Health Beat with Dr. Alicia Arnold:Golf & Tennis elbow

By: WEAU 13 News Email
By: WEAU 13 News Email

CE: Let's start with what golf elbow is.

AA: It is painful inflammation of the tendons on the medial or inner side of the elbow. It is sometimes also called pitcher's elbow.

CE: How about tennis elbow?

AA: It is similar to golf elbow, but on the opposite side of the elbow. It affects the tendons on the outer side of the elbow. It tends to be more common. It may affect your ability to grip as well.

CE: Can these conditions be caused by other activities as well?

AA: Yes, they can also be caused by work activities such as carpentry, painting, or plumbing. Sports like swimming or climbing may also cause it. Sometimes it can occur without a clear cause, but just from normal activities of daily living. They are overuse injuries, so any repeated activity involving the muscles that have tendon attachments at the elbow may contribute to the pain.

CE: How are they diagnosed?

AA: Your health care provider will examine you. Frequently, a diagnosis can be made just based on exam. Sometimes additional studies, like X-rays or an MRI, may be necessary to rule out other conditions like arthritis.

CE: What are the treatment options?

AA: Rest and ice are frequently a good place to start. Over the counter pain medications may be helpful if you are uncomfortable. It can be difficult if the pain is made worse by activities you have to do at work. Physical therapy and wearing a brace may be options too. Rarely individuals may need further treatment like surgery.

CE: If these injuries are from sports, how much does technique matter?

AA: Poor technique can cause these conditions or make them worse. Good form may reduce your risk. When golfing, try slowing down your swing so there is less shock impact to your arm when you hit. You can also try doing exercises to strengthen your forearm muscles. If you play tennis, you can try using a more loosely strung racquet or a racquet with a smaller head.

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