Suffering from tennis elbow: Symptoms and healing

Tennis elbow is an annoying condition that can seriously affect you. It is a non-bacterial inflammation that only heals after weeks or even months. The pain can be felt near the elbow when the forearm starts moving. The condition can be caused, among other things, while making a sudden and unnatural movement or playing tennis. When playing tennis, your arm can become severely overloaded. How can I treat tennis elbow and how do I prevent the arm from becoming stiff?

Tennis elbow

  • What is tennis elbow?
  • What are the symptoms?
  • What can cause tennis elbow?
  • How can this condition be treated?

An inflamed tendon / Source:, Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA-4.0)

What is tennis elbow?

Tennis elbow is sometimes also called tennis elbow. The scientific name for tennis elbow is ‘epicondylitis lateralis humeri’. It is a non-bacterial inflammation of one or more tendons that attach to the muscles of the arms. In some cases the inflammation is located at the attachment point of the forearm.

What are the symptoms?

A tennis elbow can be immediately recognized by the pain you experience when making certain movements. This pain is located at the outer elbow joint. This is the place where muscles attach to the bone and this is also the area where inflammation has developed. You may also feel pain in your forearm. With tennis elbow, pain can be felt when the forearm is rotated outwards or when the wrist is bent backwards. This can happen during everyday actions, such as lifting an object or while using a screwdriver. You can also experience pain when you make a backhand movement during tennis or when you shake someone’s hand (firmly).

What can cause tennis elbow?

As the term ‘tennis elbow’ suggests, this condition can develop while playing tennis. When playing tennis, the muscles can be overloaded and tears can develop in the muscles. This is because in tennis the arm is moved repeatedly in a forceful manner. This puts too much pressure on the tendons to which the muscles are connected.

A wrong move

Tennis elbow can have another cause besides tennis. A sudden movement in which the muscles are suddenly used intensively can cause tennis elbow. This can happen during everyday activities and various sports where one has not warmed up the muscles and/or makes an incorrect movement.

Shoulder and neck complaints

Sometimes shoulder and neck complaints can also cause the feeling of tennis elbow. The pain can radiate towards your arm, making the exact cause usually difficult to determine.

How can this condition be treated?

This condition heals on its own. However, it may take many months for your arm to heal completely. Most patients are cured after six months. In extreme cases it can take more than a year. In most cases, however, the worst complaints disappear after a maximum of four weeks.

Prevent your arm from getting stiff

It is important to continue your daily activities. You must be able to use the arm freely. The use of additional aids such as a wrist band, splint or sling is not recommended. By not using these aids, your arm remains loose and your muscles remain trained. When there is pain, you can find another way to perform a task. It is not recommended to switch hands in this case. However, it is recommended to proceed with caution. In addition, it is important to do gentle stretching exercises.

Neck and shoulder complaints

If the shoulder or neck is the cause, a massage or manual therapy can offer a solution. Manual therapy treats people who have difficulty moving their joints.


The muscle and tendon tissue can recover through rest. The tissue slowly becomes thicker and firmer because of the rest you take. This process continues until the arm is fully recovered.