Tennis Elbow – Related to Occupational Therapy

 Tennis Elbow – Related to Occupational Therapy


Lateral epicondylitis is the technical name for a condition called Tennis elbow. It is the inflammation of the bony part of the elbow at which the muscles attach causing tendon degeneration hence resulting into elbow pain from the lateral side. This takes place mainly in the tendon which connects the ECRB muscle to the elbow, increasing pain receptors hence increasing tenderness of the region.

Causes of Tennis elbow

Tennis elbow is caused by recurring strain emanating from repeated extension of the muscle from wrist bending against resistance. Manual laboring and sport are the main causes of this condition. Performing strenuous activities such as plumbing, carpentry, weight training as well as gripping objects which are heavy like manually driven screw driver could increase the chances of developing Tennis elbow condition as compared to  tennis playing. Tennis elbows can also be caused by playing tennis if the backhand technique used is meager. By bending of the wrist as a back hand is struck, the impact is transferred to the elbow via the tendons and not through the whole arm. This force then increases the muscle activity thus overstretching the muscle leading to Lateral epicondylitis. This condition can occur in two ways .In the first instance , an abrupt occurrence is evident  at once when exertion of the wrist is strained resulting to small tears in the tendon. Secondly, a late occurrence might be seen within a span of between 24 to 72 hours following a rigorous unique wrist extension (Scher et al (2009)



Lateral epicondylitis manifest through a consistent pain at nearly one to two centimeters below lateral epicondyle which is the outer section of the elbow. This is felt when straightening hand and fingers.  Tennis elbow can also manifest by wrist weakness and inability to perform simple activities such as hand shake and door opening. Interruption of impulse transmission affects the whole arm hence preventing occupational activities in adults Injuries in the neck can also cause tennis elbow due to interruption of impulse transmission (Board 2012)


Treatment strategies applied together helps resolve the problem after a long time. Enough exercise, rest, physical and occupational therapy can be used during the initial stages. Cold therapy can also be used whereby ice is applied to the affected part for pain relief. Strain can be reduced through tendon protection by wearing a tennis elbow brace. Other methods of management of tennis elbow involve the use of laser treatment to relieve pain, reduce inflammation and to promote healing. Pain reducing drugs such as Ibuprofen and steroids for example cortisone, has shown good progress for better prognosis. Massage therapy, transverse friction method and acupuncture may also augment cold therapy during management of tennis elbow (Tennis elbow. (n.d.).

Full root analysis for tennis elbow needs to be done to help eliminate the main cause of the condition. In serious situations where symptoms persist for a period of up to twelve months  after non-surgical management,  proper diagnosis using MRI scans, x-rays, as well as  test of nerve function can be done  and the patient  prepared for surgery  where the extensor  muscle is detached and resection of  lateral epicondyle  done , it may also involve the removal of hypertrophic synovium by way of  general anesthesia,  depending  on the extent of injury and doctors advise .After surgery, temporary arm immobilization is necessary using a splint which is removed after one week. This is followed by exercise in order to improve flexibility and elbow stretching.  Strengthening activity is then begun two  month later and normal return to athletic activity after the surgery is allowed between four and six months (wiley (2011)


Tennis elbow is indeed a condition caused by strenuous activities duet to .Proper occupational and physical treatment may help heal the condition but surgical options may also work when the conditions worsen. Due to its link with muscles activities, the condition will certainly affect occupational activity of the victim.



Scher, D., Wolf, J., & Owens, B. (2009). Lateral Epicondylitis. Orthopedics. Retrieved March 17, 2014, from

Wiley, J. (2011). Microcurrent Therapy in the Management of Chronic Tennis Elbow: Pilot Studies to Optimize Parameters.. Microcurrent Therapy in the Management of Chronic Tennis Elbow: Pilot Studies to Optimize Parameters.. Retrieved March 17, 2014, from

Board, A. (2012, November 8). PubMed Health. Tennis elbow. Retrieved March 17, 2014, from Copy & Paste | Parenthetical

TENNIS ELBOW (lateral epicondylitis). (n.d.). The Hand Clinic. Retrieved March 17, 2014, from



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