Golfer’s Elbow (Medial Epicondylitis)
Golfers elbow or medial epicondylitis is an overuse injury similar to tennis elbow (on the outside of the arm) but causing pain on the inside of the elbow instead.
Medial epicondylitis is caused by repeated wrist flexion or bending the wrist, particularly against resistance such as holding a golf club. It can also occur from throwing actions, as well as in occupations such as through manual jobs like carpentry or working at a computer work station. It tends to occur after a period of repeated overuse.
The tendon of the wrist flexor muscles on the inside of the elbow becomes painful and inflamed at their attachment point on the inner elbow.
Signs & Symptoms
The main symptoms are pain and tenderness on the bony bit on the inside of the elbow called the medial epicondyle, particularly when gripping hard with the hand. There will be general weakness in the wrist and pain will be reproduced by bending the wrist palm downwards against resistance and resisting pronation or rotating the wrist inwards. Medial epicondylitis usually comes on gradually over time and is an uncomfortable niggle with recurrent stiffness before it develops into a painful injury causing the athlete loss of function.
Tennis Elbow (Lateral Epicondylitis)
Tennis Elbow is a general term used to describe pain on the outside of the elbow. The most common causes is inflammation or degeneration of the tendon of the wrist extensor muscles as they insert into the elbow. It is also known as lateral epicondylitis or extensor tendinopathy.
Tennis Elbow most commonly occurs at the junction where the tendon of the 'extensor carpi radialis brevis' muscle inserts into the lateral epicondyle of the humerus (bony bit on the outside of the elbow near the “funny bone”). In this area there are a large number of pain receptors making this region particularly tender to touch. The most common cause of Tennis Elbow is overuse of the muscles (also called “repetitive strain”) caused by repeated extension or bending back of the wrist against resistance. Gripping or turning objects like a manual screwdriver, lifting heavy weights during strength training or repeatedly performing occupational activities such as a builder laying a number of bricks are all common causes of tennis elbow.
Signs & Symptoms
The main symptoms of Tennis Elbow include pain about 1 to 2 cm down from the bony part on the outside of the elbow, known as the lateral epicondyle.
In addition, there may be associated weakness in the muscles around the forearm / wrist and this may cause difficulty in performing simple tasks such as gripping things, opening a door handle or shaking hands with someone.