Tennis elbow, lateral epicondylalgia, lateral epicondylitis, shooter’s elbow, or archer’s elbow is a condition involving the swelling of the outer part of the elbow. The main reason for the condition is still unknown, but it seems that racket sports have a huge contribution for the development of which. This fact has led to the name tennis elbow as what this condition is most commonly referred to.

Tennis elbow is an overuse injury involving the lateral position of the elbows. When tennis is employed, the arms are usually extended and the ball is hit afterwards with a forward flexion of the elbow joint to allow the racket to swing. This swinging motion with increased stress during hitting the tennis ball can cause a strain on the lateral epicondyle leading to swelling and pain. Since the injury to the lateral epicondyle commonly results from motions similar to the motion of the elbow in tennis, the condition was commonly referred to as tennis elbow.

The History of Tennis Elbow

The term tennis elbow evolved from the term lawn tennis arm used in 1882 by Mr. Henry Morris. He coined the term “lawn tennis arm” after suffering pain in his elbow following a lawn tennis game. He described the condition as a sprain on the muscles on the inner side of the humerus. In 1883, Major used the term “Lawn-tennis elbow” in his paper referring to lateral epicondylitis.  Various people also have started to describe the pathology of the condition and arrived at a conclusion that it involves the overuse injury to the lateral epicondyle making them call the condition as lateral epicondylalgia or lateral epicondylitis. However, for convenience sake, the condition was called as tennis elbow. After this, the term tennis elbow was known by all and was the common term to refer to the condition.

Causes of Tennis Elbow

While tennis elbow can be caused by repetitive injury while playing tennis, the swelling of the lateral epicondyle is not solely a result of playing tennis. In fact, other racket sports such as badminton, ball badminton, Lotball, Paddleball, Pickleball, Racquetball, Rapid Ball and others may also lead to such because of the similar motions of the elbow. Other activities such as swimming, climbing and manual work can also lead to such. Furthermore, waiters can also suffer from the condition because the elbows are usually flexed when they carry heavy trays for the diners leading to overuse injury to the inner side of the elbow joint.

Tennis elbow is similar to Golfer’s elbow only that the later involves the inner portion of the elbows. In the same line with tennis elbow, Golfer’s elbow was the term used to denote injuries during motions seen in golf although other causes may also lead to the development of such.

Tennis elbow leads to symptoms such as pain on the inner side of the elbow joint, swelling, redness and even loss of range of motion. Regardless of whether it is caused by tennis or not, tennis elbow requires immediate management to relieve significant pain and improve the motion of the elbow joint.