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Health Tip

Home :: Elbow Tendinitis

Elbow Tendinitis or Epicondylitis

Elbow tendinitis is a common disorder among physically active individuals that have a good prognosis but may require three to six months to resolve even with optimal management (1). Lateral epicondylitis or 'tennis elbow' is the pain and discomfort associated with 'inflammation' at the extensor muscle group origin at the lateral humeral condyle insertion, principally in the extensor carpi radialis brevis (ECRB) tendon. Medial epicondylitis or 'golfer's elbow' is less common but tends to be more difficult to treat. The affected area is at the interface between the pronator teres and flexor carpi radialis origin at the medial humeral condyle.

lnflammation of muscles, tendons, bursa, or covering to bones (periosteum) at the elbow.


Elbow muscles, tendons and one or both of the epicondyles (bony prominences on the sides of the elbow where muscles of the forearm attach to the bone of the upper arm).


Partial tear of the tendon and attached covering of the bone caused by:

  • Chronic stress on the tissues that attach the forearm muscles to the elbow area.
  • Sudden stress on the forearm.
  • Wrist snap when serving balls in racket sports.
  • Incorrect grip.
  • Incorrect hitting position.
  • Using a racket or club that is too heavy.
  • Using an oversize grip.

Signs & Symptoms

  • Pain and tenderness over the epicondyles. Pain worsens with gripping or rotation of the forearm.
  • Weak grip.
  • Pain when twisting the hand and arm, as when playing tennis, throwing a ball with a twist, bowling, golfing, pushing off while skiing or using a screwdriver.


Follow your doctor's instructions. These instructions are supplemental.

  • Use heat to relieve pain. Use warm soaks, a heating pad or a heat lamp. You may receive diathermy or ultrasound (see Glossary), whirlpool or massage treatments in your doctor's office or a physical-therapy facility. These may bring quicker symptom relief and healing.
  • You may need to wear a forearm splint to immobilize the elbow.

Home Diet

During recovery, eat a well-balanced diet that includes extra protein, such as meat, fish, poultry, cheese, milk and eggs.

  • Don't play sports, such as tennis, for long periods until your forearm muscles are strong and limber. Take frequent rest periods.
  • Do forearm conditioning exercises to build your strength gradually.
  • Warm up slowly and completely before participating in sports-especially before competition.
  • Proper conditioning
  • Get lessons from a professional if you are a novice.
  • Use a tennis-elbow strap when you resume normal activity after treatment.
  • Wearing appropriate shoes for the activity
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