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Tennis & Golfer’s elbow injuries causes and treatments

What is Golfer’s Elbow (Medial Epicondylitis)?

What is Tennis Elbow (Lateral Epicondylitis)?

We can discuss both Tennis and Golfer’s Elbow as both conditions affect the elbow. The
differences amount to whether the condition affects the outer part of the elbow (Tennis Elbow or
Lateral Epicondylitis) or Inner part of the elbow (Golfer’s Elbow or Medial Epicondylitis).
Lateral Epincondylitis is the outer elbow tendons are inflamed. Medial Epicondylitis is the
inner elbow tendons that are inflamed.

These injuries/conditions tend to be quite common and occur mostly because of overuse.
These tendons are bands of tough tissue that connect the muscles of the arm to the bone.
Despite the names of Golfer’s and Tennis Elbow these injuries occur often in people who do not play these sports but rather these conditions occur because of repetitive use or overuse that may occur because of work or activities that inflame these tendons. Tennis elbow is the most common of the two and while this condition can happen to anyone it is more common in people over the age of 40.

Signs and Symptoms of Golfers Elbow

Golfer’s Elbow or Medial Epicondylitis Injury

  • Pain and tenderness in inner side of the elbow.
  • There may be some elbow stiffness and weakness in hands/wrists.
  • There may be a sensation of numbness or tingling that may radiate into one or more fingers (usually ring and little fingers).
  • Symptoms of golfers elbow may appear gradually or suddenly with pain. The pain may worsen with certain movements such as swinging a golf club.

Signs and Symptoms of Tennis Elbow

Golfer’s Elbow and Tennis Elbow Injury

  • Pain and tenderness in bone outside of the elbow. The pain may radiate into the upper
    or lower arm but mostly radiates into the lower arm.
  • Most pain will occur when lifting or making a fist as in gripping an object.
  • Open a door and shaking hands.

Causes of Tennis and Golfer’s Elbow

  • Tennis
  • Racquetball
  • Golfing
  • Squash
  • Fencing
  • Weightlifting
  • Carpentry
  • Typing
  • Raking
  • Painting
  • Knitting
  • Throwing Sports
  • Any type of repetitive movements of the arm

Risk Factors of Tennis Elbow

Tennis Elbow may occur in people of all ages but it is most common in adults usually
between 30 to 50. Certain occupations that involve repetitive motions of the wrist and arm
are more likely to develop tennis elbow such as plumbers, painters, carpenters, cook and
butchers. Certain sports particularly racquet sports can increase the risk of tennis elbow.

Risk Factors of Golfers Elbow

Repetitive activities such as golfing, tennis, weight lifters, and athletes who play sports that
involve the forearm are likely to develop golfers elbow. As indicated previously it can be any
type of overuse activity of the forearm. Being overweight or obese can increase the risk of
developing golfer’s elbow. Smokers are also more likely to develop Golfer’s Elbow.

How is Golfers and Tennis Elbow treated?

Tennis Elbow or Lateral Epicondylitis Injury

Some of the things one may try at home to relieve the symptoms:

  • Since both golfers and tennis elbow are overuse or repetitive type injuries REST would be the first thing one should do. Keep the activities on hold until the pain is gone. If you return to the activity too soon your condition may worsen.
  • Ice the affected areas for about 10-15 minutes at a time. You may repeat this several times a day for a few days. Wrap the ice pack into thin towels to protect your skin.
  • An elbow brace may be recommended which can help reduce tendon and muscle strain.
  • Certain stretches and strengthening exercises can be helpful.
  • Gradually return to your usual activities and monitor for pain. If you’re an athlete playing racquet sports or golf perhaps review your activities with an instructor to make sure your technique is correct.
  • If the pain and tenderness continue physiotherapy can be very beneficial to treating these conditions. Initially with physiotherapy we would treat the inflammation and swelling as well as pain. Strengthening weak muscles and stretching contracted muscles would be used. physiotherapy,massage therapy and acupuncture can all be effective in treating these conditions with physiotherapy the most commonly used.
  • For chronic golfers or tennis elbow Shockwave therapy has been shown to be very effective in providing fast effective treatment.

Will elbow pain heal and go away on its own?

Since most elbow pain such as tennis or golfers elbow are repetitive type movements or overuse, these conditions can be treated on your own. Most effective is stop the activity that is causing the pain and tenderness. Icing the affected areas combined with certain stretches and strengthening activities can help. For more chronic type elbow pain consult with your doctor or physical therapist.

Who should I see if I have elbow pains?

If simple methods of treatment such as rest and icing don’t help with your elbow pain then a number of practitioners can help diagnose and treat the elbow pain. You could consult with your doctor or physical therapists to help.

Most of the time elbow pains are very treatable conditions and if caught in the early stages may be treated at home. Since a majority of these conditions are due to overuse or repetitive type injuries rest and ice will certainly help. However in many cases the type of work we do or activity we do is something that is done daily. In these cases where the condition is acute (initial onset of pain/tenderness) or more chronic you should consult with your doctor or physical therapist.

For more information on Elbow pain such as Golfers or Tennis Elbow contact Dynamic Physiotherapy & Sports Injury Clinic Inc. at 905-273-5433 or via our website.


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