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What is tennis elbow?
Around the Academy:

Andy Roddick stretches for a volley
The elbow takes a lot of strain in tennis

Craig Smith

Tennis elbow may sound amusing, but it's not an injury to be laughed at.

It's is a very painful injury that occurs to the outside of the elbow where the tendons that cock the wrist become inflamed.

These tendons attach to the bony part of the outer elbow bone called the "lateral epicondyle".

The scientific name for the injury is "lateral epicondylitis", meaning inflammation to the outside elbow bone.

A ballboy holds three tennis balls in his hands
Hitting these things has its downside

But we refer to it as tennis elbow as it's mainly suffered by, surprise surprise, tennis players.

It's caused by the repetitive nature of hitting thousands and thousands of tennis balls.

Tiny tears develop in the forearm tendon attachment at the elbow.

The pain starts slowly but increases to a point where hitting the ball, especially a backhand shot, becomes just about impossible.

If you rest your arm when the discomfort first appears, then these micro tears will heal.

However, if you keep on playing, the micro tears will become bigger eventually causing pain and swelling that prevents you from hitting a ball completely.

Pain can stretch down your forearm to your hand and simple things like holding a cup of tea or carrying your case becomes painful, forcing you to use your other hand.


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What is tennis elbow?
How to treat it

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When I was about 12, I had a problem with my elbow and I didn't play at all for six months
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Tim Henman
Britain's number one



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