Tennis elbow (lateral epicondylalgia), is an overuse injury associated with pain over the outer aspect of the elbow (the lateral epicondyle) with activities involving gripping, lifting and repetitive or sustained hand and wrist movements. It can occur at any age but symptoms are commonly seen in patients between the ages of 40 and 60.
The average duration of symptoms is 6-24 months. The initial inflammatory response of the common extensor tendon fails to heal in a normal manner, resulting in degeneration of the tendon, changes in the nerve endings and muscle function. These changes may also be seen on the other non-painful side. The extensor muscles are used to stabilise the wrist during gripping/hand activities. Pain-free grip strength is reduced on the symptomatic side by an average of 43-64%. Changes have also been shown in the speed and accuracy during hand/arm movements.
Your physiotherapist or doctor through injury history and clinical tests clinically diagnoses tennis elbow. An ultrasound or MRI can help further diagnose any tears in the tendon or inflammation.