Lateral epicondylitis is more commonly known by the name Tennis Elbow. While playing tennis may be a cause for this tendon condition, by far most patients acquire this painful elbow condition through other types of work, hobby, or daily activities. If anything, this is more a disease of older age (sorry), than anything else.
Patients complain of pain, often severe, at the lateral aspect (“outside”) of the elbow. The source of this pain is an underlying tendon. The muscles which allow you to open your hand and extend your wrist share a common originating tendon. That tendon attaches to the lateral epicondyle of the humerus. Through overuse, microscopic damage occurs to the common extensor tendon. In your youth, your body was able to heal this damage before it became symptomatic. But as the body ages, the ability to regenerate diminishes, and the microscopic damage accumulates faster than the body can repair. There becomes a point where even the activities of daily living exceed the body’s ability to heal. Thus, chronic overuse and age lead to this degenerative tendon problem.
Initial treatment aims towards behavioral modifications, stretching exercises, physical therapy, and rest of the arm. Steroid injections are also part of the commonly used available treatments. For those patients who continue to experience significant, disabling pain, various surgical procedures are available.