Lateral epicondylalgia

Lateral epicondylalgia aka ‘tennis elbow’ is a common overuse injury of the elbow.

Approximately 40% of people will experience lateral epicondylalgia symptoms in their life.

It’s most commonly seen in people in people between 30-50 years old and in people who have repetitive work roles which involve lifting and manual labour.

It makes up approximately 18% of all work-cover related injuries.


Your elbow is made up of 3 main bones, the humerus, radius and ulna.

The two bony prominences on the end of the humerus are called the epicondyles (medial and lateral).

The forearm extensor muscles originate at the lateral epicondyle and run down the outside of the arm, where they differentiate and run into the wrist and fingers.

This common origin site (lateral epicondyle) is where lateral epicondylalgia symptoms occur, this is the point where the tendon attaches to the bone.


Despite popular opinion, this condition is not due to inflammation of the tendons.

It is due to excessive load on the extensor tendons as they attach to the bone.

This overload causes microtears in the tendon which leads to disruption of collagen fibres and decreased blood flow.

Excessive load on the tendon can lead to increased pain, decreased functional capacity and a long recovery time.

Signs and symptoms

Conservative management/physiotherapy

Physiotherapy can be an effective way to manage tennis elbow symptoms.

Your physiotherapist will guide you through the appropriate methods. These include:

Other methods of management

Sometimes conservative management is not enough to relieve the pain, in this case, your physiotherapist and sports physician can guide you through the other methods of treatment.

These include: