Tennis Elbow Test: What’s in a Name?

In the world of musculoskeletal medicine, the name of a specific test can sometimes hold great significance. Such is the case with the Tennis Elbow Test, also known as Cozen's Test. This particular test is commonly used to assess for a condition called Lateral Epicondylalgia, which is characterized by pain and tendinopathic changes in the extensor carpi radialis brevis muscle. Located in the forearm, this muscle is responsible for the extension and abduction of the wrist. It’s shorter and thicker counterpart, the extensor carpi radialis longus, lies just above the proximal end of the extensor carpi radialis brevis. So, when it comes to diagnosing and evaluating this ailment, the Tennis Elbow Test plays a pivotal role in uncovering the underlying causes of pain and discomfort.

What Is the Special Test for Tennis Elbow?

Then, the therapist asks the patient to resist as they try to extend their wrist against the therapists resistance. Pain or discomfort at the lateral epicondyle during this test is considered a positive sign for tennis elbow.

Mills test: Mills test is another commonly used special test for tennis elbow. The patient is instructed to fully flex their wrist and extend their elbow, while the therapist palpates the lateral epicondyle.

Maudsleys test: Maudsleys test is a variation of Cozens test that specifically targets the extensor carpi radialis brevis (ECRB) tendon, which is commonly affected in tennis elbow. The therapist applies resistance while the patient tries to extend their middle finger against gravity. Pain or discomfort at the lateral epicondyle during this test suggests ECRB tendon pathology.

Grip strength testing: Grip strength testing can also be used as a special test for tennis elbow. The patient is instructed to grip an object, such as a dynamometer, as tightly as they can. The therapist notes any pain or weakness in the affected arm. A significant decrease in grip strength compared to the unaffected arm may indicate tennis elbow.

The similarity of symptoms between tennis elbow and radial tunnel syndrome can often lead to confusion. Both conditions typically involve pain near the lateral epicondyle, the bony point on the outside of the elbow joint. As a result, it isn’t uncommon for tennis elbow to be mistaken for radial tunnel syndrome, and vice versa. However, it’s important to remember that while their symptoms may overlap, these conditions have distinct causes and treatment approaches.

Can Tennis Elbow Be Mistaken for Something Else?

Tennis elbow, a condition commonly associated with repetitive arm movements, may occasionally be mistaken for another condition known as radial tunnel syndrome. This is primarily due to the similarities in symptoms experienced by individuals suffering from both conditions. In both cases, pain typically originates near the lateral epicondyle, a bony prominence on the outer side of the elbow joint.

Both conditions often manifest as pain and tenderness around the elbow, potentially radiating down the forearm. Individuals may also experience weakness in their grip and forearm muscles, as well as difficulty in performing tasks involving repetitive wrist or arm movements.

It’s important to consult a healthcare professional for an accurate diagnosis if you’re experiencing symptoms resembling tennis elbow. They’ll assess your medical history, conduct a physical examination, and possibly order imaging tests to determine the underlying cause of your pain and discomfort. Prompt and accurate diagnosis is crucial in order to receive appropriate treatment and prevent further damage.

Misdiagnosis can lead to inappropriate treatment measures being implemented, potentially exacerbating the condition or delaying recovery. With the correct diagnosis, appropriate treatment plans and therapies can be devised to alleviate pain, promote healing, and restore optimal function.

Radial Tunnel Syndrome: Provide More Information About This Condition and How It Differs From Tennis Elbow.

Radial tunnel syndrome is a condition that’s often confused with tennis elbow due to similar symptoms. However, these two conditions are actually quite different.

Tennis elbow, known as lateral epicondylitis, is an inflammation of the tendons on the outer side of the elbow. It typically occurs as a result of repetitive motions or overuse, such as playing tennis or engaging in activities that involve gripping and twisting the forearm.

On the other hand, radial tunnel syndrome is caused by compression or irritation of a nerve called the radial nerve, which runs down the forearm. This compression usually occurs near the elbow and can lead to symptoms like pain, weakness, and numbness in the forearm, wrist, and hand.

Although both conditions involve pain and discomfort around the elbow, the underlying causes and treatments differ. Tennis elbow is primarily caused by overuse and can often be managed with rest, physical therapy, and anti-inflammatory medications. Radial tunnel syndrome, on the other hand, is usually treated through a combination of conservative measures like rest and physical therapy, as well as surgical intervention in more severe cases.

If you’re experiencing persistent elbow pain, it’s always recommended to consult with a healthcare professional for an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment plan.


The name "Tennis Elbow Test: What's in a Name?" is relevant to the topic of Cozen's Test, which is a commonly used test for Lateral Epicondylalgia, also known as tennis elbow. Cozen's Test specifically assesses the tendinopathic changes in this muscle.

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