Do you have pain at your elbow? Is the discomfort worse on movement and everyday use? Does the problem stubbornly refuse to subside, even after rest? Do you frequently use your arms? You might have tennis or golfer’s elbow.
These conditions have similar causes, effects and treatments. They occur in the same tissue type, are related to repetitive strain, involve teeny micro-tears, and can be incapacitating.
What's the difference?
The difference is their location. Tennis elbow affects the lateral epicondyle; the bump on the outside of your elbow. Golfer’s elbow affects the medial epicondyle; the bump on the inside of your elbow.
Pain on the outside of your elbow
The symptoms of tennis elbow are related to the muscles that extend your wrist. They merge into the common extensor tendon, which connects at the lateral epicondyle. When these muscles become repetitively stressed, degenerative changes occur at the connection point.
Actions that may act as a trigger include forceful grasping, gripping, and rotation. Using a screwdriver, doing a lot of manual labour, typing, or playing a racquet sport. Just like tennis.
Tenderness near the outside elbow bump is often associated with tennis elbow. Pain may worsen, becoming burning and severe. Shaking hands, turning a door handle, working on a computer, and playing sports can increase the pain.
Pain on the inside of your elbow
The symptoms of golfer’s elbow are related to the muscles that flex your wrist. They merge into the common flexor tendon, which connects at the medial epicondyle.
Injury to this area may have a traumatic origin, like hitting a golf club into an unseen rock or thumping it into the ground. Or it might occur from overuse. Chopping wood with an axe, operating a chainsaw, gardening, competitive swimming... and, yes, golf.
Golfer’s elbow can often cause soreness near the inside elbow bump. The pain can extend down the forearm on that side. Grip strength may become diminished. Golfer’s elbow is more common in women, type 2 diabetics, people aged between 45 to 64, those with a higher body mass index, and smokers.
How can we help?
We use our arms every day. When simply making a cup of tea, drying yourself after a shower, lifting your child, turning a door knob, and engaging in work, everyday activities can seem almost impossible. We are qualified to assess and diagnose lateral and medial epicondylitis. We can discuss with you appropriate options for managing the pain, and prepare a suitable recovery plan, which may include exercises for you to do at home.
To learn more about sports injury management or to book a consultation click on the links below.