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Author Emilie Dupre

by Emily Dupre | 27 September 2016

Why Should you do a Tennis Elbow Test?

Lateral epicondylitis, commonly known as Tennis Elbow, is a type of Tendonitis; caused as a result of damage to the tendons that connect the forearm to your elbow, which results in chronic pain near the elbow region.

Tennis Elbow is known to affect people who extend and exert their forearms regularly and gets its name from the fact that it usually affects tennis players due to the constant swinging of the racket.

Although you too are susceptible to it, if you regularly perform activities that strain this region of your arm.

However, before you start to run around trying to find methods to cure your ‘Tennis Elbow’, you have to be absolutely certain that you are indeed suffering from the condition.

Below are 4 DIY tests that can be performed by you, in the comfort of your home:

1 - Palpating

Palpate, in Lay Man’s terms, is the procedure of self-examination by touch. This is the first test that you should perform to check if you may be experiencing the Tennis Elbow condition - extend your arm and palpate the muscle area above the elbow.

While applying pressure on this area, do you feel discomfort or a sharp twinge of pain? If you do, that’s bad news: you may be suffering from lateral epicondylitis. Take a look at the picture below to ascertain the area to check for pain.

tennis elbow test

2 - Resistance

For the second test, extend your arm straight in front of you and place your other hand on the back of the extended hand.

Now try to push against that hand, trying to bend it. Resist the force applied by your second hand, with your lateral epicondylitis arm in the opposite direction.

If you experience pain or discomfort during this action, it points to being affected by the Tennis elbow condition. This is due to the fact that the muscles near the elbow region provide the force needed to resist the force you are applying on your arm, and if this region is throbbing with pain – it points to the fact that you might be affected by Tennis elbow.

tennis elbow test

3 - Middle Finger Resistance

For test 3, raise your arm up with your palm facing away from you.

Once, your arm is stable, use your second hand to try and force your middle finger out of alignment with the rest of your fingers (pull back on it).

This action causes stress to the tendon and the extensor digitorum muscle; if you sense pain or discomfort in the elbow region, it is another sign that you may be suffering from lateral epicondylitis.

tennis elbow test


4 - The Chair Lift

This test requires the use of a chair; any normal chair should suffice (not a sofa or anything exceedingly heavy).

Extend your arm straight in front of you, bend your wrist with fingers pointing downwards, grab a chair with your thumb, index finger, and middle finger, leaving your ring finger and pinky aside.

Lift the chair without bending your arm.

Are you able to lift it without experiencing sharp pains or uneasiness? If you can’t, it is another tell-tale sign of being affected by tennis elbow.

tennis elbow test

The next 2 tests require the help of certified medical professionals:

5 - Mill's Test

The Mill’s Test for tennis elbow is a passive test where you’ll need to straighten your arm and fully bend (flex) your wrist.

The medical professional will passively move your hand in full flexion (bending it down) and in radial deviation (slight rotation); then palpating your lateral epicondyle with their thumb while passively pronating your forearm (turning your hand such that your palm faces inward).

If this is painful, then bad news - the test indicates that you might be suffering from Lateral epicondylitis.

6- Cozen’s Test

You’ll need the assistance of a therapist/professional for this tennis elbow test too. It is also known as the “resisted wrist extension test” or “resistive tennis elbow test”.

A fist is made with the fingers in the arm that is suspected to be suffering from tennis elbow, then forearm is pronated and radially deviated while extending the wrist region at the same time.

During this motion, the medical professional palpates the lateral epicondyle by applying a flexion force that resists the motion of your arm. If this action causes a sensation of pain, then you probably do suffer from tennis elbow.

Conclusion

Although these tests are helpful in gaining insight into the occurrence of lateral epicondylitis in your arm, do not take it as a replacement for a consultation with a doctor as there may be other factors involved which are not easily detectable.

However, these tests will provide you with a basis to work with if you have sudden pains in your elbow, to consider consulting a doctor for the appropriate treatment.

If you want to find methods to treat cases of tennis elbow - we have put together a comprehensive guide on how to treat it. Read on!

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