The Difference Between Tennis Elbow and Golfer’s Elbow

As their names suggest, tennis elbow and golfer’s elbow affect people that engage in these
sports, but these are actually very common ailments for individuals who participate in a variety
of activities.

Since tennis elbow and golfer’s elbow happens in the same region of the arm, it can be easy to
mistake the two for one another. However, each is the results of different motions.
Golfer’s elbow, or medial epicondylitis, is pain from damage to muscles that control the wrists
and fingers. Other than golfing, flexing the wrists while lifting weights and sports like bowling can
contribute to tiny tears in the tendons.

Tennis elbow, or lateral epicondylitis, is pain from repetitive contraction of muscles in the
forearm that straighten the wrists and fingers. Other than playing tennis, professions like
painting, cooking, and carpentry are susceptible to this condition.

According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, “The annual incidence [for
tennis elbow] is one to three percent in the United States. Despite the condition being commonly
referred to as tennis elbow, tennis players make up only 10% of the patient population.” While
“Less than 1% of the population is affected by golfer’s elbow. It usually occurs between the
ages of 40 and 60, and is much less common than tennis elbow.”

The tables lists similarities and differences for tennis and golfer’s elbow:

 

SIMILARITIES

  • Both conditions are forms of epicondylitis, an inflammation of tendons that attach to the elbow
  • You don’t need to play golf or tennis to experience tennis or golfer’s elbow
  • Left untreated, both can worsen and become more severe

 

DIFFERENCES

Tennis Elbow Golfer’s Elbow
  • Condition caused by overuse of the muscle
  • Symptoms are pain located on the outside of the elbow and weakness when shaking hands or twisting a doorknob
  • Medical name is lateral epicondylitis
  • Conditioned caused by damage to the muscle
  • Symptoms include pain located on the inside of the elbow, stiffness in the elbow and weakness in the fingers
  • Medical name is medial epicondylitis

Treatment

Neuromuscular therapy helps treat the underlying causes of tennis elbow by encouraging
circulation and mobility to the affected area. When applied to golfer’s elbow, neuromuscular
therapy techniques help regain flexibility and strength in the injured arm.
A combination of regular NMT sessions, rest and anti-inflammatory medicines are effective
ways to aid in the recovery of these common conditions. However, if these don’t work then
surgical treatment could be pursued after 6-12 months.

Risk Factors and Prevention

Tennis elbow and golfer’s elbow can be the result of a variety of movements or actions, but
some people are at higher risk of getting these condition than others.
For golfer’s elbow, factors like age, smoking, and obesity can increase a person’s chances of
developing medial epicondylitis. Risk factors for tennis elbow are occupations or activities with
repetitive motions of the wrist and arm, and being between the 30-50 age range. Prevention
methods include using light weights to maintain strength and flexibility, wearing a splint during
activities that worsen the condition, and warming up before for sports and other repetitive
movements.

 

Find out how Myopress can help alleviate symptoms of tennis or golfer’s elbow for you and give
us call (832) 523-2137 or send an email to info@myopress.com today!