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Tennis Elbow vs. Elbow Tendinitis: Understanding the Differences

If you're an avid tennis player, golfer, or simply someone who engages in repetitive arm movements, you might have heard the terms "tennis elbow" and "elbow tendinitis" thrown around. While these two conditions share some similarities, they are not always the same. In this blog post, we'll delve into the nuances of tennis elbow and elbow tendinitis, helping you grasp the distinctions, causes, symptoms, and potential treatment options for each.

Understanding Tennis Elbow

Tennis elbow, also known as lateral epicondylitis, is a painful condition that primarily affects the outer part of the elbow. Contrary to its name, you don't have to be an athlete to develop tennis elbow; it can occur in anyone who engages in repetitive forearm movements, such as gripping and lifting.

Common Features of Tennis Elbow

  • Pain Location: The pain is typically felt on the outer part of the elbow and may radiate down into the forearm.

  • Grip Weakness: Sufferers often experience a weakened grip, making it challenging to perform everyday tasks.

  • Activities That Trigger It: Tennis elbow is often triggered by activities that involve repetitive wrist extension, like gripping a tennis racket, using a screwdriver, or even shaking hands.

Elbow Tendinitis: A Broader Category

Elbow tendinitis, on the other hand, is a broader term encompassing various conditions that involve inflammation or irritation of the tendons around the elbow joint. It can affect different areas of the elbow, including the inner and outer aspects, or even the front or back. once you've suffered for 3 months or longer, however, the inflammatory component tends to be resolved.

Types of Elbow Tendinitis

  • Golfer's Elbow (Medial Epicondylitis): This condition primarily affects the inner part of the elbow. Golfers, baseball players, and those who perform repetitive wrist flexion movements are often susceptible.

  • Tennis Elbow: As mentioned earlier, tennis elbow falls under the umbrella of elbow tendinitis, but it specifically involves the outer part of the elbow.

  • Triceps Tendinitis: This condition affects the back of the elbow and is often seen in weightlifters and athletes involved in throwing sports.

  • Biceps Tendinitis: This condition affects the front of the elbow and is often seen in bowlers and construction workers.

Treatment and Prevention

The treatment and prevention strategies for tennis elbow and elbow tendinitis share common elements. These include:

  • Relative Rest: Giving your affected arm time to heal is crucial. Avoid activities that aggravate the condition.

  • Ice and Compression: Applying ice and using compression can help reduce inflammation and relieve pain in the early stages.

  • Physical Therapy: A physical therapist can guide you through exercises to strengthen the affected area and improve flexibility.

  • Bracing: Wearing a brace or splint may provide support and alleviate strain on the tendons in the first 6 weeks.

  • Anti-Inflammatory Medications: Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can help manage pain and inflammation in the early stages of these conditions.

  • Ergonomic Changes: Modify your techniques and equipment to reduce strain on the elbow.


While tennis elbow and elbow tendinitis are related conditions, understanding their unique characteristics is essential for effective management. If you suspect you may have either of these conditions, it's advisable to consult a medical professional for an accurate diagnosis and tailored treatment plan.

Remember, prevention is key. Whether you're an athlete or simply want to maintain healthy elbows, knowing the risk factors and taking steps to protect your joints can go a long way in preserving your elbow health. If you found this information helpful, please share it with others who may benefit from it

For a deeper dive into this subject, check out my YouTube video here. Don't forget to like and subscribe and hit the bell icon to get notified when new videos are posted.

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