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Health Services

Lateral Epicondylitis

What is it?

The lateral epicondyle can be felt along the outside of the elbow. The muscles that extend or straighten the wrist and fingers attach to this bone with their tendons. These tendons can become overused and develop tiny tears resulting in pain.

Signs and Symptoms of this Condition

◾Pain on the outside of the elbow/in the forearm that may increase when lifting objects
◾Swelling around the elbow
◾Pain with resisted activities and lifting objects


◾Engaging in activities that involve extending your wrist and rotating your forearm such as tennis, roofing, raking, hammering, or even painting.


◾Warm-up and cool-down when engaging in sports like tennis and golf
◾When lifting objects like heavy pans, use both hands

What You Can Do At Home

◾Rest the area to allow the tendons to heal and wear a counterforce brace
◾Heat the area 2x/day (see Home Heat Treatments)
◾Massage the elbow at the point of most tenderness with firm pressure clockwise, counterclockwise, up and down
◾Ice the area 2x/day (see Home Heat Treatments)


Your doctor or occupational therapist may recommend a counterforce brace such as the one to the right. Your therapist may also use heat, stretching, and strengthening exercises during your treatment. A cortisone injection may also be used to reduce pain and inflammation. Surgery is also a possible treatment if the symptoms are not relieved with other measures.


The information on this website is meant for patient education and to provide home treatment options for some common muscular and skeletal injuries. It is not intended to replace your health care provider. Many are actually intended for use by your health care provider through referral to the website for appropriate self-care interventions. If your symptoms get worse; are not improving in two weeks despite treatment; or new unexplained symptoms develop, you should contact or follow-up with your health care provider.
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