Golfer’s elbow and tennis elbow are specific conditions that negatively affect the elbow. These conditions cause pain in the elbow where the forearm muscles connect to the bump on the inside of the elbow via tendons. The pain might radiate outwards from this area to also cause pain in the wrist and forearm.
The main difference between golfer’s elbow and tennis elbow is where the pain centers – for golfer’s elbow, it’s the inner elbow and for tennis elbow it’s the outer. Other than that, the symptoms, causes, treatment, and other factors are near identical between the two conditions. Keep in mind that tennis players who use their wrists often can also develop golfer’s elbow, however.
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The main symptoms for both golfer’s elbow and tennis elbow are:
- Tenderness and pain in the affected area. This pain can extend outwards from there, and it can worsen if you repeatedly perform actions that strain the forearm and elbow area.
- Weakness. Weakness is a large one, and you might feel this weakness and loss of grip strength in your wrists and hands.
- Stiffness. Struggling to move your elbow and arm in the proper motions is not unheard of when struggling with golfer’s elbow and tennis elbow.
- Tingling and numbness. The numbness and tingling can extend to your fingers but might only settle in your wrist and hands.
If you have golfer’s elbow or tennis elbow, you may suffer from all of these symptoms or only a few. Other symptoms include being unable to bend your elbow, if your elbow looks out of place, if your elbow is warm to the touch, or if you have a fever.
The symptoms can come on gradually or suddenly, so it’s best to seek out an orthopedic surgeon for answers about pain relief and treatment.
Causes and Risk Factors
Golfer’s elbow and tennis elbow develop when damage occurs to the tendons or muscles that help to move your fingers and wrists. If you participate in sports (such as golf or tennis) that put extensive stress on your wrists, you may find that you soon suffer from these elbow pains. However, you’ll have an even higher chance if you warm up poorly or have improper form when you’re using your elbow.
Most sports that require throwing, swinging, or rackets can lead to tennis elbow and golfer’s elbow. Additionally, weight training can put excessive weight on the elbow as well. There are other risk factors, such as your age (higher risk if you’re over 40), if you perform strenuous activity for more than two hours a day, if you are overweight, and if you smoke.
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Treatment and Prevention
The best way to prevent golfer’s elbow and tennis elbow is to stretch before strenuous activities. You should also make sure to use proper form, strengthen the muscles in your arms, and take enough breaks.
If you do develop either tennis or golfer’s elbow, however, there are many great treatment options available for pain relief! An orthopedic surgeon will usually recommend either rest, over-the-counter medications, physical therapy, and/or orthopedic surgery (when all non-surgical treatments are exhausted).
Golfer’s elbow and tennis elbow are similar injuries you can suffer from if you perform repetitive motions that put strain on your elbow, wrists, and fingers. However, in most cases, treatment is available and patients may make a full recovery. Don’t wait; call us today and let us help you start feeling better!
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