Tennis elbow and golfers elbow

Tennis Elbow Vs Golfers Elbow

47577770_Subscription_XXL (17)There is a lot of detail in the scientific papers comparing and contrasting Tennis Elbow vs Golfers Elbow. On this page I am going to keep it simple because not everyone want to be a physiotherapist, most just want to know why the elbow hurts and what to do about it.

The problems or pathology is pretty similar for both. The main difference is the side of the elbow that is injured. Pain on the inside of the elbow is called golfers elbow because it is more common in people playing golf but is also just as likely to occur in tennis or other sports that put pressure on the  flexor muscles of the wrist and elbow.  For example if you are right handed and play golf, the chances are that you could get golfer’s elbow on the right arm or tennis elbow on the left because it is a one direction sport.

On the other hand, tennis elbow is common in tennis players mostly if they overuse or have poor technique with the back hand, it is also common with people using heavy hammers, vibrating tools like jack hammers and drills.

The pathology is complex and could range from simple tightness, an inflammation of the tendon to micro tears in the part the muscle attaches to the tendon or the part the tendon inserts in the bone, it is most often referred to as an over use injury. So if you feel the pain early, try resting for a couple of days or changing technique. It could be due to an increase in playing or training load or a change in bat or club, hand grip, playing surface or just frequency.

Off course at our clinic, we see more people with tennis elbow and golfers elbow who don’t play either of these sports. The most common causes that we see are due to work or study related injuries. For example, using the mouse or the keyboard incorrectly, gardeners and handy men doing extra work on the weekend or people lifting, packing or moving house tearing one of those tendons.

The treatment has to have a dual approach to be successful. Firstly we have to treat the symptoms (relieve the pain, swelling and inflammation) and most importantly we have to remove the cause (treatment of the tight muscles of the muscle imbalance, strengthening any weak muscles, removing the cause including technique modification or an ergonomic assessment if it is a work related problem).   You will often hear people who say they have had one of these conditions for many year. They don’t tend to go away on their own, simply because many people only treat the symptoms by taking anti-inflammatory medication, massaging the tight muscle or wearing a brace.

In severe cases where the problem is left for a long time, a steroid injection or surgery may be indicated.

If you have a nagging elbow problem or know someone who has an elbow problem in Cannington, East Cannington or Bentley, or any of the surrounding suburbs, we would love to help you/ help them.