If you have Tennis Elbow – or your outer elbow has been hurting and you’ve been doing research on what it could be – it’s easy to become confused by all the terms that seem to refer to the same thing.
Or perhaps your doctor has already diagnosed your elbow and has used one or more of these terms:
Are they all the same thing? No. The official medical websites seem to suggest they are – But in fact they’re not the same at all.
This matters a lot if it’s important to you to treat your problem in the best way to help it heal quickly and recover fully (which is what Tennis Elbow Classroom is all about)
Here’s the short version:
Tennis Elbow pain can be caused by several different things.
And the early stage can be very different from the advanced stage. Tennis Elbow is actually rather vague!
Elbow Tendonitis (or ‘Tendinitis’ – just a different spelling) and Lateral Epicondylitis both refer to chronic inflammatory conditions. (They are very similar: Epicondylitis is a form of Tendonitis.)
You can pretty much tell by the “ITIS” on the end of these terms that they refer to stubborn, long-term or recurring inflammation.
These “ITIS” words are very specific, clinical terms, but what they don’t often tell you on the medical sites is that this chronic inflammation idea is an outdated concept.
It’s a medical myth that Tennis Elbow is an ‘Inflammatory Condition’
Medical research proved decades ago that Tennis Elbow is rarely an inflammatory condition. (But for some reason I don’t think the drug companies want you to know this)
The modern, clinical term used for many of these conditions now is Tendinopathy, which can be several different possible conditions from several possible causes.
See my video InflammaSCAM Exposed for more on the inflammation myth:
The more likely possibilities with Tennis Elbow are:
- Good news: You can have a lot of pain in the early stages – before there’s any real DAMAGE,
- Bad news: When the damage starts happening it’s a lot more serious than mere inflammation
- Really bad news: Many Tennis Elbow cases – especially the severe ones, involve degeneration, which they call Tendinosis – note the “OSIS” on the end, not “ITIS”
So, bottom line, whether you read or hear Tennis Elbow, Elbow Tendonitis or Lateral Epicondylitis don’t assume (or let them make the assumption for you) that your elbow pain or injury is inflammatory.
In other words, don’t fall into the TRAP of chasing inflammation!
(Or the other two traps that make up what I call “The Tennis Elbow Triple Trap” – See below.)