What Is Tennis Elbow?

Tennis elbow

Tennis elbow is a condition in which there is inflammation of the tendons (tendinitis) attached to the outside, or lateral side, of the elbow at a bony prominence of the upper arm bone (humerus). Tennis elbow is caused by overuse of the arm, forearm and hand muscles which results in elbow pain. The pain primarily occurs where the forearm tendons attach to the outside of the elbow and can spread into the forearm and wrist. Although common for athletes, it also occurs frequently in individuals with jobs that require repetitive motion such as plumbers, carpenters and butchers.


Symptoms and sign of tennis elbow include:
  • Tenderness on the outer bony part of the elbow
  • Pain slowly increasing around the outside of the elbow
  • Morning stiffness of the elbow with persistent aching
  • Soreness in the forearm
  • Pain when gripping or holding an object

Treatment at Penn

Tennis elbow does not usually lead to serious problems and can sometimes be treated by rest, ice, stretching and strengthening exercises and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications. Your doctor may also inject cortisone and a numbing medicine around the area where the tendon attaches to the bone to help reduce any swelling and pain.

Penn Programs & Services for Tennis Elbow

Elbow Pain

Penn orthopaedic specialists offer comprehensive surgical and nonsurgical options to treat elbow pain.

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Sports Medicine Program

We know you want to get back to your favorite activities. Learn about our unique approach to the prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation of sports-related injuries.

Sports Rehabilitation

Penn Medicine’s Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation department diagnoses and treats a variety of sports-related injuries.

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