What are sport-specific biomechanics causing lateral epicondylitis (tennis elbow)?

Updated: Oct 30, 2018
  • Author: Bryant James Walrod, MD; Chief Editor: Craig C Young, MD  more...
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Answer

Tennis is the most common sport to cause lateral epicondylitis, but the condition can also be seen in those who play squash and badminton. Symptoms can occur after an improper backhand hitting technique, which can occur when the athlete attempts to increase power by increasing forearm force rather than relying on core, rotator cuff, and scapular power. This results in snapping the wrist with supination and irritation of the extensor tendons. Symptoms can also occur with improper technique when an athlete does not get his or her feet into position and hits the ball late or when the athlete strikes the ball with a bent "leading" elbow. The power of the hit is again generated from the forearm instead of the core. This condition has also been observed more frequently in novice players when compared with more experienced players. This may be secondary to the ability of experienced players to decrease the impact forces from the racquet to the wrist.


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