Tennis elbow: what is it and how can you swerve the pain?

You don’t need to be a professional racquet player to suffer from the painful condition lateral epicondylitis — informally known as tennis elbow.

The injury is usually caused by overusing your forearm due to a repetitive or strenuous activity like gardening, decorating and of course, playing racquet sports.

According to the NHS, it’s thought that up to just under two million people in the UK suffer with this often debilitating condition. But it doesn’t have to be this way.

What is Tennis elbow?

Unfortunately, tennis elbow can be a long-suffering condition that can last anywhere between six months and two years. Although many people can make a full recovery much quicker than this if they are treating it.

Symptoms include:

  • Pain and tenderness on the outside of your elbow
  • Pain in your forearm
  • Pain in the back of your hand

It can cause problems like:

  • Fully extending your arm
  • Holding and using small objects
  • Twisting your forearm
  • Stopping you from doing everyday tasks, like lifting

Denise Callaghan, Osteopath, says: “If you have tennis elbow, or feel a pain in this area, you should stop and rest your injured area rather than carrying on through the pain.

“It happens if the muscles in your forearm are strained or overused, and inflammation can occur near the lateral epicondyle of your elbow. Some people can find some relief in holding a cold compress, like a bag of frozen sweetcorn wrapped in a towel, on the area. However, I would advise anyone suffering from tennis elbow symptoms to see an Osteopath to really get to the bottom of the problem and learn some techniques to prevent it occurring again.”

How exactly does Osteopathy help with Tennis Elbow?

Now for the good news. If you have been wondering how you can hit back at this problem — listen up. Osteopaths, like Denise, can use a range of Manual Osteopathic Techniques like direct soft tissue techniques to help ease the pain around the elbow, shoulder and hand.

In fact, according to one study, which looked at the differences between steroid injections  and deep friction massages in the treatment of tennis elbow, researchers concluded: “Deep friction massage is an effective treatment for lateral epicondylitis.”

Ultrasound therapy is another form of treatment which can help to ease the pain of tennis elbow. One research paper found: “Ultrasound therapy is helpful to relieve pain for Lateral epicondylitis patients.”

Denise is also trained in acupuncture, which as we’ve seen, is a form of alternative medicine that works to relieve pain and restore your body’s overall balance.

If you are in pain, you don’t need to suffer in silence. Denise has been an osteopath for more than 30 years and is a member of the British Acupuncture Council and the British Medical Acupuncture Society. So get in touch.


If you would like to book an appointment with Denise please call