Sunday, October 2, 2016


What is the difference between Tennis elbow and Golfer's elbow?

Both are overuse injuries that are caused by any activity that requires repetitive motion of the arm and wrist.  The difference between the two are where the elbow is inflamed which in turn makes it hurt on either the inside or the outside of the elbow.

What is Tennis Elbow?

Tennis elbow or lateral epicondylitis is inflammation of the tendons of the elbow which cause pain on the outside of the elbow.  This overuse condition is commonly seen in painters, carpenters, plumbers, although we often see clients who've recently increased yard work or completed a gardening project when the pain starts.  Of course many people complain of the pain without any knowledge of one of these activities bringing on the symptoms.    

What is Golfer's Elbow?

Golfer's elbow or medial epicondylitis is inflammation of the tendons of the elbow which cause pain on the inside of the elbow.  The pain may present itself or increase when twisting the forearm, or when making a fist or shaking hands. Additional symptoms can include stiffness in the elbow or weakness in the hands or wrist.    

This condition can be caused by any activity that requires repeated twisting or flexing of the wrist.  In addition to golf, other activities may cause this condition such as racquet sports, baseball, weightlifting, or other similar activities. Repeated lifting, particularly when your elbow is extended and your palm is facing downward, can also cause Golfer's Elbow.  

Treatment for Tennis and Golfer's elbow

Immediate treatment should be ice and rest.  A topical analgesic like Biofreeze is a great temporary pain reliever which can be applied as many times as needed.  It may take several weeks (6 or more) of resting the elbow and wrist to feel a decrease in pain, and even longer until the symptoms are gone completely.  Tendons have a limited blood supply so they take longer to heal.  In addition, it's difficult to fully rest the effected arm because of use for activities of daily living.  Immobilizing the arm is not a desired course of treatment.  

80-95% of patients have success with nonsurgical treatment

Massage as treatment for Tennis Elbow and Golfer's elbow  

Chronic elbow tendonitis can be caused by forearm muscles that are hypertonic (too tight) from overuse. Stretching the forearms may help restore optimal tone to hypertonic muscles, but when that doesn't work massage is a good alternative. Massage strokes including striping of the flexors and extensor group of muscles works as well as Active Release Technique (ART).

Kinesiology taping for Tennis elbow and Golfer's elbow

We began kinesiology taping months ago and injuries like tendonitis respond really well to the taping method. This picture is one example of a taping for tennis elbow. The kinesiology tape doesn't cure the problem but does take some of the pain away and helps the area heal more quickly. To read more about how kinesiology tape works visit our website.