Tennis elbow and golfer’s elbow are two common conditions that can cause pain to the elbow. Despite their names, tennis elbow is not limited to tennis players. And golfer’s elbow is not limited to golfers. Both conditions can occur due to several different occupations and activities. It can sometimes be difficult for those dealing with elbow pain to determine which condition they may be experiencing. Below we have listed information on both conditions and the characteristics that make them different.
What is Tennis Elbow?
Tennis elbow, or lateral epicondylitis, is a condition involving the tendons that attach to the bone on the outside (lateral) part of the elbow.
Causes of Tennis Elbow
Tennis elbow can be caused by any repetitive activity that places stress on the tendons surrounding the elbow. Common activities that cause tennis elbow include:
- Tennis and other racket sports
- Machine work
Tennis Elbow Symptoms
Tennis elbow can cause a great amount of pain in the elbow area. The activities listed above, or simple everyday tasks such as lifting, gripping, or grasping, can cause pain. The pain is usually located on the outside of the elbow. The affected area can become very tender and the pain can shoot from the elbow down to the forearm.
What is Golfer’s Elbow?
Like tennis elbow, a golfer’s elbow is a form of elbow tendinitis. Golfer’s elbow, or medial epicondylitis, is a condition involving the tendons that connect the forearm muscles to the bone on the inner (medial) part of your elbow.
Causes of Golfer’s Elbow
Any activity that involves repetitive hand, wrist, or forearm movement can lead to golfer’s elbow. Common activities that can cause a golfer’s elbow include:
- Tennis and other racquet sports
Golfer’s Elbow Symptoms
Golfer’s elbow can cause pain, inflammation, and tenderness around the bone on the inside of the elbow. Pain from the golfer’s elbow usually becomes more severe when gripping or grabbing. You may experience some weakness and pain when rotating the wrist inwards or downwards.
Treatment Options for Tennis Elbow & Golfer’s Elbow
Treatment options for tennis elbow and golfer’s elbow are typically the same. In many cases, both conditions can be treated without the need for surgery. Common treatment options for tennis elbow and golfer’s elbow include:
- Ice – Icing the affected area may help to reduce swelling.
- Anti-inflammatory medications – medications such as ibuprofen and aspirin may be recommended by your doctor to reduce minor pain and inflammation.
- Physical Therapy – Once pain and inflammation have been reduced, certain exercises and stretches can assist in the healing process.
- Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) Therapy – PRP therapy is a nonsurgical treatment option that uses your own blood and platelets to promote healing.
- Steroid Injections: If symptoms are severe, your doctor may recommend corticosteroid injections to help relieve pain.
- Surgery: If nonsurgical conservative treatment methods do not improve symptoms, surgery may be recommended.
If you think that you may be dealing with tennis elbow or golfer’s elbow, visit one of our skilled physicians at Orlando Hand Surgery Associates. We will provide you with an individualized treatment plan for your specific situation.