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What Is Tennis Elbow?
Doctors first identified tennis elbow (or lateral epicondylitis) more than 100 years ago. Today, nearly half of all tennis players will suffer from this disorder at some point. Interestingly though, tennis players actually account for less than 5 percent of all reported cases making the term for this condition something of a misnomer.
Tennis elbow is the most common injury in patients seeking medical attention for elbow pain. Exactly what causes tennis elbow is unknown, but it is thought to be due to small tears of the tendons that attach forearm muscles to the arm bone at the elbow joint. Specific inflammation is rarely present in the tendon but there is an increase in pain receptors in the area making the region extremely tender.
Patients with tennis elbow syndrome experience pain on the outside of the elbow that is worsened by grasping objects and cocking back the wrist. The most common symptoms of tennis elbow are:
The pain associated with tennis elbow usually has a gradual onset, but it may also come on suddenly. Most patients with tennis elbow are between the ages of 35 and 65 years old, and it affects about an equal number of men and women. Tennis elbow occurs in the dominant arm in about 75 percent of patients.
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