How Chiropractors Manage Lateral Epicondyle Tendinopathy

Lateral epicondyle tendinopathy, commonly known as “tennis elbow,” is a condition characterized by pain and discomfort in the outer part of the elbow. Though most commonly associated with tennis players, it can affect anyone who engages in activities that involve repetitive motion of the wrist or forearm. While it’s not a condition that is traditionally managed by chiropractors, their holistic approach to musculoskeletal health often makes them a sought-after choice for managing this ailment.

Initial Assessment

Chiropractors usually begin their treatment regimen by performing a thorough assessment. This includes a detailed medical history, evaluation of lifestyle factors, and physical examination to pinpoint the source of the pain. They may also use imaging studies such as X-rays or MRIs if needed. In doing so, chiropractors aim to rule out other potential causes for elbow pain, such as arthritis or nerve entrapment, to arrive at an accurate diagnosis of lateral epicondyle tendinopathy.

Treatment Plan

Based on the initial assessment, chiropractors create an individualized treatment plan to manage symptoms and facilitate healing. Unlike traditional medical approaches that might rely solely on pain medication and surgical interventions, chiropractic care focuses on restoring function and promoting body balance. The treatment may involve a combination of different techniques:

  1. Soft Tissue Therapy: Techniques such as myofascial release and Active Release Technique (ART) may be used to break down adhesions and improve soft tissue function. This facilitates better movement and lessens pain around the elbow joint.
  2. Joint Manipulation: Though the primary problem lies in the elbow, chiropractors often look at adjacent structures like the wrist, shoulder, and even the cervical spine. Misalignment in any of these areas could contribute to symptoms. Specific manipulations may be performed to improve joint mechanics.
  3. Modalities: Other treatments like ultrasound, laser therapy, or electrical stimulation may be used to promote tissue healing and reduce inflammation.
  4. Exercises and Rehabilitation: Guided, individualized exercise regimes may be recommended to strengthen the muscles around the elbow and improve mobility. This often includes stretching exercises for the forearm and wrist flexors and extensors, as well as strength training exercises to restore functional capabilities.
  5. Ergonomic Advice: An often-overlooked part of managing lateral epicondyle tendinopathy is the patient’s ergonomics, particularly in activities involving repetitive motion like typing or using tools. A chiropractor may provide insights into optimal ergonomics to prevent recurrence.
  6. Nutritional Guidance: Given the holistic nature of chiropractic care, dietary advice aimed at reducing inflammation through food choices might also be part of the treatment plan.

Monitoring Progress

One of the significant benefits of opting for chiropractic care is the continual evaluation of progress. Adjustments to the treatment plan are made based on how well the patient is responding. This allows for a dynamic and flexible approach to managing symptoms, thereby increasing the chances of a more rapid and complete recovery.

Collaborative Care

In cases where chiropractic treatment alone is not sufficient, or if the condition is more severe, chiropractors are often open to collaborative care. This means they work alongside other healthcare providers like physiotherapists, orthopedic surgeons, and even acupuncturists to provide a more comprehensive treatment plan for the patient.


While not traditionally the first line of treatment for lateral epicondyle tendinopathy, chiropractors offer a holistic and personalized approach that addresses not just the symptoms but the root causes. Through a blend of soft tissue techniques, joint manipulation, adjunctive modalities, exercise prescription, ergonomic advice, and sometimes even nutritional guidance, chiropractors aim to restore function and alleviate pain effectively. Their focus on continual progress monitoring and willingness for collaborative care makes them an appealing choice for managing this common but often frustrating condition.