Tennis Elbow vs Golf Elbow

by Bill Winters

What is the difference between tennis elbow and golf elbow? Many people may not know the answer to this question. In fact, many people may not even know what tennis elbow and golf elbow are. Well, don't worry, because you are about to find out! Tennis elbow and golf elbow are both forms of tendinitis, which is an inflammation of the tendon. However, they each affect different parts of the arm. Tennis elbow affects the outside of the elbow, while golf elbow affects the inside of the elbow. If you are experiencing pain in your arm that you believe may be due to tendinitis, it is important to see a doctor so that he or she can diagnose the problem and recommend a treatment plan.

Tennis Elbow vs Golf Elbow

Tennis Elbow vs Golf Elbow
Tennis Elbow vs Golf Elbow

Injuries are one of the biggest issues everyone faces both in sports and in everyday life. In sports, there is a lot more implication that comes with having an injury.

Tennis Elbow and Golf Elbow (often referred to as Golfer's Elbow) are two common injuries that golf and tennis players often get. Interestingly, you don't even have to play golf or tennis to get this type of injury. This is because, while both types of injury are different, they both arise as a result of the repetitive motion of the wrist and arm.

Since the two types of injuries are closely related, people often tend to mistake one for the other. The biggest difference between the two injuries is where the inflammation of the elbow occurs.

Both Golfer's Elbow and Tennis Elbow are conditions that arise due to the inflammation of tendons that are attached to the elbow. While Tennis Elbow refers to inflammation of the lateral epicondyle area of the elbow tendons, Golfer's Elbow affects only the medial epicondyle.

What is Tennis Elbow?

Tennis Elbow arises due to an overuse of the muscle which leads to inflammation of the outside of the elbow due to strain. This type of injury is very common in adults aged 30 to 50.

Asides from regular tennis players, plumbers, painters, and carpenters are also prone to this type of injury. That said, you can also get Tennis Elbow while carrying out seasonal activities including gardening, woodcutting, etc.

Here are the most prominent symptoms of Tennis Elbow:

  • Pain arising from the outside of your elbow or forearm area.
  • Constant ache in the elbow and wrist area while performing simple physical activities such as grasping, reaching, etc.

Should you notice any of these symptoms, you must see the doctor. This ensures you receive a correct diagnosis of the type of pain you are feeling.

Treatment for Tennis Elbow

Tennis Elbow is not an acute injury. This means the condition is degenerative and will progressively worsen without prompt and proper treatment. Since the condition leads to great difficulty in performing day-to-day activities, it is only right that you receive proper treatment.

Below are some conservative treatment options you can follow to treat tennis elbow:

  • Rest! There is no better way to relieve the stress on your tendons than by limiting the activities you perform daily. This includes steering clear of any activity that can complicate the condition.
  • Apply ice packs on your elbow for about 30 minutes every 3-4 hours. This prevents the affected part from swelling as well as reduces pain in the area.
  • Buy over-the-counter anti-inflammatory drugs to reduce the pain and swelling
  • Get an elbow brace. You can also splint the arm to protect the affected tendon from further damage.
  • Get a massage to boost the blood flow to the strained tendons. This stimulates faster healing. Other muscle stimulating techniques including Pulsed ultrasound would work just fine.

NOTE: We recommend seeing your physician for intensive tennis elbow treatment if the symptoms present are severe. Some intensive tennis elbow treatment you can expect includes Dry needling (which is essentially a procedure closely similar to acupuncture therapy), Cortisone injection, surgery, etc.

Prevention Tips for Tennis Elbow

There are a few key things you can do to help prevent tennis elbow from developing. First, make sure you are using the correct technique when playing tennis or any other sport that involves repetitive arm movements. You should also maintain good posture and alignment when playing. Additionally, be sure to warm up properly before playing, and stretch your muscles afterward. It's also important to take periodic breaks during extended periods of play, and to give your arms a rest periodically throughout the day. If you already have tennis elbow, there are some simple exercises you can do to help relieve the pain and improve mobility. Consult with a physical therapist for more specific advice on how to treat your injury. With proper prevention and treatment, most people will recover from tennis elbow within a few months.

What is a Golfers Elbow?

Golfer's Elbow, or Medial Epicondylitis, refers to the irritation felt on the inner side of the elbow and arm. The condition is caused as a result of repeated flexing or twisting of the wrist. In other words, a golfer's elbow arises when you overuse your forearm muscles.

There are a ton of activities that can cause this condition other than playing golf. Simply going to a gym to lift weights can cause a golfer's elbow. Other common causes include carpentry, baseball, shoveling, painting, carpentry, etc.

