condition. Tennis elbow is the most common source of elbow pain. A similar condition known as golfers elbow is experienced on the inside of the elbow near your “funny bone”.

The Root Causes

Acute tennis elbow arises from excessive use and inadequate rest. In contrast, chronic cases often relate to the tendons’ degenerative changes near the elbow, resulting in ongoing pain and weakness in the elbow and hand. Muscle imbalances in the forearm might also be a contributing factor.

Early Intervention: Why It’s Essential

Addressing tennis elbow early on with a physiotherapist’s guidance is crucial. They can pinpoint the cause, craft a customised treatment plan, and help prevent further damage. Act promptly to avoid worsening symptoms.

Diagnosis: More Than Just an Examination

An accurate diagnosis goes beyond physical assessment and might include ultrasound or MRI scans to identify tendon damage. It’s critical to differentiate tennis elbow from neck-related pain, which requires a comprehensive neurodynamic assessment.

Who’s at Risk?

Tennis elbow doesn’t discriminate, affecting all ages and genders. Yet, individuals in repetitive manual work or sports are at greater risk. It’s not just tennis players; plumbers, painters, and builders are also prone, with a notable prevalence in those aged 30 to 50.

tennis elbow
Tennis Elbow

Prognosis: The Light at the End of the Tunnel

While tennis elbow can linger for months or even years if neglected, timely and proper treatment can lead to full recovery, often much quicker.

The Role of Physiotherapy

Physiotherapy stands out as a highly effective approach, with patients often seeing significant improvement within weeks. Though quick fixes like cortisone shots can seem appealing, they may hinder long-term healing. Physiotherapy remains the cornerstone for sustainable recovery.

Bracing for Support

A tennis elbow brace can alleviate mild symptoms and fend off recurrence during repetitive activities. However, if pain persists, it’s imperative to consult a physiotherapist for a detailed evaluation and tailored treatment plan. Read more: How Does a Tennis Elbow Brace Help?

Comparing Injection Effectiveness

Researchers are constantly comparing corticosteroid and other injections versus physiotherapy, counterforce bracing and placebo approaches with interesting results for both immediate relief and long-term recovery.

Read more here: Tennis Elbow Treatment: Immediate Relief vs Long-Term

Conclusion: Embrace Professional Care

Physiotherapy unlocks the door to effective tennis elbow management through tailored treatment strategies, including exercises, mobilisations, and supportive braces. Significant improvement is achievable within weeks, yet without treatment, discomfort can drag on for years. Don’t let tennis elbow rule your life—consult a physiotherapist and embark on your journey to recovery today.

Professional Perspective: Keeping Up with Current Research

Recent research advocates for the benefits of physiotherapy, with some studies highlighting the success of specific strengthening exercises targeting the affected tendons. Advances in shockwave therapy also show promise as a non-invasive option for those suffering from chronic tennis elbow. It’s important to stay informed about the latest developments and discuss these with a physiotherapist to enhance treatment efficacy. Always seek professional advice for a tailored approach and the best outcome.

Elbow Pain Causes, Diagnosis, and Effective Physiotherapy Management


Elbow pain, a common ailment affecting people of all ages, can disrupt daily activities and diminish quality of life. This article, informed by physiotherapist insights, explores the various causes of elbow pain, emphasising the importance of early diagnosis, accurate assessment, and tailored physiotherapy interventions.

Understanding Elbow Pain

Elbow pain can stem from various sources, ranging from tendinopathy to nerve compression. Identifying the root cause is key to selecting the most effective treatment.

Elbow Pain Causes
Elbow Pain Causes

Common Elbow Pain Causes

Tennis Elbow and Golfer's Elbow:

Tennis Elbow and Golfer's Elbow, caused by overuse or strain of the elbow tendons, are prevalent among athletes and those engaging in repetitive arm movements. More info: Tennis Elbow, Golfer Elbow.

Olecranon Bursitis:

Olecranon Bursitis is inflammation of the bursa near the elbow joint leads to pain and swelling.

Youth Elbow Pain:

Conditions like Thrower's Elbow and Little League Elbow are common in young athletes due to repetitive stress. More info: Youth Arm Pain

Neck-Related Arm Pain:

Issues in the neck, like Cervical Radiculopathy or Neck Arm Syndrome can manifest as elbow pain.

Muscle-Related Pain:

Muscle strains and repetitive strain injuries (RSI) often present as elbow discomfort.

Medical Conditions:

Stress fractures, fibromyalgia, and various types of arthritis can also lead to elbow pain.

Recent Research Insights

Recent studies highlight the effectiveness of targeted physiotherapy in treating elbow pain. Techniques such as manual therapy, specific exercises, and other therapies have shown promising results in reducing pain and improving function.

The Role of Physiotherapy in Treating Elbow Pain

Physiotherapy plays a crucial role in the management of elbow pain, focusing on alleviating discomfort and restoring normal function.

Key Physiotherapy Interventions

  1. Personalised Exercise Programs: Tailored exercises to strengthen and stretch the affected muscles.
  2. Manual Therapy: Hands-on techniques to improve joint mobility and reduce pain.
  3. Pain Management: Use of modalities like ice, heat, and ultrasound to manage pain and inflammation.
  4. Education and Advice: Guidance on activity modification and ergonomics to prevent recurrence.

The Importance of Early Intervention

Early physiotherapy intervention can prevent the progression of symptoms and facilitate a quicker return to daily activities.

When to Seek Professional Advice

Consult a physiotherapist or doctor if you experience persistent or worsening elbow pain. They can conduct a comprehensive assessment and develop a personalised treatment plan.

What to Do?

If you're experiencing elbow pain:

  1. Rest: Avoid activities that exacerbate the pain.
  2. Apply Ice: To reduce swelling and pain.
  3. Seek Professional Help: A physiotherapist can provide expert advice and treatment.


Elbow pain, though common, can be effectively managed with physiotherapy. Understanding the cause, seeking early treatment, and adhering to a personalised care plan are vital for a successful recovery.

For more detailed information on elbow pain causes and treatments, visit PhysioWorks, where you can find resources and professional advice tailored to your condition.

Does A Tennis Elbow Brace Help?

A tennis elbow brace is a useful tool for supporting an injured elbow during the healing process. By redirecting the forces away from the affected area, it can help to reduce pain and protect the injured area. Immediate pain relief is often noticed upon wearing the brace, which can allow individuals to return to their normal activities while wearing it.

However, if the brace does not provide immediate pain relief, there could be two possibilities: the condition is severe and requires consultation with a physiotherapist, or the pain is not caused by tennis elbow, and a thorough assessment by a physiotherapist is needed to determine the root cause of the pain.

To use the tennis elbow brace safely and effectively, it should be placed around the broadest part of the forearm when doing activities that would otherwise cause pain. Research has shown that using a tennis elbow brace can reduce pain and improve grip strength for most tennis elbow or golfers elbow sufferers. By absorbing the pain-causing forces that would typically exert through the injury site, the brace can decrease pain and speed up the healing process.

More info

Elbow-Related Arm Pain

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