Tennis Elbow | Causes & Risk Factors

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What causes tennis elbow?

Tennis elbow is an overuse injury. An overuse injury occurs when repeated movements cause inflammation and pain in joints and tendons. Any type of repeated motion of the wrist or forearm or repeated stress on the tendons can cause tennis elbow. It can be caused by many activities, besides tennis. Other types of sports and jobs that involve repeated wrist motion can also cause tennis elbow. In some cases, the tendons can swell after a direct blow to the elbow. And sometimes, the condition isn’t related to any activity.

Who is at risk for tennis elbow?

Anyone who uses repeated hand motions is at risk. Examples include painters, meat cutters, carpenters, musicians, manicurists and dentists. People who work on an assembly line or use computers also are at risk.

Playing tennis is one of the ways you can get tennis elbow. Other sports that can lead to tennis elbow include other racquet sports (such as racquetball or squash) and fencing.

Tennis elbow can occur at any age, but is most common in people 30 years to 50 years of age. It affects both men and women.

Written by familydoctor.org editorial staff

Reviewed/Updated: 05/14
Created: 10/09

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