Tennis Elbow and Golfer’s Elbow are both considered overuse injuries.In fact, they are really the same type of injury, but on opposite sides of the elbow joint.The formal name for these injuries are lateral (tennis) and medial (golf) epicondylitis.The word epicondylitis comes from epicondyle - the bony prominences on the inside and outside of the upper arm (humerus) bones, and “itis” which signifies inflammation.
Tennis elbow is most common in people aged 30-50 and affects both men and women equally.Repetitive use, such as playing tennis, leads to a strain-type injury on the outside of the elbow and down into the forearm.It usually begins as mild discomfort that gradually increases to near constant pain and disability.
Tennis elbow occurs when the extensor muscles on the outside of the forearm are overworked. The extensor muscles originate on the outside of the elbow, or lateral epicondyle and insert on the outside of the wrist; their job is to stabilize and extend (bend outward) the wrist.
It’s not just tennis player that get tennis elbow!Anyone who engages in repetitive extension of the wrist can get it - plumbers, carpenters, painters, gardening, and shoveling can lead to tennis elbow.
What Does Tennis Elbow Feel Like?
Tennis elbow pain is a burning, dull, achy type of pain.It’s most tender right on the outer part of the elbow, and pain/tightness can extend down the outside of the forearm.
Tennis elbow pain can cause problems with lifting items, grabbing, and unscrewing things.Really, any activity that involves moving the wrist around can aggravate the condition.
Golfer’s elbow also affects people in their 30-50's the most; men and women seem to get it equally. Golfer's elbow affects the inside of the elbow.
But instead of activities that involve too much wrist extension, golfer’s elbow is caused by too much wrist flexion, or bending the wrist inward.This comes from overusing the forearm muscles - this set of muscles originate on the inside of the elbow (on the medial epicondyle) and attach on the inside of the wrist.
Golfer’s elbow happens from excess wrist flexion movements - gardening, shoveling, swinging a bat or racquet, lifting weights, painting, carpentry and others.
What Does Golfer’s Elbow Feel Like?
Golfers elbow affects the inside of the elbow, closest to the body with arms at the sides.The medial (inner) part of the elbow will be very tender to touch, and pain can radiate down into the forearm muscles. Flexing the wrist inward, making a fist and holding the arm out straight can aggravate the pain.There may be some swelling over the area as well, and it can start to feel stiff if the inflammation has gone on for more than a few weeks.
Here’s How to Heal Tennis & Golfer’s Elbow
Since both of these conditions are essentially the same injury in two different locations, treatment will be very similar.
Rest always comes first in healing an injury.With injuries like tennis and golfer’s elbow, the inflammation is the body’s answer to the microtears in the tendons and ligaments that have been overused.Continuing to use torn tissue will make it nearly impossible to heal.
Arm braces can be helpful for these injuries while you’re resting and repairing the damage.These braces typically fit lower down on the forearm and help take the pressure off the damaged tendons at the elbow.You can find these almost anywhere; online, at a grocery/drug store, or at a physical therapist’s office.
DON’T take ibuprofen or other NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs)! These drugs have a nasty side effect and that is they actually inhibit repair of collagen (the protein tendons are made out of). Sure, they’ll relieve pain but they don’t enhance healing. Here's why we suggest avoiding these drugs.
DON'T follow the outdated "RICE" mantra for sports injuries - here's why.
If tennis or golfer’s elbow developed from playing those, or other sports, it’s a good idea to learn the ideal form with a professional in the sport. A quick lesson on proper form will teach you how to avoid injury, and certainly won’t be bad for your game either.
We recommend three natural medicines to enhance healing of golfer’s and tennis elbow:
Tendon & Ligament Repair provides the injured tendon with the nutrients it needs to heal and repair itself. It also contains pain-relieving botanical medicines.
Inflammation Relief speeds healing by breaking down pain-generating chemicals and improves oxygen and nutrient delivery to injured tissues.
Curcumin Relief - Made of a highly absorbable form of turmeric, Curcumin Relief is one of the strongest natural anti-inflammatories known!
Healing injuries takes time - dedicated rest and continued treatment as recommended above. Taking the time now to completely heal golfer's or tennis elbow will get you back to play sooner, without a chronic injury.