• Emma B

The Difference between Golfers and Tennis Elbow: What You Need to Know

Elbow pain is a common condition that can be caused by a variety of different factors. It can be difficult to determine the exact cause of elbow pain without a thorough examination by a medical professional. However, there are some general differences between golfers' elbow and tennis elbow that may help you to determine which condition you have.



What is golfer’s elbow?


A previous blog has been made to determine if you may suffer with golfers’ elbow, which goes into more detail. However, typically golfers’ elbow is cause by repetition and overuse of the wrist flexors, which is your forearm. Due to these muscles becoming overused, it can cause pain on the inside of the elbow (medial epicondylitis for the fancy term). Overhead athletes may suffer from this due to the repetitive throwing motions, or the general population suffering due to activities like gardening, painting, or gripping activities like golf.


What is tennis elbow?


Tennis elbow or lateral epicondylitis is typically caused by overuse of the wrist extensors. Which are the muscles on the back of the forearm. Tennis elbow pain normally occurs in the form of pain on the outside of the elbow that transfers down the forearm. While it has the name tennis elbow, only around 5% diagnosed with it, play tennis. Similar to golfers elbow, the general population that suffer from tennis elbow participate in gardening and hobbies or have jobs that involve lots of wrist and gripping activities. The most common age range for people is between 30-50 years old to suffer with tennis elbow.


How to treat or prevent this?


To treat both conditions, short term, use methods to reduce pain and inflammation in the area, using paracetamol and ibuprofen. Also using hot and cold compress, as this has been proven to help blood flow to the area.

It is advisable to take time off from the activity that is causing the pain. If this is unavoidable, it is best to work with slightly changing how you may do things. Looking at what postural position you may be in could help reduce the strain that goes through the same muscles.

The easiest way to prevent this is to lightly stretch the affected muscles and to strengthen the opposite muscles to the ones that are in pain.


Overall, the main difference between the two is the side of the elbow in which pain occurs in. If it is the outside of arm, it could be tennis elbow and if it is the inside it could be golfers elbow.

If you think you are suffering with this, visit us at MSKdoctors for a consultation with the expert team.

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