Tennis elbow (lateral epicondylitis)

Tennis elbow (lateral epicondylitis)

Repetitive motion of the wrist while playing tennis is the common cause of this condition but although its name suggests it, this condition is not exclusive to tennis players. Other repetitive gripping activities can also be the cause of tennis elbow, including painting, gardening or even frequent computer mouse use.

Our specialists at Schoen Clinic London will help you to relieve your elbow pain. Together we will discuss which treatment is best for your symptoms.



During surgery local anaesthetic is injected around the wound and the elbow is numb for a few hours. After this you will be given painkillers to take whilst in hospital and at home. Ice packs may also help reduce pain. Ice or frozen peas can be wrapped in a damp tea towel and applied to the elbow for up to 15 minutes.

Wearing a sling

At the end of the operation you will be placed into a bulky bandage dressing and a sling. These are for comfort and can be removed after 48 hours.

The wound

Keyhole surgery is usually performed through small 5-10mm wounds. With open surgery the wound will be a few centimetres in length. You may have dissolvable stitches or sticky strips over the wounds. You must keep the wounds dry and covered with a small dressing until they have healed. This usually takes 7-10 days.

Returning to work

This will depend on your job and your surgeon will advise you. You may be able to return to a desk job within a few days. However, manual labourers may need 8-12 weeks off work.


You will not be able to drive for about a week.

Leisure activities

You should not lift anything heavy or do anything very active for approximately 6-12 weeks. Contact or high-risk sports may need to be avoided for six months.

Follow-up appointment

You will be seen in outpatients by your surgeon three weeks after surgery. Further follow-up appointments are tailored to the individual but often occur around 3-6 months after surgery.


Before you go home your physiotherapist will teach you some exercises for you to practice several times every day. You should continue these exercises until you see the physiotherapist in outpatients. Recovery time is often slow due to poor blood supply in the area and slow healing of the tendons. Whilst some improvement can be seen after four weeks, it often takes between four and six months to regain good function and strength with a pain-free elbow.