Tennis elbow and golfer's elbow are considered to be overload tendon injuries, which occur after minor and often unrecognised trauma to the proximal insertion of the extensor (tennis elbow) or flexor (golfer's elbow) muscles of the forearm:
Tennis elbow: reactive tendon pathology of extensor forearm muscle origins, causing lateral elbow and upper forearm pain and tenderness. Caused by repetitive stress at the muscle-tendon junction and its origin at the lateral epicondyle.
Golfer's elbow: reactive tendon pathology of flexor forearm muscles, causing medial elbow pain. Caused by repetitive stress at the muscle-tendon junction and its origin at the medial epicondyle.
HOW IS TENNIS ELBOW AND GOLFER'S ELBOW DIAGNOSED?
The Symptoms the health care provider will consider include pain on the inside of the elbow when lifting the wrist or hand, pain when twisting the forearm, or when making a fist. The area may be slightly swollen or tender to the touch. If the problem has lasted for a while, additional symptoms can include stiffness in the elbow or weakness in the hands or wrist.
HOW IS TENNIS ELBOW AND GOLFER'S ELBOW TREATED?
Give your elbow and wrist a rest. It may take several weeks of resting the elbow and wrist to feel a decrease in pain, and even longer until the symptoms are gone completely. You can help reduce pain and swelling by icing the painful area, and taking anti-inflammatory pain relievers, such as ibuprofen or aspirin. However, it is very important to seek medical attention from your healthcare provider if the condition does not show improvement.
For a sports related injury, it could be helpful to learn the proper form from an expert, such as a tennis or golf professional.
Consistently do exercises to gradually stretch and strengthen your muscles, especially those in the forearm.
Your doctor may recommend a cortisone shot.
Your healthcare provider may also prescribe an elbow brace. The purpose of the brace is to disperse some of the forces over your muscles so that the injury area does not take the full force of a muscle contraction. Some elbow splints, such as the 3pp® Elbow Wrap, are designed so that you can localize the supporting counter pressure to your arm without having to tighten the entire wrap excessively.
Your doctor may also refer you for a course of therapy (either physical, occupational, or hand therapy) to help you manage your condition.
Surgery could be an option after a year of unsuccessful treatment.
DID YOU KNOW?
Though not a very critical disease, the long-term prognosis of this problem includes extensive physiotherapy.