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Causes - Tennis elbow

You can get tennis elbow by overusing your forearm. This can be from a repetitive or strenuous activity.

It can sometimes happen after banging or knocking your elbow.

If you strain the muscles in your forearm, tiny tears can develop near the bony lump on the outside of your elbow. This lump is the lateral epicondyle. It can then get inflamed.

Activities that can cause tennis elbow

You can get tennis elbow by doing any activity that involves twisting your wrist, bending your elbow or using your forearm muscles.

Examples include:

  • playing racquet sports (tennis, badminton or squash) or sports that involve throwing
  • using hand tools (gardening shears, screwdriver or scissors)
  • using tools while decorating, plumbing or bricklaying
  • activities that involve fine, repetitive hand and wrist movements (typing or sewing)
  • activities that involve bending the elbow (playing the violin)

Content supplied by the NHS and adapted for Ireland by the HSE

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This project has received funding from the Government of Ireland’s Sláintecare Integration Fund 2019 under Grant Agreement Number 123.

Page last reviewed: 21 March 2021
Next review due: 21 March 2024