What is Tennis Elbow & Can Physio Help?

What is Tennis Elbow?

Tennis elbow(Pain on the outside of the elbow)  or lateral epicondylitis is a painful condition that occurs when tendons in your elbow are overloaded, usually by repetitive motions of the wrist and arm. Tennis elbow is a tendinopathy of the muscle tendon which originates from the outer side of the elbow known as Extensor Carpi Radialis Brevis (ECRB). It is the most common condition seen in the elbow joint.

Contrary to the name, this condition is most commonly seen in the general population(1-3%) with rates increasing to 15-17% among individuals with occupations requiring repetitive arm and wrist movements or gripping tasks eg. computer uses and construction workers.

Where the name Tennis Elbow came from…

The name tennis elbow originated from Tennis players, who perform repetitive backhand strokes, especially with poor technique are more prone to overuse the hand muscle named “Extensor Carpi Radialis Brevis” and this muscle’s tendon gets damaged and partially torn. Despite its name, this condition is developing in many other people with certain occupations. For instance, Computer workers, Painters, Plumbers, Gardeners – Their occupations involve gripping activities with recurrent wrist movements. Muscle imbalance between wrist flexors and extensors muscles affects a person’s grip strength, which can also cause Tennis elbow.

In this condition, a person complains of pain on the lateral (outer) side of the elbow with possible radiation in the forearm. This pain worsens with gripping, lifting and wrist extension activities. These symptoms can increase gradually with time.

Causes, Signs & Symptoms of Tennis Elbow:

  • Lateral Elbow Pain with possible radiation into the forearm
  • Worse with gripping, lifting and wrist extension tasks
  • Symptoms may occur without an incident of trauma

Common Symptoms:

  • Pain with gripping objects even shaking someones hand.
  • Pain with turning a doorknob
  • Pain with holding a coffee cup

The pain associated with tennis elbow may radiate from the outside of your elbow into your forearm and wrist. Pain and weakness at the elbow can also be present


How to Check for Tennis Elbow:

Ask someone or use your other hand to resist your middle finger extension by putting their fingers around the nail bed of middle finger, if this movement is causing you pain over the lateral (outer) side of the elbow then there are more chances that you have tennis elbow condition.

Check the link below if you want more information.



How Can Our Physiotherapists Help with your Tennis Elbow Pain?

Our physiotherapists are able to assess this your elbow pain and provide the appropriate treatment with great confidence. Treatment for Tennis elbow includes education, ergonomic modifications, elbow manual therapy and taping. Modalities like ultrasound and acupuncture can aid in your treatment plan.

As Physiotherapists, we are trained to identify the root cause of your pain and treat that cause. It is important to not only treat the symptoms but the underlying structure causing your elbow pain. We use different techniques  such as advanced manual therapy techniques, neuro-mobilization techniques to improve mobility of the nerve, soft tissue releases, Acupuncture, Dry Needling and Specific Exercises to help decrease your Elbow Pain.

Every patient is different so treatment may be different too.  Our Physiotherapists can help you manage your pain. 

Written by: Anjali Patel. Registered Physiotherapist Resident. Orthopaedic Physiotherapist. Concussion Management 


Orthopedic Division Canadian Physiotherapy Association. Theory Manual



Integrative Physiotherapy is a Barrie-based clinic that believes in a one-on-one patient-centred, manual therapy (hands-on) approach to physiotherapy. We aim to empower our patients by providing quality care that is personalized to each patient in an interactive and friendly manner. Through the use of the best available treatment techniques, we aim to provide exceptional care so that each patient feels engaged and motivated.

Our therapists are continually upgrading their skills and taking time to provide comprehensive assessment and treatment techniques that are always one on one without the use of assistants or double booking patients to make sure that you achieve your functional and sports goals as soon as possible.  

Our therapists would be happy to help you to achieve your goals, get in touch to schedule your appointment.  Don’t let pain ruin your day!

Integrative Physiotherapy, Empowering Patients with Personalized Care.