Some common symptoms of Golf Elbow are discussed below:

  • Golfer's Elbow mainly affects the wrist or hand area. As a result, you will feel pain whenever you try to make a fist, twist your forearm or attempt to lift your wrist/hand.
  • Depending on how severe the injury is, you might even notice your wrist is slightly swollen or tender to your touch. Tingling or burning sensations might arise when you perform certain motions with your wrist.
  • Additional symptoms include stiffness of the elbow and loss of feeling in the wrist.

NOTE: The additional symptoms only arise if the injury has lasted a few weeks without proper treatment.

Treatment of Golfer's Elbow

If you notice any of the aforementioned symptoms, it is very critical that you get proper treatment to prevent the condition from getting worse. That said, you might be able to manage the injury yourself if the symptoms are very mild. However, we recommend consulting your doctor or a professional if the symptoms are severe.

Here are some treatment options you can follow to manage golfer's elbow yourself:

  • Limit the use of your arm so the symptoms do not worsen.
  • Place ice packs on all the affected areas to reduce the swelling. The ice will also numb the pain.

NOTE: Do not apply the ice directly to your skin. Instead, place a towel or any other suitable cloth on the area before applying Ice.

  • Carry out specific stretching exercises that focus on reducing the strain of your forearm muscles.
  • Consult a pharmacist for anti-inflammatory medications since they also minimize pain
  • Getting a splint or a brace for the affected area can decrease the stress on the affected tissues.
  • See a therapist for a non-invasive treatment that will increase blood flow to the affected tendons thereby promoting fast healing.

For more acute and severe golfer's elbow conditions, your physician might recommend precise treatment such as cortisone injections, surgery, platelet-rich plasma therapy, among others.

Prevention Tips for Golf Elbow

Golf elbow is a condition that can be caused by repetitive motions of the arm, such as those involved in playing golf. The condition is also referred to as medial epicondylitis, and it results in pain and inflammation on the inside of the elbow.

There are several things you can do to help prevent golf elbow from developing. First, make sure you are using the correct technique when swinging the club. Be sure to use your shoulder and not your arm to power the swing. Secondly, take regular breaks during play to stretch and loosen up your muscles. Finally, wear supportive braces or straps to keep the muscles and tendons around your elbow loose.

If you do start experiencing symptoms of golf elbow, be sure to seek medical attention. Treatment may include rest, ice packs, and anti-inflammatory medications. In some cases, surgery may be necessary to repair the damaged tendons. Following these prevention tips can help you avoid this condition altogether.

How to avoid Golfer's Elbow and Tennis Elbow injuries?

All elbow injuries have similar treatment procedures. As a result, you can take certain proactive preventive measures to prevent any elbow-related injury from happening. We have compiled some steps that you can practice that can effectively prevent elbow injuries:

1. Rest

One of the most important things you need to do is take breaks from specific routines you do every day that requires ample use of your muscles and strength. This could be workouts or activities that you have to do as a result of your profession.

The crucial role recovery plays in keeping the body fit is why professional athletes have off days when they can relax and let their muscles recover.

Rest and recovery can also help prevent tennis elbow or golfer's elbow from setting in if you quickly discover signs at the early stages.

2. Warm-Up

One of the biggest reasons people get injured is because they simply jump into intense physical activities without giving their muscles time to adjust. So before starting your intense workouts or any activity that requires the use of strength, ensure you stretch your limb to get the blood flowing.

In the case of a gym workout, all you have to do is start with lighter weights and work your way to your usual weight class.

3. Exercise

Of course, you have to build your endurance, strength, and coordination. Strengthening your forearm is very important since it invariably prevents golfers and tennis elbow. There are several exercises that you can carry out to allow your muscles to absorb energy and stress better.

The easiest way is to ask your physical therapist the type of exercises you can engage in. You can also check the web for various workout plans for your wrist muscles, back, and shoulder.

Conclusion Golf Elbow vs Tennis Elbow

As important as it is to know the difference between tennis elbow and golfer's elbow, preventing and treating the injuries when they do occur takes precedence. In this write-up, we have discussed everything you need to know about the two conditions. We have also listed some preventive measures that you can take to avoid these types of elbow injuries.

Remember, when you get the first symptoms of an elbow injury, follow any or all of our treatment options and talk to your Doctor!

About Bill Winters

Those who have not yet tried the sport just can’t imagine what is driving these golfers to brave the sun’s heat and go around a course bigger than several football fields combined. It seems like an awful lot of work considering that the ball is quite small that is must be hard to hit, the ground of the course is not flat and, most annoying of all, there are sand traps lying around seemingly bent on preventing a player from finishing the course.

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About the Author

The game of golf may seem like an awful lot to take on when one considers that the ball is quite small, must be hard to hit and carry through windy conditions with little chance for error. The ground course has hillsides which make it challenging enough without adding sand traps who seem bent on preventing players from completing their round!

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