Even if you’ve never played either tennis or golf, your elbow can still have the symptoms players sometimes experience. These conditions of the elbow are associated with the two sports, because they’re typical injuries of those who enjoy swinging racquets and clubs.
And swinging racquets and clubs is a repetitive motion which involves a certain amount of physical force, so injuries happen.
But what’s the difference between tennis elbow and golfer’s elbow?
Location. Location. Location
What gives the game away is the location of the pain. While both these conditions are manifestations of epicondylitis (the inflammation of tendons where they join the elbow), tennis elbow refers to pain on the outside of the elbow structure, while golfer’s elbow affects the inside of the structure.
Let’s look at these twin conditions and how they manifest symptomatically.
Most people suffering from tennis elbow are between the ages of 30 and 50. The cause? Overuse and strain in the muscles, affecting the elbow and forearm. The overhand and underhand motions required by the game of tennis provokes the injury in players.
But people who work as plumbers, painters, cooks and carpenters can also develop the condition for the same reasons. If you like to garden and work in your yard, you’re also a prime candidate.
Pain will often radiate down the arm as far as the wrist, accompanied by throbbing pain on the outside of the elbow (the knobby bit). You may also feel pain when attempting to lift something, or if you suddenly reach for or grasp an object.
Pain on the inside of the elbow which extends into the forearm is a symptom of golfer’s elbow. Activities demanding flexing or twisting of the wrist in a downwards motion can provoke this condition.
Again, golfer’s elbow is an injury resulting from overuse, especially of the muscles of the forearm. Golf is public enemy number one, obviously. But you can also get golfer’s elbow from lifting, other sports using a racquet, softball/baseball, lifting weights, woodworking, or painting.
Twisting the forearm or lifting the hand upward from the wrist may provoke pain on the inside of the elbow, with golfer’s elbow. The area may also present some swelling due to inflammation. When the condition is advanced, you may experience weakness in the hands and wrist and difficulty extending your arm from the elbow.
Treatment at Back & Body Medical
One of the most important things you can do if you have either of these types of epicondylitis is to rest your elbow. Repetitive motion injuries demand that you take them seriously. If you find that you’re still having problems after a period of not using the joint, it’s imperative that you seek professional support.
Back & Body’s Manhattan facility has won awards for our groundbreaking multi-disciplinarian care. That care is now available to patients in New Jersey.
If you think you have tennis or golfer’s elbow, I invite you to schedule a consultation. Come talk to us about how we can help.