Spring is finally here! Now you can get outside and enjoy all the outdoor activities you’ve been missing, like baseball, golf, tennis and more. Unfortunately the increase in arm movement that is associated with these activities can sometimes cause pain in the elbow tendon. This is most commonly known as Tennis or Golfers Elbow, which is medically defined as Elbow Tendinopathy (tendinitis or tendinosis). However, it’s important to note that work-related activities can also cause elbow tendinopathy. Even Golfer’s can get Tennis elbow and visa versa.
So what’s the difference?
• Presents itself as an injury to the outer elbow tendon (lateral epicondylitis)
• Overused tendons inflame over time causing pain in the outer elbow and forearm
• Gripping or extending the wrist may exaggerate the pain
• More common than Golfer’s Elbow
• Presents itself as an injury to the inner elbow tendon (medial epicondylitis)
• Overuse of the flexor muscles in the forearm cause pain and inflammation
• Repetative gripping over time can cause tiny tears in the tendons
• Less common than Tennis Elbow
Healing from Tennis Elbow or Golfer’s Elbow:
You should rest your elbow and wrist from activites that exacerbate the pain. The pain could take several weeks to decrease, and could take even longer until all symptoms are gone completely. Anti-inflammatory pain releivers (ibuprofen and aspirin) and using an ice pack on the injured area can help reduce pain and swelling. Stretching and mobilizing the wrist and forearm. Make sure to seek medical attention immediately if the injury does not show improvement.
If the pain continues for a long time, this is considered chronic epicondylitis and can require additional treatment methods. You doctor will prescribe these based on your personal condition. This may include:
• Contrast Hydrotherapy
• Reguarl Ice Therapy
• Physical Therapy
• Reducing or Eliminating Activites
• Soft Tissue Treatments
• Ergonomic Adjustments
• Use of an Elbow Support Brace
Emory Healthcare: https://www.emoryhealthcare.org/orthopedic-hand-upper-extremity/conditions/epicondylitis.html
Mayo Clinic: http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/tennis-elbow/basics/definition/con-20043041