Causes and Treatment of Elbow Tendonitis

by Gabriella Patel on August 5, 2015

Lateral epicondylitis is commonly called different names; elbow tendonitis, or tennis elbow, and is a painful condition involving the tendons that attach to the bone on the outside part of the elbow. Degeneration of the tendon’s attachment occurs, weakening the anchor site and placing greater stress on the area. Pain is usually gradually felt on or below the elbows bony prominence.

This can then lead to pain associated with activities in which this muscle is active, such as lifting, gripping, and grasping. Sports such as tennis are commonly associated with this ailment, but the problem can occur with many different types of activities that require bending of the elbow. Lateral tennis elbow is a very stubborn condition that does not easily heal quickly.

Some of the causes of elbow tendonitis are:

Heredity- Some people may be born with tendons which are less durable. In this case symptoms may occur at an earlier age or occur at multiple sites such as both elbows, shoulders, Achilles, and feet.

Overuse- An activity that places stress on the tendon attachments, through stress on the muscle-tendon unit, increases the strain on the tendon. These stresses can be from holding too small or large a racquet grip or from “repetitive” gripping and grasping activities.

Injury- A direct blow to the elbow may result in swelling of the tendon that can lead to degeneration. A sudden extreme action, force, or activity could also injure the tendon.

Healing and Rehabilitation

To prevent future occurrences of lateral epicondylitis, an elbow brace can be worn around the forearm to support the tendon while healing and when returning to activity. The brace works by applying compression around the upper arm and changes the direction of force through the tendon, reducing the strain on the painful part of the tendon.

The muscles specifically involved in the rehabilitation of Tennis elbow can be stretched by placing the arm out straight in front, palm down and gently pull the hand towards you. Rotating the forearm inwards can increase the stretch. Held for 20 seconds and repeated up to 5 times.

Both stretching and strengthening exercises are important and provide the main element of a rehabilitation program, but should only be performed when the pain allows. Strengthening exercises usually begin with isometric or static exercises, contracting the muscles without actually moving the wrist or hand. The arm is positioned with the palm and forearm facing down. Aim to extend the wrist (lifting upwards) against some type of resistance which can either be your hand or a therapists. Maintain the contraction for 5 seconds. Rest and repeat 10-15 times. There should not be any movement at the wrist joint.

The next step is to bring in dynamic strengthening exercises which involve movement. These include wrist extension exercises using a weight or resistance band to resist the movement. The load is gradually increased over time and within the limits of pain. An elastic band over the fingers can also be done as the arm becomes stronger.

Gabriella Patel

Gabriella Patel

Health Contributor at Creative Bioscience
I grew up in a family who has a long history in natural supplements. I've always found such a greater level of health and well being because of the choices I've made to seek natural and organic products. I've taken a lot of my knowledge now to be able to help others make the right decisions to achieve a higher level of wellness. From what I've seen most of where the problems come from is what we put in our bodies, and what we're not. I hope to shed some light on many issues we all face. Subscribe to my work Gabriella's favorite product is Detox Diet 1234
Gabriella Patel

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