Tennis elbow is localized pain caused by repetitive stress on the muscles that are connected to the small bone known as the lateral epicondylitis (ep-eh-con-dih-LYE-tis) on the outside of the elbow. These muscles extend along the top side of the forearm to the wrist and are responsible for extending or bending back the wrist and fingers. In many cases the pain is worse when the elbow is in an extended position, such as when playing golf or other sports. The repetitive use of tools can be another cause of this injury. If too much stress is placed on these muscles, micro-tears (tehrz) can occur. These micro tears may become inflamed and cause pain near the muscle, or in the forearm. Pain increases with activities that require muscle contractions such as shaking hands, turning doorknobs, or picking up objects with the palm down. The diagnosis of tennis elbow can be determined by a history and physical examination of the patient. Although X-rays are not always required, they may be ordered to ensure the bones in the elbow are normal. Many treatments are available, but in many cases stretching and strengthening exercises are helpful. For more information on tennis elbow, contact an orthopedic or sports medicine professional.
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