Lateral epicondylitis is a painful condition affecting the tendinous tissue of the lateral epicondyle of humerus, leading to loss of function of the affected limb. It can be caused by overuse or repetitive strain, improper technique and improper fit of equipment. It is prevalent in 1-3% of the general population. Risk increases with age, with the highest instances between the ages of 30-55. Tennis accounts for 5-10% of all cases. 40-50% of tennis players experience this condition (1,2).
Lateral epicondylitis is common among recreational sports athletes (tennis, racquetball, squash, badminton, fencing, weightlifting), plumbers, auto workers, carpenters, cooks, machinists, typists, painters, gardeners, etc.
Treatment can consist of: Rest, activity modification, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medicine, steroid injections, elbow strap, equipment check, surgery, occupational therapy, physical therapy. The conventional PT treatment approach (1): Relieve pain, control inflammation, promote healing, improve local and general fitness. Specific PT interventions include ice massage, ice packs, heat modalities, whirlpool, ultrasound, electrical stimulation, laser therapy, iontophoresis, transverse or deep frictional massage, dry needling, stretching, strengthening (isometric, concentric, eccentric), and patient education on a home exercise program.
1)Wasseem, M, Nuhmani, S, Ram, C.S., Sachin, Y.Lateral epicondylitis: a review of the literature. Journal of back and musculoskeletal rehabilitation. 2012;25:131-142
2)Hong,Q, Durand, M, Loisel, P. Treatment of lateral epicondylitis: where is the evidence?Joint Bone Spine. 2004;71:369-373.