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  • Writer's pictureAJ Kirkpatrick, PT, DPT

Golfer’s and Tennis Elbow

Updated: Oct 10, 2023

What is the difference between Golfer’s and Tennis Elbow? Golfer’s Elbow typically refers to pain on the inside of your elbow, while Tennis Elbow typically refers to pain on the outside of the elbow during a tennis swing. They were given their respective names due to their common causes, but can happen from many other activities, including the activities while working at your desk for 8 hours a day. Symptoms typically include pain with wrist movement in any direction, weakness and/or pain with gripping objects, and of course pain during a golf and/or tennis swing. This pain typically can last for weeks, months or years if not properly taken care of.

The medical term for this group of symptoms is lateral and medial epicondylitis. Simply put, this just means inflammation of the tissue on the inside or outside of your elbow. This typically is caused by a mix of weakness, tightness and/or overuse without allowing proper recovery in between the activities. The tissues tend to become irritated and inflamed from micro tearing throughout the part of the muscle that attaches to the elbow. This then tends to become a problem due to how often you elbows are involved in your every day activities.

So What Do I Do?

The best, immediate, course of action would be to contact your doctor and seek a prescription for physical therapy. We work with these diagnoses on a daily basis and it requires a very specific set of rules to allow the tissues to completely heal. Unfortunately, just pure rest is not enough, as you must retrain the tissue length and strength to slowly return back to previous levels to get back to your activities, pain free. Most people quit the activity they love for weeks or months to allow the pain to disappear, but as soon as they return to golf or tennis the pain returns immediately. Medial and lateral epicondylitis can be very temperamental and the best way to get back to performing the activities that you love is to rehabilitate the tissues following a very specific set of rules according to your anatomy and physiology. Every diagnosis of medial/lateral epicondylitis is different and must be treated according to each individual case. We must follow a structured set of treatment parameters which includes finding creative ways to allow the tissues to rest as much as possible and progressing at the right time to a proper stretch and strengthening program. Once the tissues have healed you must slowly return to your desired activities and be sure to allow proper recovery in between.

If you think you are in the Mission Viejo are and you, or someone you know, may be experiencing similar symptoms, feel free to call/text (949) 464-4009 or email us at and we would be more than happy to assist you in getting back to the sports you love!

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