Golf Elbow VS. Tennis Elbow 

golf-elbow-vs-tennis-elbow

The two most common types of elbow injuries are golf and tennis elbows.  

They are caused by repetitive use and inflammation of the joint, leading to pain, stiffness, and reduced range of motion. 

The golf elbow is more common than the tennis elbow because it involves more flexion/extension at the elbow joint.  

Tennis players typically hit with their backhand more than golfers do, so they are more likely to injure their wrists due to excessive extension on that side of their arm.  

Other risk factors for golfer’s elbows include a history of arthritis or other conditions that increase inflammation in the area, steroid use, and overuse. 

Tennis elbow is more common in females than males, possibly due to differences in how the shoulder muscles attach to the arm bone.  

It can also result from repetitive motion at the elbow joint or a fall on an outstretched hand. Risk factors for tennis elbow include being overweight, having wide shoulders, and playing with excessive speed or power.  

Both types of elbows can be treated with a combination of rest, ice, and pain medication. Surgery is rarely necessary.  

In most cases, a full range of motion can be restored by following a rehabilitation program that focuses on stretching and strengthening the muscles around the elbow joint. 

What is Golf Elbow? 

Golf elbow, also known as a golfer’s elbow, is a common type of elbow injury that often occurs in amateur and professional golfers.  

It’s caused by repetitive use and inflammation of the joint, leading to pain, stiffness, and reduced range of motion. 

One risk factor for golfer’s elbows is a history of arthritis or other conditions that increase inflammation in the area. 

Other risk factors for golfer’s elbows include overuse (playing more than you should), steroid use, and playing with excessive speed or power (hitting balls too hard).  

And having wide shoulders (hormones may contribute to the broad shoulders) and falling on an outstretched hand. 

What is Tennis Elbow? 

Tennis elbow, also known as racket arm pain, is a common type of elbow injury that often occurs in amateur and professional tennis players.  

It’s caused by repetitive use and inflammation of the joint, leading to pain, stiffness, and reduced range of motion. 

One risk factor for tennis elbow is being overweight or having broad shoulders.  

Other risk factors for tennis elbow include playing with excessive speed or power (hitting balls too hard), using a false grip (the hand holding the racket should be close to the body but not touching it), and falling on an outstretched hand. 

Tennis elbow often responds well to exercises that focus on stretching and strengthening the muscles around the joint. 

Symptoms of Golf Elbow 

The symptoms of a golfer’s elbow may include: 

1. Pain in the elbow: 

A golfer’s elbow can cause much pain, especially when moving the arm. The pain may be dull and intermittent, or it may be more severe and constant. 

2. Stiffness: 

Golfers often experience significant stiffness in their elbow joint, which makes it difficult to move the arm freely.  

This condition can lead to decreased range of motion and even permanent damage if not treated appropriately. 

3. Reduced strength: 

If your golf elbow isn’t causing any other health problems for you, then chances are that the injury is simply a result of inflammation rather than any further structural damage.  

However, if you’ve had a golfer’s elbow for an extended period or the injury becomes more severe, then there is a good chance that strength in the elbow has been reduced as well. 

4. Swelling: 

Golfers often experience significant swelling in their elbows joint, making it difficult to move the arm freely and even impeding movement altogether. 

Moreover, if the swelling is severe, then it can lead to permanent damage to the joint. 

5. Pain when moving your arm: 

When you try to move your arm, you may experience increased pain and difficulty extending or rotating the shoulder joint.  

This type of pain is often referred to as tennis elbow syndrome and is one of the most common symptoms of a golfer’s elbow injury. 

6. Limited range of motion: 

If you have a golfer’s elbow, your range of motion in the joint may be limited. This means you can only move the arm so far before it becomes excruciatingly painful. 

7. Weakness or paralysis: 

Golfer’s elbow can also lead to significant weakness or paralysis in the arm, particularly dangerous if the injury is not treated promptly and adequately. 

8. Difficulty in Gripping: 

If you have a golfer’s elbow, it may not be easy to Gripping Objects with your hand.  

This can make everyday tasks very difficult, mainly if you rely on your hand for work or disability benefits. 

