Tennis elbow: What are the causes and symptoms?

Tennis elbow is a type of tendinitis that results to pain in the arm and elbow. These tendons are bands of sturdy tissue responsible for connecting the muscles of the lower arm to the bone.

Any activity that involves repetitive gripping actions particularly those that involves the thumb and first 2 fingers increases the risk for developing tennis elbow. This condition is one of the reasons why many individuals consult a doctor for elbow pain. It can occur at any age but quite common at the age of 40 years old.

What are the causes?

Tennis elbow typically develops over time. Monotonous movements can strain on the muscles and place excessive stress on the tendons. The continuous tugging can later on result to microscopic tears in the tissue.

Tennis elbow

Discomfort or pain and soreness in the bony protrusion on the exterior of the elbow


The indications of tennis elbow usually include the following:

  • Discomfort or pain and soreness in the bony protrusion on the exterior of the elbow
  • Radiating pain to the lower or upper arm

The pain can be aggravated when lifting objects, making a fist or gripping an object and raising the hand or straightening the wrist.

It is important to note that tennis elbow is strikingly similar to another condition known as golfer’s elbow which involves the tendons on the interior of the elbow.

How is it diagnosed?

The condition is diagnosed by a thorough exam performed by the doctor. The individual is asked to flex his/her arm, wrist and the elbow in order to determine the location of the pain.

Imaging tests might also be required such as MRI or an X-ray to diagnose the condition or rule out other possible issues.

Disclaimer / More Information

The information posted on this page on tennis elbow is for learning and educational purposes only. To learn to manage muscle injuries and conditions including tennis elbow, register for first aid training at one of our training centers located throughout Canada. The training centers are located in Edmonton, Calgary, Vancouver, Kelowna, Surrey, Winnipeg, Toronto, Ottawa and Halifax.



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