Golfer’s and tennis elbow are two common injuries to the elbow. Repetitive overuse can cause these injuries. The team at TriHealth Orthopedics & Sports Institute and Beacon Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine will help you get to the bottom of your pain. We use advanced imaging to accurately diagnosis your condition. Together, we’ll get you back to the activities and sports you love.
Tennis and Golfer’s Elbow
Tennis and golfer’s elbow are two different injuries that affect the elbow.
- Golfer’s elbow (medial epicondylitis) impacts the tendons on the inside of your forearm and elbow. These tendons and muscles help control your fingers and wrist.
- Tennis elbow (lateral epicondylitis) affects the tendons on the outside of your forearm and elbow. It happens when tendons in the forearm are overworked, usually by your wrist or arm.
Tennis and golfer’s elbow causes
Both tennis and golfer’s elbow are caused by repetitive motion or overuse. But it’s not just the swing of a golf club or a tennis racket that can injure your elbow. Repetitive movement from these activities can also lead to golfer’s or tennis elbow:
- Racket sports
- Throwing sports
- Weight training
Tennis and golfer’s elbow symptoms
Symptoms of tennis and golfer’s elbows are similar but felt in different areas of the forearm. Tennis elbow affects the outside of the forearm. Golfer’s elbow impacts the inside of the forearm.
- Pain and tenderness on the inside or outside of the forearm
- Stiff elbow
- Weakness in the hands and wrists
- Numbness and tingling
Golfer’s or tennis elbow treatment
The team at TriHealth Orthopedics & Sports Institute includes specialists experienced in diagnosing and treating elbow injuries, including golfer’s and tennis elbow. Your treatment plan will vary based on the severity of the jury and may include:
- Lifestyle modification – You may need to adjust your activities to help reduce pain and inflammation along your forearm. That may include not playing tennis, golf or other sports that aggravate your injury or modify work-related activities.
- Anti-inflammatory medicine – Your doctor may recommend over-the-counter medication or prescription strength anti-inflammatory medicine to reduce inflammation and pain related to your injury.
- Injections – Corticosteroid injections and other injections (such as PRP) can help reduce inflammation and help relieve pain caused by golfer’s or tennis elbow.
- Bracing – A brace can help stabilize the forearm, reducing unnecessary movement on the tendons and help reduce inflammation.
- Physical therapy – A certified physical therapist will teach you exercises to reduce pain and strengthen muscles along the arm, forearm, wrist and hands.
If a conservative approach doesn’t relieve your pain or symptoms, your doctor may recommend surgery. TriHealth Orthopedics & Sports Institute and Beacon Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine offers many options to help get you back to the activities you enjoy.
- Tenex surgery – This minimally invasive surgery releases the damaged tendon using ultrasound imaging.
- Elbow arthroscopic surgery – During this minimally invasive surgery, your surgeon will insert a small scope into an incision to treat the injured tendon.
- Surgical debridement and reattachment (tennis elbow) – A small cut will be made over the outside of your elbow to allow your surgeon to cut the damaged part of your tendon. Then, the healthy tendon will be sewn back and the surgery site is closed. This is usually an outpatient surgery.
- Medial epicondyle release surgery (golfer’s elbow) – An alternative to arthroscopic surgery, your surgeon will make a small incision on the inside of your elbow. Then, damaged portions of the tendon will be removed. You will wear a soft splint after the procedure to help your arm heal.
Tennis or golfer’s elbow risk factors
You may be at higher risk of developing tennis or golfer’s elbow if you:
- Are age 40 or older
- Move your forearm repetitively for two hours a day
- Are overweight or obese
- Use tobacco
Tennis or golfer’s elbow prevention
You may not be able to completely prevent an injury to your elbow, but there are steps you can take to keep yourself healthy, active and enjoying your favorite sport:
- Always us proper lifting, throwing or hitting technique
- Use the right equipment for your body and skill-level
- Strengthen forearm muscles
- Stretch before you play or work
- Use proper form
- Rest when you need to
- Warm up before and cool down after all physical activity
Schedule an appointment
If you’re struggling with tennis elbow or golfer’s elbow, call the specialists at TriHealth Orthopedics & Sports Institute and Beacon Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine. We’ll get to the bottom of what’s causing you pain and get you started on a treatment plan that helps you feel like yourself again. To learn more or make an appointment with an orthopedic specialist: Call TriHealth at 513 246 2300 or our orthopedic partner, Beacon Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine, at 513 354 3700.