Treatments of Golf Elbow 

Here are the treatments for the most common symptoms of a golfer’s elbow injury: 

1. Rest and ice: 

The first step is always to take some time off and rest the arm as much as possible. This will help reduce inflammation and allow the injured joint to heal properly. 

Additionally, applying ice to the area may help relieve pain and swelling immediately. 

2. Pain relief medication: 

If you experience severe pain or have difficulty moving your arm, taking analgesics may relieve relief. A doctor or pharmacist can prescribe this medication, so get advice before using it. 

3. Surgery: 

If the injury is severe, surgery may be necessary to restore range of motion and reduce inflammation.  

This type of procedure can often be very successful, but it can risk long-term damage or even paralysis in the arm. 

4. Physiotherapy: 

Physiotherapy can help to improve joint range of motion and reduce inflammation.  

Sessions may also be tailored to your specific needs, such as adding exercises that work on the arm. 

5. Rest and rehabilitation: 

Once the injury has healed, it is essential to continue taking time off and rehabilitating the arm.  

This will help ensure that you have a good range of motion and can use your arm without any pain or difficulty. 

Symptoms of Tennis Elbow 

Here are the symptoms of tennis elbow that you should be aware of: 

1. Pain in the elbow joint: 

The first and most prominent symptom is a pain in the area around your elbow, which may accompany a feeling of swelling or stiffness. 

2. Limited range of motion: 

If you have a limited range of motion in your arm, performing even basic tasks such as putting on a shirt or tying your shoes will be challenging.  

This can make everyday activities extremely difficult, mainly if you rely on your hand for income or disability benefits. 

3. Swelling and redness: 

Swelling and redness are also common symptoms, which may be due to the inflammation often present in the tennis elbow. Moving your arm freely or even seeing it can make it difficult. 

4. Difficulty using the hand: 

If you have difficulty using your hand, this can lead to problems such as lost job opportunities or decreased social life.  

In extreme cases, it may even be necessary to use a wheelchair or other assistance devices to complete everyday tasks. 

5. Pain when extending the arm: 

If you experience pain when extending your arm, this may indicate that the injury is more severe.  

Further surgery or rehabilitation may be required to restore the full range of motion and improve your condition. 

6. Scarring: 

Tennis elbow can often leave behind a noticeable scar, which may be tender to the touch and difficult to heal. If left untreated, this scar could become thicker and more permanent. 

7. Pain in Lower Limb and Shoulder Area: 

Tennis elbow can also cause joint pain, which may be particularly severe in the lower limb and shoulder area.  

If you experience severe pain on movement or when trying to lift anything, it is vital to seek medical assistance as soon as possible. 

8. Loss of mobility: 

If you experience a significant loss of mobility in your arm, this may indicate that the injury is more severe and requires additional rehab or surgery.  

In some cases, it may even be necessary to use a wheelchair or other assistive devices to complete everyday tasks. 

Treatments of Tennis Elbow 

Here are some possible treatments for tennis elbow: 

1. Splinting: 

If you experience pain when extending your arm, applying a splint to the injury may be helpful. This will help restrict movement and reduce the pain you experience.  

Splints can often be made from materials such as cloth or tape and should be applied for at least four weeks following the initial injury. 

2. Physical therapy: 

Physical therapy may relieve tennis elbow symptoms by improving your arm muscles’ range of motion and flexibility.  

Sessions typically involve exercises that stretch and strengthen the affected area and may take up to two months to produce long-term improvements. 

3. Injection therapy: 

If you experience significant pain and limited range of motion, it may be worth considering injection therapy as a treatment option.  

This involves injecting an antibiotic or other suitable medication directly into the injured area to reduce inflammation and improve healing. 

4. Rehabilitation: 

If you experience significant pain following an injury, it may be helpful to undergo rehabilitation.  

This involves completing exercises and training sessions designed to improve the affected area’s range of motion and strength.  

Rehabilitation can take up to six months but can often lead to long-term improvements in mobility and function. 

5. Surgery: 

If none of the above successful treatments, surgery may be required to restore mobility and relieve pain.  

This involves removing damaged tissue or tendon and can often be a relatively quick and effective solution. 

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