If you are experiencing elbow pain, it’s possible you have either tennis elbow or golfer’s elbow. Do not let the names fool you. You can still have either of these conditions even if you have never played tennis or golf. Both conditions are considered overuse injuries because both are caused by repetitive movement. Although usually thought of as athletic injuries, people whose jobs feature the types of motions that can lead to tennis elbow or golfer’s elbow are equally susceptible.
The Difference Between Tennis Elbow and Golfer’s Elbow
The main difference between tennis and golfer’s elbow is the location of the inflammation. Tennis elbow is associated with inflammation around the outside of the elbow and forearm areas. Golfer’s elbow features inflammation on the inner side of the arm and elbow. So, if you feel pain on the outside of the elbow, it’s tennis elbow. With golfer’s elbow, you’d feel pain on the inside of the elbow. The symptoms of tennis and golfer’s elbow are similar; they just occur on opposite sides of the elbow and arm.
If you suffer from an elbow injury including tennis elbow or golfers elbow, call East Bay Chiropractic Wellness P.C. at (516) 679-2225 to make an appointment.
- Pain, tenderness, or burning on the outer part of your elbow
- Wrist pain
- Weak grip strength
- Aching during activity and while at rest
- Sharp, shooting pain during activity
- Fingers may feel numb
- Sometimes, pain at night
- Pain, tenderness, or burning on the inner part of your elbow. Sometimes the pain extends along the inner side of your forearm
- Numbness or tingling in the fingers, usually the ring and little fingers
- Weakness of the hands and wrists
- Stiffness of the elbow making it difficult to make a fist
- Aching during activity
Tennis Elbow: Symptoms & Diagnosis
The medical term for tennis elbow is lateral epicondylitis. It is a form of tendonitis, a swelling of tendons. Tendons are fibrous connective tissue that attach muscle to bones that aide in the bone’s movement.
In the case of tennis elbow, the muscles and tendons of your forearm that are responsible for the extension of your wrist and fingers are affected. Your forearm muscles extend your wrist and fingers. Forearm tendons, also referred to as extensors, attach the muscles to bone. The specific tendon usually involved in tennis elbow is called the Extensor Carpi Radialis Brevis (ECRB).
Pain and weakness may make it difficult to:
- Shake hands
- Turn a doorknob
- Twist a wrench or screwdriver
- Hold a coffee cup
- Cut food, especially meat
While tennis elbow affects people of all ages, it’s most common in adults between the ages of 30 and 50. People who have jobs that involve repetitive motions of the wrist and arm are more likely to develop tennis elbow. Examples include plumbers, painters, carpenters, butchers, and cooks.
Golfer’s Elbow: Symptoms and Diagnosis
The medical term for golfer’s elbow is medial epicondylitis. As with tennis elbow it is also a form of tendonitis.
Golfer’s elbow affects the inside tendon, the common flexor, which is connected to the muscles used to flex the wrist and contracting fingers, such as gripping things. The wrist flexor muscles start at the humerus (upper arm bone) and extend down to your lower arm and hand bones. As you flex your wrist, the flexor tendons slide over a bony prominence on the humerus, called the medial epicondyle. Consistent repetition can cause irritation and inflammation and can lead to golfer’s elbow.
Pain and weakness may make it difficult to:
- Make a fist
- Turn a door handle
- Swing a golf club or racket
- Squeeze or pitch a ball
- Lift weights or pick up something with your palm down
Golfer’s elbow is pretty rare in comparison to tennis elbow. In fact, less than 1% of the population is affected. It usually occurs between the ages of 40 and 60.
If you suffer from any of these conditions, call East Bay Chiropractic Wellness P.C. at (516) 679-2225 to make an appointment.
When To See A Doctor
Talk to your doctor if self-care steps such as rest, ice, and use of over-the-counter pain relievers don’t ease your elbow pain and tenderness. If conservative treatments don’t help or if symptoms are disabling, your doctor might suggest surgery.
Treatment for Elbow Injuries and Conditions
Graston Technique® therapy is often incorporated by osteopathic physicians, physical therapists, occupational therapists, and some certified massage therapists, athletic trainers, and chiropractors into the treatment plan for elbow injuries and conditions such as tennis elbow and golfer’s elbow. The specialized stainless-steel tools are perfectly designed to aid trained clinicians in identifying injured tissue and then manipulating afflicted soft tissue, breaking down scar tissue and other restrictors. When combined with other treatments and specific exercises, the technique effectively facilitates increased blood flow, alleviates pain, and can speed up the recovery process.
Other elbow injuries and conditions we treat:
- Ulnar Collateral Ligament (UCL) Injury
- Valgus Extension Overload (VEO); Pitcher’s Elbow
- Ulnar Neuritis; cubital tunnel syndrome
- Ligament sprains and muscle strains
- Elbow Bursitis (inflammation of the fluid-filled sacs of the joint)
Make an Appointment at East Bay Chiropractic Wellness P.C. for Elbow Injuries
Dr. Marmorale treats many elbow injuries and conditions incorporating various treatments and exercises and is one of Long Island’s only certified Graston Technique® Specialists (GTS). Schedule an appointment today by calling (516) 679-2225 and start heading down the road to recovery.
Useful Info and Health Tips
These self-care suggestions may help you gain at least temporary relief from your symptoms:
- Rest. Avoid activities that aggravate your elbow pain.
- Ice. Apply ice or a cold pack for 15 minutes three to four times a day.
- Brace/Strap. Try wearing a supportive brace on your forearm. It may help take some pressure off the tendons in your elbow. Dr. Marmorale can help you decide whether you should use one and the right kind of forearm brace for you.