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What is Tennis Elbow?

what is tennis elbow

Tennis Elbow is a popular sports condition that gets mentioned a lot with certain activities. But what exactly is tennis elbow?

Tennis Elbow: A tale of two names

The two common scientific names for Tennis Elbow are Lateral Epicondylitis or Lateral Epicondylalgia. Breaking down the words…

  • Lateral: outside of the elbow – on the side of the thumb
  • Epicondyle: a bump on the outside of the upper arm near where it meets the forearm

This bump is where two muscles, known as the Extensor Carpi Radialis Longus & Extensor Carpi Radialis Brevis (ECRL and ECRB), attach to the elbow.

Where things get more complex is in the last part of the last names:

  • Itis: refers to inflammation
  • Algia: refers to pain or ache

The lateral epicondyle can become irritated, inflamed and painful as a result of putting the area under more stress than it’s used to.

This is a common condition that occurs in:

  • Tennis players: hence it’s nickname of tennis elbow
  • People who work on the computer a lot – as the two muscles above attach all the way to the fingers
  • People who do a lot of repetitive gripping and finger work through manual labour

Tennis Elbow can be a scary and complex sounding condition – but working with a proper physiotherapist or chiropractor who understands it can play a big role in your recovery.

If you have any questions or would like to explore further, please book a free, no-charge online appointment with either myself. Eric Bowman, BSc, MPT, PT, or another Waterloo physiotherapist at CARESPACE. We are happy to listen and are here to help!

Eric Bowman, BSc, MPT, PT

Eric Bowman, BSc, MPT, PT

Physiotherapist Eric Bowman graduated with a B.Sc. in Honours Kinesiology from the University of Waterloo in 2013 where he studied under world famous back researcher Stuart McGill. After completing his B.Sc. he researched exercise and osteoporosis under Lora Giangregorio at the UW Bone Health lab before completing his Masters of Physical Therapy at Western University in 2015 and becoming Canadian Powerlifting Union Coaching Workshop Certified in 2018. Eric’s areas of interest are rehabilitation for sports injuries, the elderly, and people with chronic pain. Outside of his clinical work Eric also contributes to course development and guest lecturing in the Kinesiology program at the University of Waterloo and has contributed to course development and review in the Western University Physiotherapy program. Eric has also competed in powerlifting.

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