An Overview of Tennis Elbow
& Golfer’s Elbow
Summer is here for East Texas and many of our patients will be spending more time outdoors doing the activities they love, such as golfing and playing tennis. Many patients feel that tennis and golf are safe sports, but injuries to major joints can occur. Tennis elbow and golfer’s elbow are both considered to be overload tendon injuries, typically caused by repetitive overuse. The Tyler, Texas pain physicians at Pain Recovery Center of Tyler are available to assist patients experiencing discomfort in the elbow area.
What to Know About Tennis Elbow
Tennis elbow, otherwise known as lateral epicondylitis, is inflammation of the tendons that join the forearm muscles located on the outside of the elbow. The muscles and tendons located in this area can become damaged from overuse, such as playing tennis.
Recent studies have shown that tennis elbow is caused by damage to the extensor carpi radialis brevis (ECRB) muscle. This muscle plays an important role in stabilizing the wrist when the elbow is in a straight position. When the ECRB becomes weakened from overuse, tiny tears form in the tendon in the attachment site to the lateral epicondyle, leading to elbow pain, inflammation and weak grip strength.
What to Know About Golfer’s Elbow
Golfer’s elbow, or medial epicondylitis, is very similar to tennis elbow, but this health condition causes pain on the inside of the elbow where the tendons of the forearm muscle attach to the elbow’s bony bump. Like tennis elbow, the tendons and muscles can become damaged from overuse and lead to troublesome symptoms.
Golfer’s elbow is caused by overuse activities, such as golf, that produce repetitive stress on the flexor pronator mass (FPM). When this area within the elbow joint experiences constant overuse, extra strain is placed on the FPM and microscopic tears of the tendon occur. The tiny tears lead to pain on the inside of the elbow, swelling and grip weakness.
How to Treat Tennis Elbow and Golfer’s Elbow
Both tennis elbow and golfer’s elbow are treated in a similar way. A pain physician will recommend the patient rest the injured elbow until pain is completely diminished. Patients will also be encouraged to ice the affected area, take over-the-counter pain medications and perform simple exercises to stretch and strengthen the tendons and muscles associated with the injured area.
If the elbow pain lingers after at-home treatments, a pain physician may recommend a corticosteroid injection or other pain management injection, as well as professional physical therapy.
For more information on tennis elbow or golfer’s elbow, please contact the pain physicians at Pain Recovery Center of Tyler located in Tyler, Texas.