Tennis elbow, golfer’s elbow

Tennis elbow is an inflammation of the extensor tendon (epicondylitis humeri radialis) on the outer side of the elbow. Golfer’s elbow is an inflammation of the flexor tendon (epicondylitis humeri ulnaris) on the inner side of the elbow. The terms tennis elbow and golfer’s elbow result stem from the fact that the tendons on the elbow are often overstrained.

Both tennis elbow or golfer’s elbow occur through overuse of the underarm muscle. One-sided or incorrect movement, for example playing tennis or golf, irritates the tendon insertions on the elbow. Tennis elbow affects the extensor tendons on the outer side of the elbow. Golfer’s elbow affects the bending tendons on the inner side of the elbow. However, not only these types of sport but also every activity involving extensive, repetitive strain on the underarm muscles can trigger tendonitis on the elbow.

The most common symptoms of tennis elbow or golfer’s elbow are pain in the elbow that radiates into the under arm. The pain occurs or gains in intensity when you close your fist and when you bend or stretch your wrist. The outer side of the elbow is painful to the touch in the case of tennis elbow, whereas it is the inner side for golfer’s elbow.

Tennis elbow or golfer’s elbow is usually already diagnosed on the basis of the typical symptoms and examination of the elbow with the characteristic pressure pain on the outside or inside. Sometimes x-rays are taken to rule out other illnesses such as osteoarthritis or a bone fracture.

Tennis elbow and golfer’s elbow are normally treated conservatively. Conservative treatment options include painkillers and anti-inflammatory medication, cold and warm compresses, massages as well as ultrasound treatments. These measures are accompanied by resting the underarm and elbow muscles. Sometimes immobilisation with a cast is required for one to two weeks.

Surgical treatment is only sensible in individual cases. For example, if the pain does not improve after extended conservative treatment. The goal of the surgery is to alleviate muscle tension to prevent irritation of the tendon insertions on the elbow.