All tennis elbow and golfer’s elbow are both injuries to the elbow joint that are caused due to overuse. Technically, they are both considered to be forms of epicondylitis. This refers to an inflammation of the tendons attached to the elbow. Another similarity between them is that they are not restricted to athletes. However, they are not synonymous. The main difference between the two conditions lies in the part of the elbow that is affected.
This condition is also known as lateral epicondylitis. It is most commonly diagnosed amongst patients between the age of 30 to 50 years. The tendons affected by this condition are located on the lateral or outer side of the elbow. Thus, it is marked by inflammation of the outer areas of the forearm and elbow due to repetitive actions by the wrist and forearm. The condition is commonly known as tennis elbow because a forehand or backhand stroke exerts the muscles that cause this inflammation. Cooks, carpenters, plumbers and painters are most susceptible to this condition. Seasonal activities such as gardening or raking can also trigger tennis elbow.
Symptoms of tennis elbow:
A pain that radiates from the outer elbow to the wrist and forearm is a characteristic symptom of this condition. This pain may be felt as a constant ache or only experienced while performing certain activities. In addition, the forearm might feel weak and patients may complain of having a weak grip.
Golfer’s elbow is also known as medial epicondylitis. This condition affects the tendons on the medial or inside of the elbow. It is characterized by pain and irritation on the inside elbow and arm. Any action that requires repetitive flexing and twisting of the wrist can cause this condition. Thus, golfers are at a high risk of suffering from it. Medial epicondylitis can also be caused by shovelling, gardening or throwing a ball. Carpenters, weightlifters and painters often find themselves experiencing pain associated with this condition.
Symptoms of golfer’s elbow:
A pain on the inner side of the elbow is the main symptom associated with golfer’s elbow. This pain usually radiates downwards to the forearm. It may be experienced when lifting the hand or when twisting the forearm, such as when making a fist. The elbow may also be slightly swollen and feel tender. In addition, patients may experience a tingling sensation in the ring and little finger. If left untreated for a long time, it could cause elbow stiffness as well as weakness in the wrist.