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Arthritis, joint, bone & muscle

Tennis elbow

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Pain experienced in the elbow and radiating to the forearm and wrist

Also called

Lateral epicondylitis

Affected areas

Starting gradually, the pain experienced by sufferers of tennis elbow starts at the elbow and radiates to the forearm and wrist.


  • The onset of tennis elbow tends to be gradual rather than sudden
  • Pain on the outside of the elbow
  • Pain may radiate to the forearm and wrist
  • Opening the fingers triggers or exacerbates the pain
  • Repeatedly rotating the forearm or extending the wrist so that the hand moves backwards towards the forearm may also trigger or aggravate the pain
  • Without treatment, the symptoms may take 6-24 months to resolve


The tendons that connect the forearm muscles to the outer elbow (known as lateral epicondyle) are vulnerable to injury due to their poor blood supply.

Tennis elbow occurs when these tendons are damaged by over-use, especially from repetitive activities (such as hitting a tennis ball).

Aside from tennis, there are a range of activities that can cause  lateral epicondylitis:
  • Long term or incorrect use of a computer mouse.
  • Gardening activities such as using shears.
  • Painting
  • Typing
  • Manual work such as carpentry
  • Other racquet sports

Diet and lifestyle

There are a variety of measures you can take that may help treat and also reduce the risk of developing tennis elbow.

Treatment involves several key factors:
  • Applying an ice pack for 15 minutes every couple of hours may help soothe elbow pain
  • Massage  and stretches may help to relieve muscle tension
  • Refraining from using the affected arm is of the utmost importance, especially any activity that may be responsible for the pain to begin with
  • An elbow brace or taping may be necessary to help protect the damaged area- check with your physiotherapist
There are a number of steps you can take to reduce the risk of  tennis elbow:
  • Remember to stretch and warm up before playing sport or taking part in any activity that may involve repetitive use of the forearm or elbow
  • Ask your healthcare professional about the correct method for lifting objects
  • Once you're finished any sporting activity, take the time cool off and stretch
  • If playing a sport that may cause the condition, pay attention to your technique. Using lighter racquets and larger grip sizes may be beneficial too
  • Your work environment and activities should be set up to minimise repetitive actions and pressure on the wrist, forearm and elbow. Your work area and seating should be in the best position to avoid strain on your muscles and joints
  • Use light weights to help strengthen your hand and forearm muscles
  • Take regular rest and stretch breaks


Important notes

If symptoms persist, see your healthcare professional.

Get free personalised advice from our team of qualified naturopaths here

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Hi there, thanks for sharing your experience. I’m glad to hear that you have found some relief now. All the best, Leanne (a Blackmores naturopath)
Anonymous 30 Jan 2015
Hi Alvera, I’m sorry to hear that you have had tennis elbow for some time. The impact that going to work after your treatment will have, will depend on what sort of work you do and possibly the treatment itself. I suggest speaking to your acupuncturist for advice on what to do (or what not to do) to gain the greatest benefit from the acupuncture treatment. All the best, Leanne (a Blackmores naturopath)
I have tennis elbow for some time now, I have been going to a Physo and having accupunture then going to work, I feel going to work is undoing the accupunture that I had done. Does this correct itself down the track.
Im trying to avoid the injection which I believe is very painful.
Anonymous 09 Oct 2014
Hi, I do a lot of crocheting, I have pain my left arm and elbow, Dr says it is Tennis Elbow. What make it worse I am left handed. I take Lyprinol and fish oil. what else can I do.
Anonymous 07 Oct 2014
Dear Dave
Sorry to hear of your recent diagnosis of epicondylitis (tennis elbow). You may find the above remedies useful or alternatively Green Lipped muscle oil extract for anti-inflammatory benefits. However for more individualised advice kindly contact us at or free call 1800 803 760. Kind regards Emma (Blackmores naturopath)
Hi really looking for advice i have all symptoms of tennis elbow unfortunatelyI work two jobs that require me to use my elbow/arms in repetitive actions which I have been doing for the last eight years. I am unable to change jobs at the moment, as jobs are scarce in Geelong, Victoria. Do you have any advice on what I can do to reduce the pain, other that rest. Oddly enough I have been going to the gym for five or six months, and I have noticed over the last two months the pain in my left elbow is only just managable. I look forward to your advice.
Hi Tony,

Magnesium is an important nutrient when you are doing a lot of training. Its needed for healthy muscle function and helps with muscle cramps and spasms. It would be worthwhile for you to see a Physio. A Physio can help treat your current injuries and give some strengthening exercises and stretches to help prevent any further injuries so that you can keep doing the activities that you enjoy.
I get golfers elbow when I do underhand chin ups.
Also, I regularly strain my calf muscles when I extend my running training, and yesterday I strained my achilles. All these things stop me in my tracks.
What is my body lacking?