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Pain or aches around the outer portion of the elbow are often due to 'tennis elbow', or lateral epicondylitis. Increased use of the muscles which extend the wrist (lift the back of the hand towards the back of the forearm; such as in a backhand shot in tennis), can cause irritation and inflammation at the attachment, the lateral epicondyle. Recent research indicates that the pain from tennis elbow is due to microscopic damage to the fibres which is know as tendonosis.

It is common for these muscles to become overly tight with excessive computer use, or manual jobs such as turning a wrench, painting, gardening etc. Full assessment of the area will include a history taking session determining what movements or positions aggravate the area and anything that may be recalled that could have caused the injury. It will also require a movement and strength assessment to determime the extent of the injury, and a proper treatment plan.

Treatment will likely include education on appropriate rest, use of ice, and a graduated home exercise program including stretches. Clinical treatment may include anti-inflammatory treatment, such as ultrasound or ice; manual therapy and myofascial release, as well as joint mobilisation as required. The radial nerve travels through this area, and can become aggravated if the pressure is excessive, or prolonged. Tennis elbow can become a chronic condition, particularly if it is not appropriately managed, or if the stressor is not removed so it is best if you seek treatment by a physiotherapist as soon as possible.