Tennis elbow

A tennis elbow (medical: epicondylitis lateralis) is a painful area on the side of the elbow. Here, tendons attach muscles that move the wrist backwards. The complaints last an average of 9 months and disappear spontaneously. Despite claims from various therapists, there is no evidence that a therapy accelerates the improvement. What can you do yourself?

Cause tennis elbow

The causal mechanism of the tennis elbow is probably overload: this can be a one-off heavy overload, or a continuous overload (eg. use of a computer mouse). The tendency is then to spare of the elbow. However, the tendon attachment at the elbow will weaken, resulting in come into being faster complaints with subsequent use. So the advice is: use it normally. If necessary, a painkiller can be used for a limited period of time.

What can musculoskeletal medicine do

In musculoskeletal medicine people with tennis elbow are regularly seen. Factors are identified and treated that can delay the recovery. Example 1: a programmer who is accustomed to sit down on a chair is trained to change the posture. Example 2: someone who has suffered a movement limitation in the wrist during a fall on the hand/wrist is treated to resolve this. Example 3: In a tennis player who is particularly troubled by the backhand, it is checked whether there are limitations in the movement chain of the hand (elbow, shoulder, shoulder belt, spinal column) that can be treated, and it is advisable to temporarily limit the backhand.


Assendelft WJJ, et al. NHG-Standaard epicondylitis, eerste herziening. Huisarts Wet 2009;52(3):140-6.
Assendelft WJJ, et al. Tennis elbow. BMJ 2003;327:329-30.
Mellor S. Treatment of tennis elbow. BMJ 2003;327:330.