symptoms usually begin gradually. The main symptom is pain, which may begin
with a dull aching or soreness on the outer part of the elbow that goes away
within 24 hours after an activity. As time goes on, it may take longer for the
pain to go away. The condition may further progress to pain with any movement,
even during everyday activities, such as lifting a jug of milk. Pain may spread
to the hand, wrist, other parts of the arm, shoulder, or neck.
- Usually occurs in the dominant arm (your right
arm if you are right-handed, or left arm if you are
- Affects the outside of the elbow (the side away from
your body). Pain increases when that area is pressed or when you are grasping
or twisting objects.
- May increase in the evening and make sleep
difficult. The elbow might be stiff in the morning.
- Over time may
occur with mild activity, such as picking up a coffee cup, turning a jar lid or
doorknob or key, or shaking hands. Simply starting your car could hurt. You
may even have pain when you aren't using your elbow.
Other parts of the arm, shoulder, and neck may also become
sore or painful as the body tries to make up for the loss of elbow movement and
Swelling rarely occurs with tennis elbow. If your elbow
is swollen, you may have another type of condition, such as
Radial tunnel syndrome is an unusual type of nerve entrapment that is sometimes
confused with or can develop at the same time as tennis elbow.
William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine
David Bardana, MD, FRCSC - Orthopedic Surgery, Sports Medicine
January 10, 2013
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