Tennis elbow or lateral epicondylitis, is a common cause of elbow pain in the general population.

Pain over the lateral aspect of the elbow is the most consistent symptom of lateral epicondylitis. This pain is usually sharp and is exacerbated by activities involving active wrist extension or passive wrist flexion with the elbow extended. A characteristic complaint is the inability to hold or grasp items.

Traditionally, nonsurgical treatment, the mainstay of management, involves a myriad of options, including rest, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, physical therapy, cortisone, blood injections, supportive forearm bracing, and local modalities. Although nonsurgical measures and time usually provide relief, a greater number of patients than previously assumed may continue to experience symptoms. For patients with recalcitrant disease, the traditional open debridement technique is favoured.

The surgical results for lateral epicondylitis are generally encouraging. Eighty-five percent to 90% of patients who undergo such an extra-articular extensor debridement and repair technique return to full activity without pain.