What is Tennis Elbow and Golfer’s elbow (Epicondylitis) and Treatments During Early Stages.

Posted by Jacqueline Carpenter on 20th Dec 2016

Epicondylitis is classified as a type of musculoskeletal disorder that refers to inflammation of an epicondyle. The epicondyle is the part of a bone which lies on top of a rounded point at the end of a bone, a condyle. Your elbow joint is made up of three bones, the humerus (upper arm bone), the radius and the ulna (in the forearm). In the arm, there are two, the medial and lateral, epicondyles located at the bottom and on either side of the humerus.

Medial epicondylitis (ME), or golfer’s elbow, occurs when the tendons attaching to the medial epicondyle (becomes inflamed and sore. Lateral epicondylitis (LE), tennis elbow, is a condition in which the outer tendons and muscles become damaged from overuse. Both can be caused by overuse of the forearms during various activities, and are not exclusive to those who play golf or tennis. The most common age for these tendon ailments range from 30 to 50 years of age; although, anyone is prone to LE or ME if they engage in activities that apply stress to the forearms. Almost 75% of the cases occur in the dominant arm.

Symptoms associated with:

Tennis elbow (LE):

  • Pain on the outer part of elbow (the ECRB tendon, figure 2).
  • Tenderness on the protrusion on the outside of the elbow.
  • Pain and weakness from gripping or movements of the wrist.
  • Wrist extension
  • Lifting, with palm facing down

Golfer’s elbow (ME):

  • Pain on inner part of the elbow and along palm side of the forearm.
  • Pain while flexing and pronating the wrist.
  • Frequent use of hand tools

Both utilize similar treatment plans:

  • Rest
  • Ice pack application (to reduce inflammation)
  • Strengthening exercises
  • Bracing
  • Anti-inflammatory medications
  • Surgery/physical therapy for severe cases

This information is provided as an educational service and is not intended to serve as medical advice. It is important to seek advice from a physician if chronic pain occurs and before starting any medical treatments.

Sources:

  • 1.(2005). Medial and lateral epicondylitis. In Essentials of musculoskeletal Care (pp. 261-266). L.Y. Griffin (Ed). Rosemount, IL: American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons.
  • 2.Plancher, K.D., Halbrecht, J., Lourie G.M. (1996) Medial and lateral epicondylitis in the athlete. Clinics in sports medicine. 15 (2), 283-305.
  • 3.AAOS. (2016). Tennis elbow. http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=a00068.
  • 4.John Hopkins Medicine. (2016). Medial epicondylitis. http://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/healthlibrary/cond...
  • 5.Mayo Clinic. (2016). Golfer’s elbow. http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/gol...