Many of us have heard of tennis elbow, also called lateral epicondylitis, which is a painful condition that involves the tendons that join the forearm muscles to the outside of the elbow. But why is it called tennis elbow?
In 1883, the term “tennis elbow” first appeared in a paper by H. P. Major, described as “lawn-tennis elbow”*, as this condition was gaining prevalence in participants of the newly popular game. Nowadays, although some tennis players are diagnosed with the condition, it is actually more common in people performing repetitive movements. Painters, plumbers, carpenters, auto workers, cooks, and butchers are particularly prone to developing tennis elbow due to the repetition and heavy lifting required in these occupations.
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*Major HP. Lawn-tennis elbow. BMJ. 1883;2:557