Tennis Elbow

Harris & Ross regularly see patients who present with classic ‘tennis elbow’ symptoms. It can be very painful and debilitating, which is why it is important to see an experience physiotherapist who will assist in easing the pain and restoring function.

What is it?

Tennis elbow (Lateral Epicondylalgia) is a condition causing pain on the outer part of the elbow. Pain is felt predominantly where the tendons of the forearm attach into the bony prominence called the lateral epicondyle.

What causes it?

Tennis elbow is an overuse injury. Commonly a large volume of manual work or repetitive gripping or wrist motion triggers the pain. It often starts as a mild pain, but gradually worsens over weeks and months. The pain may be acute and come on during activity, but more normally it develops 24-72 hours following.

What happens to the Tendon?

Tasks that require a lot of gripping and wrist stability place stress on the tendons that attach into the outer elbow. Overtime this causes changes within the tendon. The altered tissue has a high number of pain sensitive cells, which can result in the tendon being extremely painful. Over time the changes within the tendon can lead to small tears.

The most common culprit is the Extensor Carpi Radialis Brevis tendon (ECRB).

Common symptoms

  • Pain on the outside of your elbow, which may move into your forearm and wrist
  • Pain with gripping or holding things


Physiotherapy can help settle pain and improve function.  There are a number of different treatment options, which may be appropriate for you. The mainstays of treatment include:

  • Advice and education with regards the problem
  • Rest, Ice and analgesia
  • Strengthening exercises
  • Elbow mobilisations
  • Nerve mobilisation techniques
  • Soft tissue therapy
  • Acupuncture

It is important to have realistic expectations about the condition and note that this is not a quick fix. But with good rehab and treatment a large proportion do get better. Should symptoms not be improving after 8-12 weeks of rehabilitation then onward referral to a specialist upper limb consultant may be required.

To make an appointment for an initial physio assessment, and discuss a treatment plan for tennis elbow call Harris & Ross on 0161 832 9000 or click the book now icon below.