Tennis Elbow: Causes and Prevention

Tennis is a sport that requires full body movement; however, most of the action is primarily localized in the arm region. One of the most common tennis injuries that tennis players suffer from is tennis elbow, medically referred to as lateral epicondylitis.

What is Tennis Elbow?

Tennis elbow is a painful inflammation of the elbow joint which can also cause micro-tearing of the tendons that attach the muscles to bone. The pain is generally located on the outer part of the elbow but may travel down to the forearm.



A woman experiencing elbow pain


People suffering from tennis elbow might feel pain when extending the arm fully, making a fist, opening a door, shaking hands, or grabbing onto something. It also leads to tenderness outside of the elbow.


Here’s a rundown of the causes of tennis elbow.


Repetitive motions over a long period are one of the most common causes of tennis elbow. Sports like tennis, golf, racquetball, squash, and fencing all require vigorous movements that can put significant pressure on the arm.


A woman playing tennis


Using extra force while hitting a shot or gripping a racket during a swing puts excessive force on the tendons, causing micro-tears in the tissue.

Weightlifting is also a sport that requires repetitive lifting heavy equipment and can cause severe damage to the elbow tissues.


A person weightlifting


Other Professions

Tennis elbow isn’t only caused by professions relating to sports. Other trades such as carpentry, typing, painting, knitting, etc., all require constant movement of the arm for extended periods. Such intricate movement can also result in tennis elbow.


Those who already have tennis elbow can seek different types of treatment including rest, physiotherapy, medication, or surgical treatments depending on the severity of the condition.

A child getting physiotherapy done for shoulder


However, those involved in sports that involve prolonged and frequent use of the arm and elbow muscles or activities that put a strain on them should look for ways to prevent it.

Stretch Regularly

Stretching regularly can help strengthen the muscles in the shoulder and upper arm and help reduce pressure on the elbow. Warming up or stretching before playing a sport can really help loosening up the muscles.

Use Alternate Hands

When possible, trying alternating between both hands when performing repetitive tasks or ones which require strength. This will help avoid overburdening one arm.

Use Counterforce Bands

Wearing a counterforce band around the forearm or just below the elbow helps distribute the pressure throughout the arm, relieving the elbow to quite an extent.

Using Lightweight Tools or Equipment

Heavier equipment such as rackets, hammers or other tools can add extra strain on your tendons. Try to use lightweight tools with a bigger grip size to reduce the pressure on your elbow.

Seek Advice from a Professional Coach

If you love to play tennis or golf and don’t want to stop playing, have a professional golf or tennis coach or instructor evaluate your technique and posture and ensure that you it’s not causing harm to your elbow.

If you have a passion for tennis and need a professional coach who can evaluate your form, then we’ve got you covered.

Nick Gallagher, owner of Nick Gallagher Tennis Instruction, is a PTR-certified tennis coach with over 12 years of experience in offering tennis lessons Palm Beach.

If you want to continue learning and playing tennis, and while making sure you’re not going to end up with tennis elbow, then contact us today and book your lesson anywhere in Delray Beach, Boca Raton, and Palm Beach.