Golfer’s Elbow, Tennis Elbow And When To See A Doctor

April 8th, 2019 Becki Andrus
Elbow Pain Doctor

Sports-Related Elbow Injuries

You depend upon your elbow to perform its vital role throughout each day in coordination with your arm, hand and shoulder – even though you probably take it for granted as it does. But if your elbow develops a condition that causes you pain, then you are suddenly reminded of the importance that this critical joint plays when you attempt to make basic movements such as reaching for an object.

There is an assortment of conditions that can emerge with our elbow and the area that is located between your forearm and your upper arm. This list includes problems such as strains, bursitis, and cubital tunnel syndrome. But the focus of this discussion will shift toward two forms of tendonitis in your elbow that cause golfer’s elbow and tennis elbow.

Both conditions are similar since they each involve the swelling and inflammation of a tendon that is functioning as the connective tissue that joins your muscle to the bone. But even though golfer’s elbow and tennis elbow are comparable, there is a distinct difference between these two issues.   

Golfer’s Elbow

If you are dealing with golfer’s elbow, the pain that you experience will be located where the forearm muscles are joined with the inside of your elbow. The pain will likely occur at the inner side of your elbow, although this discomfort can also advance into the inner portion of your forearm or your wrist. Other symptoms for this condition include stiffness, along with weakness, numbness, and tingling. Usually, the issue becomes worse as time progresses unless steps are taken to treat the condition.   

You do not necessarily have to be a golfer in order for golfer’s elbow to occur. In fact, tennis players who are engaged in the repetitive movement of clenching their fingers or wrists can also experience golfer’s elbow. In some cases, it can emerge quickly, while other individuals might have it develop steadily over a period of time. This pain can increase if the repeated movement continues to take place.

Sports-related activities that involve the use of a racket, or require a frequent throwing motion, can lead you toward the path of having this condition. Your chances of experiencing golfer’s elbow will also increase once you have reached age 40. This is also the case if you are obese, or if you are a smoker.

However, you can also undertake preventative measures in order to reduce the chances of having golfer’s elbow occur. First, stretching before you engage in the exercise activity that has resulted in your pain can be beneficial.

It is also important to make sure that you are utilizing proper equipment. This includes using a lighter set of golf clubs or a tennis racquet that has the correct size for your grip. You can also take steps to bolster the strength of your elbow by (ironically) squeezing a tennis ball.

Tennis Elbow

This condition is also referred to as lateral epicondylitis, and it is the most common issue of the elbow that sends people to their doctors. This form of elbow tendonitis involves the tendons that attach your forearm muscles to the outside of your elbow. The pain can also proceed into the wrist, or the forearm. This discomfort can intensify whenever you are attempting to grip an object, make a fist, lift an item, open a door, or shake someone’s hand.  

Tennis elbow occurs as the result of overuse through making the same movement on a frequent basis. This recurring motion can take place during participation in tennis, and various other sports activities. However, it can also develop if you must continually use repetitive motion with your arms and hands in order to function in certain jobs such as painting, plumbing, and other responsibilities that require manual labor. This condition can also emerge for anyone who makes frequent use of a mouse while utilizing your computer.  

The chances of tennis elbow occurring rise for anyone who is at least 30 years of age. The risks of experiencing this issue also rise in a similar fashion to the factors that increase your chances of being confronted with golfer’s elbow, which is participation in sports or recreational activities that make it necessary to make a repetitive movement. This also remains the case for any professionals who must engage in repeated motion each day in order to perform their jobs.   

In addition to the preventative measures that were mentioned for golfer’s elbow, it can beneficial for anyone who is dealing with tennis elbow to emphasize greater use of the muscles in your upper arm and shoulder in order to reduce strain on your elbow.

When To Visit A Doctor For Either Condition

You should seek immediate medical attention for golfer’s elbow and tennis elbow if the area of pain is also inflamed, and the discomfort is accompanied by a fever. You should also obtain prompt medical care if you are unable to bend your elbow, or are experiencing any numbness or weakness in your hand .

If your attempts to alleviate the pain of either condition with rest, ice, or over-the-counter medications have not reduced the discomfort, then you should also consult with a physician. Once you do, your doctor will conduct a thorough exam in order to deliver the proper diagnosis, which might include imaging. 

At Orthopedic Associates, We Are Here To Help

Whether you are dealing with pain in your elbow, believe that you are experiencing any of the symptoms of golfer’s elbow or tennis elbow, or simply have any questions or concerns about this condition, the professionals at Orthopedic Associates are ready to provide you with the expertise that can only result from their 183 combined years of experience. This is beneficial in their ability to design effective treatment plans for Cubital Tunnel Syndrome, along with any other issues that might be occurring with your elbow

Our specialists at Orthopedic Associates also treat a wide range of other elbow conditions, including:

  • Cubital Tunnel Syndrome
  • Elbow Bursitis
  • Growth Plate Injuries of the Elbow
  • Hyperextension Injury of the Elbow
  • Inflammation of the Biceps Tendon at the Elbow
  • Lateral Epicondylitis (Tennis Elbow)
  • Medial Epicondylitis (Golfer’s Elbow)
  • Medial Ulnar Collateral Ligament Injury
  • Osteochondritis Dissecans of the Elbow
  • Osteomyelitis
  • Overuse Injuries of the Elbow
  • Radial Tunnel Syndrome (Entrapment of the Radial Nerve)
  • Throwing Injuries of the Elbow
  • Triceps Tendonitis

Our orthopedic specialists are also highly experienced in performing multiple types of treatments and surgeries for the elbow including:

  • Absorbable Antibiotic Bead Treatment for Osteomyelitis
  • Anesthesia
  • Arthroscopic Debridement of the Elbow
  • Aspiration of the Olecranon Bursa
  • Cold Laser Therapy
  • Computed Tomography (CT) Scan
  • Cubital Tunnel Release at the Elbow
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
  • Medial Epicondylectomy
  • Medial Ulnar Collateral Ligament Reconstruction (Tommy John Surgery)
  • Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) Injection Ove
  • Positron Emission Tomography (PET) Scan
  • Radial Tunnel Release at the Elbow
  • Ulnar Nerve Transposition at the Elbow

We encourage you to visit one of our Orthopedic Associates two locations or request an appointment today and begin your path to a pain-free life.

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