Lateral epicondylitis, also commonly referred to as tennis elbow, is a painful condition that involves the inflammation of the tendons that connect the muscles of the forearm to the outside of the elbow. Repetitive movements that involve the muscles and tendons of the forearm, especially gripping with the thumb, index and pointer fingers, can create strain and stress. The pain is primarily felt on the bump on the outer side of the elbow.
Sports, such as tennis and other racquet sports, are commonly associated with this condition; however, lateral epicondylitis is also common among people with occupations or hobbies that require repetitive movements, including carpenters, typists, painters, and plumbers. Pain is typically felt when a person lifts as object, grips an object, opens a door or jar, shakes hands, or extends (straightens) the wrist.
Treatment options typically include rest, ice, anti-inflammatory medicines, the use of arm braces, physical therapy and injections. Steroid injections also provide relief from symptoms. Extreme cases of lateral epicondylitis may require surgery. The most common approach to tennis elbow repair is open surgery. Other approaches include arthroscopic surgery.