Giving the elbow to epicondylitis

MOST GPs will see patients with epicondylitis of the elbow. The peak incidence occurs in people aged in their 40s.

The lateral epicondyle is affected more frequently than the medial epicondyle. Both conditions are thought to be overload injuries.

Although lateral epicondylitis is often called tennis elbow, tennis is an infrequent cause. Similarly, golfer’s elbow (medial epicondylitis) may be unrelated to golf.

Epicondylitis is painful, but patients can be reassured that the problem usually resolves over time. Activities that aggravate the symptoms should be avoided, but there is little evidence that elbow braces and straps are effective.

Therapeutic Guidelines: Rheumatology says that the effectiveness of most physical therapies has not been established. While stretching and strengthening exercises and mobilisation techniques may be of some benefit, trials that have included them with other treatments have had mixed results.