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Physiotherapy for Tennis Elbow

What is it?

Pain at outside of the elbow and this condition characterized by acute tenderness on the lateral (outer) side of the elbow usually related to the Common Extensor Tendon (located at outer side of the forearm). Tennis Elbow is also called Lateral Epicondylitis.

Source : lorenbonner.com

Who are commonly susceptible to this problem?

  • Age : 30-60 years

  • Equal distribution among male and female according to activities.

What causes it?

Repeated wrist bending movement. For example:

  • Carrying a heavy object beyond the limit

  • Unaccustomed and tiring daily activity such as hammering, using manual screw drivers, painting, playing certain racket sports (e.g. tennis, badminton etc)

Source : tenniselbowexercises.com Source : www.badmintonlink.com

What are the sign and symptoms?

  • Pain – which gradually increase when using hand or wrist and disappears at rest.

  • Referred pain – aching or sharp pain at the outer side of the forearm.

  • Movement – outward movement against resistance is painful.

  • Muscle power – normal but becomes weaker due to disuse of the arm.

  • Tenderness – pain with deep pressure over the tendon.

How is it treated?

Physiotherapy plays a big role in treating this problem.

  • Cryotherapy, ice pack or ice massage at the pain area.

  • Rest – splint which holds the wrist in slightly outward position (extension).

  • Strapping – at the elbow joint to restrict the movement of the muscle.

  • Ultrasound therapy at the site of pain (lesion).

  • Range of motion exercises.

  • Stretching and strengthening exercises.

  • Patient education

    • About tennis elbow

    • Precautions

    • Activity modification

    • Injury prevention

Stretching exercise Strapping
Source : tenniselbowexercises.com Source : medicalexpo.com

How can it be prevented?

  • Avoid prolong and continuously repetitive activities such as grasping or twisting arm movements. For example, while hammering, using manual screw drivers, painting, playing tennis and badminton.

  • Ensure to stay within the comfortable movement range of the joint while doing activities.

  • Do not stress the joint with particularly heavy or unbalanced loads. For example, carrying shopping bag and etc over prolonged time.


  1. Howorth, B. & Bender, F. A doctor’s answer to tennis elbow: how to cure it, how to prevent it. Retrieved from books.google.com.my/books?isbn=0877540527 [July 4, 2013]

  2. Joshi, J. Essentials of Orthopaedics & Applied Physiotherapy. Retrieved from books.google.com.my/books?isbn=8181472152 [July 4, 2013]

  3. Mangusan, D. (2011). Physiotherapy for Tennis Elbow. Retrieved July 4, 2013, from http://www.physiotherapynotes.com/

  4. Johnson, K. (2012). American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.‘Study Questions Support Bands for Tennis Elbow‘. Retrieved July 4, 2013, from http://www.webmd.com/

  5. Adams, C. (2006). Tennis Elbow: Treatment & Prevention: Treatment and Prevention Options for Tennis Elbow. Retrieved July 4, 2013 from http://ergonomics.about.com/od/tenniselbow/a/tenniselbtp.htm

  6. Thomson, A., Skinner, A., & Piercy, J. (1992). Tidy’s Physiotherapy (12th ed). Thomson Litho Ltd, East Kilbride, Scotland.

Sources for Images

  1. (January 2, 2013), Fast Tennis Elbow Cure: is it common to get Tennis Elbow in both arms. Retrieved July 4 2013. http://lorenbonner.com/

  2. (2013) Tennis Elbow Symptoms. Retrieved July 4 2013. http:// tenniselbowexercises.com

  3. (2011) Yonex Denmark Open-Lee Chong Wei. Retrieved July 4 2013. www.badmintonlink.com

  4. (2013) Tennis Elbow Strap-all medical devices. Retrieved July 4 2013. www.medicalexpo.com


Last Reviewed : 23 August 2019
Writer : Syarifah Nora bt. Syed Husli
Accreditor : Daaljit Singh
Reviewer : Halimah bt. Hashim