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Tennis Elbow Test: How to Do Maudsley's Test to Know If You Have Tennis Elbow

Luke Ferdinands


How do you know if you have Tennis Elbow?

Tennis Elbow is a very common chronic pain condition that affects the tendons in the elbow. Estimates vary, but 1-3% of adults develop Tennis Elbow every year.

Despite the name, the condition is not limited to tennis players or even racquet sports players. Anyone who uses their arms, wrists or hands, especially in repeat motions, can develop Tennis Elbow. In fact, it's the most common cause of elbow pain.

There are other conditions that cause pain in the elbow or forearm, but it's relatively easy to know if you have Tennis Elbow with a self-administered test, called Maudsley's Test. Let's dive into how. And in case you need it, here's our refresher on what Tennis Elbow is.

What does Tennis Elbow pain feel like?

Location: Tennis Elbow pain is usually felt outside of your elbow, around the bony bump on the outside of the elbow, where the affected tendons are connected to the bone. You may also feel the pain radiate down your forearm.

Triggers: People with Tennis Elbow have pain when making a fist or gripping objects, like turning a doorknob, shaking hands, or holding a coffee mug. Usually, the pain is worse when gripping thinner items like a pen than something thicker like a glass.

Loss of grip strength: Another telltale sign of Tennis Elbow is the weakening of grip strength. Even if you don't have a grip dynamometer, you may feel that your grip isn't as strong as usual when holding a hand tool, frying pan, and so on.

The easy Tennis Elbow test: Maudsley's test

There are several tests physical therapists and doctors use to diagnose Tennis Elbow, including Mill's Test and Cozen's Test. In the Alleviate App, we use a Tennis Elbow test called Maudsley's Test.

This reliable test is also easy to do yourself, so we use it to set your pain baseline, and track your progress as you move through our Tennis Elbow Guided Recovery Program. Here's how you do it:

How to do the Maudsley's Test yourself

Here's the four steps to give yourself Maudsley's Test - or you can watch the video from the Guided Recovery Program!

  1. Lift and fully extend your affected arm in front of you, to shoulder height, with your palm facing down.
  2. Wiggle your middle finger up and down, and find the spot below your elbow on the outside that flickers with movement. That flickering spot is where your ECRB tendon - the one that's affected by Tennis Elbow - is located.

  3. Use your other hand to apply downward pressure on the middle finger of your extended hand, and resist the downward pressure.

  4. If you feel pain near the ECRB or your lateral epicondyle (the bony bump on the outside of your elbow), it's a sign that you may have Tennis Elbow.

Here, we are only testing whether this causes pain to know if your elbow pain is caused by Tennis Elbow. In the Tennis Elbow Guided Recovery Program, however, you'll periodically rate your pain on a scale of 0 to 10, and that's how you'll know you are making solid progress toward full recovery.

Key Takeaways from "Tennis Elbow Test"

Maudsley's Test is the easy test that you can self-administer to figure out if your elbow pain is due to Tennis Elbow.

When Maudsley's Test causes you the same elbow pain you experience during activities, it's an indication that you have Tennis Elbow.

In the Alleviate App, you use Maudsley's Test to periodically rate your pain level, so you'll know you are making progress toward full recovery.

Bring home the Tennis Elbow treatment that works

Alleviate was founded by a patient-and-clinician duo to bring the effective chronic pain treatment from physical therapy offices to everyone's home. With our Tennis Elbow System that includes the Guided Recovery Program, you can use the Alleviate Method to recover from Tennis Elbow at home. No physical therapy training required!

Luke Ferdinands, physical therapist and Alleviate co-founder

Luke Ferdinands, Physical Therapist & Co-Founder

A New Zealand-trained physical therapist with over 20 years of experience, Luke developed the Alleviate Method to bring the gold standard of physical therapy care to everyone's home. Luke leads the development of physical tools and digital physical therapy content, focusing on driving clinical outcomes for people with chronic musculoskeletal pain conditions like Tennis Elbow, Plantar Fasciitis, Runner's Knee, and more.