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Lateral Epicondylitis

Lateral Epicondylitis, or Tennis Elbow, is the overuse of the extensor muscles in the forearm. These muscles originate on the outside of the elbow and are responsible for movements such as straightening our elbow and stabilizing our wrist. Pain can be felt at the elbow and travel down the forearm. The pain can also intensify when excessive lifting, gripping or grasping movements are performed. Surgical and non-surgical interventions are available for treatment. Non-surgical interventions should be considered first before surgery.

A licensed occupational therapist can treat lateral epicondylitis to help alleviate pain and stretch and strengthen the affected muscles.

Effective therapeutic interventions for addressing pain with tennis elbow include:

  • Ultrasound and/or paraffin wax

  • These modalities provide heat to the affected area to help reduce pain

  • Iontophoresis

  • Modality that delivers a medication through the skin by electrical currents to help reduce pain

  • Stretching & Strengthening

  • Light stretching and strengthening of affected muscles can help reduce stiffness, strengthen muscles and prevent reoccurrence

  • Ice and compression

  • Help reduce pain and inflammation

  • Kinesiotape

  • Special type of tape used on the affected muscles to help support muscle movement

  • Activity Modification

  • Avoiding activities that cause pain and/or modifying the techniques for activities

With appropriate treatment, lateral epicondylitis can be treated without the need for surgical intervention. Follow up with your local occupational therapy clinic if you feel your daily activities have been affected due to pain on the outside of your elbow.


Tosti, R., Jennings, J. & Sewards, M. (2013). Lateral epicondylitis of the elbow. The American Journal of Medicine, 126(4), 357.

Shingala, M & Gill, M. (2018). Effectiveness of iontophoresis and phonophoresis on pain in patients with lateral epicondylitis: A comparative study. Indian Journal of Physiotherapy & Occupational therapy, 12(3) 33-37. Doi: 10.5958/0973-5674.2018.00052.7

Phadke, S. & Desai, S. (2017). Effectiveness of Kinesiotape versus counterforce brace as an adjunt to occupational therapy in lateral epicondylitis. Indian Journal of Physiotherapy & Occupational therapy, 11(2) 42-46. Doi: 10.5958/0973-5674.2017.00033.8

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