The Match”: Tennis Elbow vs. Golfer’s Elbow

With the weather getting warmer outside, many people look forward to participating in summer activities. Hiking. Swimming. Camping. Cooking s’mores on a bonfire. This includes playing baseball/ softball, Frisbee, and much more. The two most popular sports many people play are tennis and golf.

Although there are some who have never played a set in tennis, or a round of golf, just about anyone can experience pain in their arm(s). This pain is best known as tennis elbow or golfer’s elbow, depending on the individual. Both are overuse injuries due to repetitive arm and wrist motion, especially in activities requiring such actions. This results in inflammation of the tendons attached to the elbow, However, there is some difference between the two.

Golfer’s elbow occurs on the inner side of the arm/elbow, due to repeated twisting or flexing of the wrist. The affected area may feel swollen or tender if touched. Symptoms such as stiffness in the arm and weakness in the hand are common. Activities that can cause golfer’s elbow include gardening, racket sports, baseball/softball, weightlifting, and more.

Tennis elbow is inflammation on the outer side of the elbow and forearm. Repetitive forehand and backhand motions in tennis, as well as in other similar activities, can lead to radiating pain in this area. A constant ache is common, too.

Now, you are probably thinking, “Hold on, Doc. All this sounds a lot like typical tendinitis.” True, it does sound like it. Tendinitis is the inflammation or irritation of the tendon, due to repetitive actions, minor or serious injuries. Poor posture or conditioning before exercise can also cause this condition. The only difference between tendinitis and the other two conditions is where it can occur. While tennis elbow and golfer’s elbow occurs in, well, the elbow/arm area, tendinitis can occur anywhere in the body, from the shoulder to the base of the thumb, to the knee and hips, and in the Achilles tendon. Patients can expect pain in the affected area, along with loss of motion.

With these cases, we would examine the entire arm and back to ensure proper skeletal alignment, as well as any other areas affected. In every case, we recommend patients use plenty of ice, in addition to practicing certain arm and hand stretches. Resting the arm helps in the healing process. If necessary, a brace can be worn.

At Diamond Chiropractic, the patient’s health is our primary focus. If you are experiencing tennis elbow, golfer’s elbow, tendinitis, or any elbow pain, make an appointment today! We will examine your condition and get you back on track to peak condition, so you can return to playing your favorite sport as soon as possible.