Working in trades is physically taxing – there’s no doubt about that.
As we age, and time moves on, it becomes more and more crucial to look after our bodies.

Tennis elbow or “lateral epicondylitis” is a bricklayer’s nemesis. It hits tradespeople of all expertise and can be debilitating. But don’t fear – we’ve got everything you need to know here as an information guide on the injury.

“The elbow joint is surrounded by muscles that move your elbow, wrist and fingers. The tendons in your elbow join the bones and muscles together, and control the muscles of your forearm,” the NHS website reads.

“Tennis elbow is usually caused by overusing the muscles attached to your elbow (hence, why tradies are susceptible) and used to straighten your wrist. If the muscles and tendons are strained, tiny tears and inflammation can develop near the bony lump (the lateral epicondyle) on the outside of your elbow.

“As the name suggests, tennis elbow is sometimes caused by playing tennis. However, it is often caused by other activities that place repeated stress on the elbow joint, such as decorating or playing the violin.

“Pain that occurs on the inner side of the elbow is often known as golfer’s elbow.”

How does Tennis Elbow occur?

  • manual work – such as plumbing or bricklaying
  • playing racquet sports
  • throwing sports – such as the javelin or discus
  • using shears while gardening
  • using a paintbrush or roller while decorating
  • activities that involve fine, repetitive hand and wrist movements – such as using scissors or typing
  • other activities that involve repeatedly bending the elbow – such as playing the violin

How is it treated?

The good news is that if you’re a tradie with Tennis Elbow, it will heal on its own.
However, tendons heal slowly and there is no rapid fix.

The NHS advises: “Holding a cold compress, such as a bag of frozen peas wrapped in a towel, against your elbow for a few minutes several times a day can help ease the pain.

“Invasive treatments, such as surgery, will usually only be considered in severe and persistent cases of tennis elbow, where non-surgical approaches have not been effective.”

For more information:

Tennis elbow, the tradesman’s enemy