Tennis Elbow, or Lateral Epicondylitis, is a condition where repetitive or direct trauma has resulted in micro-tears of the wrist extensor muscles at the musculotendinous or the tenoperiosteal junctions of the lateral epicondyle, or possibly both, leading to irritation, inflammation, swelling, weak grip, lack of hand coordination and pain at these locations of injury.
Of course this devastating injury does not just effect those that play tennis, but received its recognition in the late 1800’s, with Runge being the one most often credited for the first description of the condition in 1873.(1) The shortened version of the term “Tennis Elbow”, that we use today, was first used in 1883 by Major in his paper “Lawn-tennis elbow”.(2)
In today’s high-tech climate of typing, mousing, texting and gaming, Tennis Elbow is far reaching in a number of things that have nothing to do with “tennis”. A fall, repetitive, jerky or sudden motions, heavy lifting of a briefcase or suitcase in the palm-down position, or the overuse of a screwdriver can all cause trauma and injury to the wrist extensor and supinator groups and the onset of symptoms.
Although none of these mechanisms of injury have anything to do with playing tennis, the resulting condition is the same no matter what the “cause” of the injury is. So even though this article is specifically for Tennis players, the rehabilitation portion of it can be applied to anyone afflicted with this condition.
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