You may have heard of the conditions tennis elbow and golfer’s elbow, but did you know you can suffer from these conditions even if you don’t play either sport? Tennis elbow and golfer’s elbow can occur when there is inflammation, overuse or degeneration of the tendons at the elbow.
Tennis elbow occurs on the outside of the elbow (at the lateral epicondyle bone), and is called lateral epicondylitis or epicondylosis by medical professionals (regardless of whether not you play tennis). Golfer’s elbow, which is known as medial epicondylitis or epicondylosis in the medical world, is a similar condition which causes pain on the inside or medial aspect of the elbow. Pain most often occurs during forceful gripping when the wrist and/or elbow are extended. The condition can be brought on by typical daily tasks that don’t seem too strenuous, such as prolonged carrying and lifting of shopping bags, a laptop computer bag, carry-on luggage, heavy purse or briefcase.
Oftentimes these injures crop up in laborers after prolonged hammering or when sustained gripping is required. Weekend warriors can also experience these symptoms after an uptick in activity when painting, pulling weeds, power washing, using a leaf blower or chainsaw, or other home maintenance and repairs. The source of the pain is where the muscle turns to tendon near its attachment to the bone at the inside or outside of the elbow. The muscle can place a high demand on the tendon, which can be more than it can handle. This causes pain when the tendon becomes injured. Once this becomes irritated it can lead to weakness, where even the simplest tasks such as opening a door, brushing teeth, gripping and turning the steering wheel, or lifting a coffee cup can provoke pain at the elbow. This is typically seen in people over 30, but can occur at any age.
If these tips are not giving you relief, it may be time to contact your physician or schedule an appointment at Athletico. If you have Lateral or Medial Epicondylitis, therapy can help you relieve pain, restore flexibility and strength, while avoiding excessive forces by modifying techniques, equipment or mechanics to decrease symptoms and avoid re-occurrence of symptoms. A therapist can prescribe exercises that allow one to apply the appropriate amount of force, which can help promote tendon healing without increasing pain.
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The Athletico blog is an educational resource written by Athletico employees. Athletico bloggers are licensed professionals who abide by the code of ethics outlined by their respective professional associations. The content published in blog posts represents the opinion of the individual author based on their expertise and experience. The content provided in this blog is for informational purposes only, does not constitute medical advice and should not be relied on for making personal health decisions.
1. Meals, R., (2008) The Hand Owner’s Manual p.104-106.
2. Leadbetter, J., (2006) Hand and Upper Extremity Rehabiliataion, a Practical Guide, Third Edition, p.399-406.
3. Edwards, H., What is Tennis Elbow Lateral Epiconsylosis? Retrieved from https://centerforphysicalexcellence.com/tennis-elbowlateral-epicondylosis/
4. Erickson, J., (2019) Why do I have Tennis Elbow? I don’t play tennis? http://www.raleighhand.com/blog/why-do-i-have-tennis-elbow-i-dont-play-tennis
5. Jones, S., Google tells me it is Tennis Elbow but I don’t play Tennis! Retrieved from https://www.kcbj.com/google-tells-me-it-is-tennis-elbow-but-i-dont-play-tennis/