Tennis elbow, also known as lateral epicondylitis, is a condition in which the outer part of the elbow becomes painful and tender. The pain may also extend into the back of the forearm and grip strength may be weak. Onset of symptoms is generally gradual. Golfer's elbow is a similar condition that affects the inside of the elbow.
It is due to excessive use of the muscles of the back of the forearm. Typically this occurs as a result of work or sports classically racquet sports. The diagnosis is typically based on the symptoms with medical imaging used to rule out other potential causes. It is more likely if pain increases when a person tries to bend back their wrist when their wrist is held in a neutral position. It is classified as a chronic tendinosis, not a tendinitis.
Treatment involves decreasing activities that bring on the symptoms together with physical therapy. Pain medications such as NSAIDS or acetaminophen may be used. A brace over the upper forearm may also be helpful. If the condition does not improve corticosteroid injections or surgery may be recommended. Many people get better within one to two years.
About 2% of people are affected. Those 30 to 50 years old are most commonly affected. The condition was initially described in 1873. The name "lawn tennis elbow" first came into use for the condition in 1882.