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Tennis Elbow & Golfer’s Elbow

Golfer’s elbow (also known as medial epicondylitis) is a painful condition that occurs where the forearm muscles attach to the bony bump on the inside of the elbow. Tennis elbow (also known as lateral epicondylitis) is a similar condition that occurs on the outside of the elbow. Both of these conditions are caused by overuse. Needless to say, both tennis and golfer’s elbow derive their names from the swinging motions used in these sports. However, these conditions are extremely common outside of the sports for which they are named.

Questions About Your Elbow Pain

  • Do you have constant pain on the outside or inside of the elbow that standard medical treatments have not helped?
  • Has a physician or coach ever told you that have tennis or golfer’s elbow?
  • Have you already seen more than one primary care provider or sports medicine physician about your pain?
  • Have you found temporary relief with steroid injections?
  • Have you taken a break from tennis/golf, only to return and have the pain flare up again?
  • Are you ready to get rid of elbow pain once and for all?
  • Do you prefer a non-surgical treatment for tennis/golfer’s elbow?

If you have answered “yes” to any of these questions, then it might be time to schedule an appointment with a sports medicine physician at Hedley Orthopaedic Institute. Learn more about how sports medicine doctors at Hedley may be able to diagnose and treat tennis/golf elbow without the use of surgery.

Diagnosing Epicondylitis in the Elbow

Many patients with tennis elbow or golfer’s elbow received a diagnosis and were quickly recommended steroid injections or – in more conservative instances – anti-inflammatory drugs, rest, and ice. These treatment options may help with inflammation and pain. However, they do not provide any growth assistance.

At Hedley Orthopaedic Institute, your sports medicine physician will likely go back to the drawing board and perform thorough diagnostic testing on your elbow. The diagnostic process may include physical tests and imaging of your muscles, tendons, and ligaments. Tears, scarring, inflammation, and other problems related to tennis and golfer’s elbow could be discovered at this time. 

Treating Tennis & Golfer’s Elbow

While steroid injections may provide short-term relief, these injections will not “heal” tennis or golfer’s elbow. In some instances, steroid injections could even contribute to tendon and joint degeneration – not what an athlete needs. Sports med physicians at Hedley Orthopaedic Institute offer several cutting-edge, non-surgical treatment modalities for tennis and golfer’s elbow, including:

In addition to these non-surgical therapies, the surgeons at Hedley Orthopaedic Institute offer arthroscopic and reconstructive joint surgery, as well as surgical repair of tendons and ligaments. Learn more.

Tennis/Golfer Elbow Self-Care

If you’ve been diagnosed with tennis elbow or golfer’s elbow, you can take care of yourself at home with these stretches and strengthening exercises. If you have any questions about these stretches or exercises, ask your physician.

  • For tennis elbow, hold your affected arm out in front of the body with your hand hanging down. Use your other hand to pull the wrist down toward the floor. This stretches the extensor muscles in the forearm. Hold for 30 seconds. Repeat three times, several times a day. You can lessen the intensity of this stretch by doing it with your elbow bent at your side.
  • For tennis elbow, extend your affected arm, palm up, resting on a table. Place a one-pound weight in the hand (or 16 oz. water bottle), and use your unaffected arm to bring the affected wrist into extension (bent back). Slowly lower the weight in your hand (over about three seconds) without any assistance from the unaffected arm. Work your way up to 30 repetitions; perform three times daily.
  • For golfer’s elbow, hold your affected arm out in front of the body with your palm open and thumb pointed up. Using your other arm, grab the palm and fingers from above and gently stretch them outward. Hold for 30 seconds. Repeat three times, several times a day. You can lessen the intensity of this stretch by doing it with your elbow bent at your side.
  • For golfer’s elbow, extend your affected arm, palm down, resting on a table. Place a one-pound weight in the hand (or 16 oz. water bottle), and use your unaffected arm to bring the affected wrist into flexion (bending up). Slowly lower the weight in your hand (over about three seconds) without any assistance from the unaffected arm. Work your way up to 30 repetitions; perform three times daily.

Be sure to review any new stretches and exercises with your doctor before trying them at home.

Schedule Your Sports Med Appointment in Phoenix, Mesa or Tempe

Don’t let tennis or golfer’s elbow keep you from doing the activities you love. Schedule an appointment with a sports medicine physician in Phoenix, Mesa, or Tempe through Hedley Orthopaedic Institute. Your sports medicine physician can go over the surgical and non-surgical treatment options available to you. Contact a location near you to schedule your appointment.

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