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Occupational Therapy: Finding Relief from Lateral Epicondyle Pain

Updated: May 22, 2023

Lateral epicondyle pain, commonly referred to as tennis elbow, is a condition characterized by pain and tenderness on the outer side of the elbow. It is often caused by repetitive activities or overuse of the forearm muscles, leading to inflammation and strain on the tendons. While there are various treatment options available, occupational therapy plays a vital role in managing and relieving lateral epicondyle pain. In this blog post, we will explore how occupational therapy interventions can help individuals recover from tennis elbow and regain function in their daily lives.


Understanding Lateral Epicondyle Pain

Lateral epicondyle pain affects the tendons that attach to the bony prominence on the outer side of the elbow. It commonly occurs due to repetitive motions of the wrist and forearm, such as gripping, lifting, or twisting. Individuals who engage in activities like tennis, painting, or manual labor are particularly susceptible to developing tennis elbow. The condition manifests as pain, weakness, and difficulty with gripping or performing fine motor tasks.


The role of Occupational therapy is a specialized field that focuses on restoring functional abilities and enhancing independence in daily life activities. When it comes to lateral epicondyle pain, occupational therapists utilize a variety of evidence-based interventions to address pain, improve function, and promote overall recovery. Let's explore some key components of occupational therapy for relieving lateral epicondyle pain:

  1. Pain Management Techniques: Occupational therapists employ various pain management strategies to alleviate discomfort and reduce inflammation. These may include the use of modalities like heat or cold therapy, therapeutic ultrasound, or manual techniques to promote tissue healing and pain relief. They may also recommend the use of braces or splints to support and protect the affected area.

  2. Therapeutic Exercises: Occupational therapy often involves specific exercises to stretch and strengthen the muscles and tendons surrounding the elbow. These exercises aim to improve range of motion, increase muscle strength, and restore flexibility. The therapist will guide individuals through a progressive exercise program, considering their unique needs and abilities.

  3. Ergonomic Modifications and Activity Analysis: Occupational therapists assess an individual's work or daily activities to identify potential factors contributing to lateral epicondyle pain. They can recommend modifications in ergonomic setups, proper body mechanics, and adaptive equipment to reduce strain on the affected tendons. By making these adjustments, individuals can continue engaging in meaningful activities while minimizing the risk of aggravating their symptoms.

  4. Education and Self-Management Strategies: Occupational therapists play a crucial role in educating individuals about lateral epicondyle pain, its causes, and prevention strategies. They provide guidance on modifying activities, implementing rest breaks, and using proper techniques to prevent further injury. Additionally, therapists may teach individuals how to manage their symptoms independently through self-massage techniques, stretching exercises, and the application of heat or cold therapy.


Lateral epicondyle pain can significantly impact an individual's ability to perform everyday tasks and participate in activities they enjoy. Occupational therapy offers a comprehensive and patient-centered approach to managing and relieving tennis elbow symptoms. Through pain management techniques, therapeutic exercises, ergonomic modifications, and education, occupational therapists can help individuals recover from lateral epicondyle pain, regain function, and prevent future recurrences. If you are experiencing symptoms of tennis elbow, consider consulting with an occupational therapist who can guide you on your journey to recovery and improved quality of life.


Empire City Occupational Therapy will expertly assess the source of your pain, select the appropriate modality, and prescribe you specific exercises to decrease your pain and improve your function! Please give us a call to see how we can improve your pain and return back to optimal function!

The information provided in this blog post is intended for educational purposes only. The content is not intended to serve as professional advice or to substitute for professional guidance. The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of any other agency, organization, employer, or company.

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