Tennis Elbow is associated with a pain to the outer part (lateral aspect) of the elbow radiating to the extensor muscle belly in the forearm. Pain can also radiate up the arm from the elbow.
Whilst often thought to be an inflammatory process, Tennis Elbow is actually a degenerative process. Histological studies show that there are actually minimal acute inflammatory cells present.
Studies show that tennis elbow is the most common injury in female amateurs and second only to lumbar spine injuries in amateur male players.
In the elite amateur and professional ranks less than 10% of injuries involve the elbow at all.
Golfers suffer Tennis Elbow in their leading arm (mostly left) generally due to excessive and repetitive wrist extension and supination (twisting) of the forearm, which occurs when you over-grip your club. There may be a number of contributing factors such as worn or slippery grips, worn out gloves, or ill fitting clubs.
Other things such as too much hitting off mats, playing in wet weather, or excessive bunker or rough play might also increase your chances of developing Tennis Elbow. Of course there are also physical and technical aspects of your swing that may contribute.
A universal approach must be taken to address tennis elbow symptoms. It is a good idea to firstly see a Physiotherapist to get an accurate diagnosis of your injury, and determine if it is in fact Tennis Elbow which is causing your pain.
Treatment may consist of rest, supportive taping or bracing, and a tailored stretching and eccentric strengthening program. Therapeutic ultrasound and dry needling (acupuncture) may also be helpful to alleviate your symptoms.
If symptoms aren't improving within a month, a referral to a sports doctor might be beneficial to determine future management. Once settled, a golf specific physical screening should be undertaken to assist in rehabilitation and prevent re-occurrence.
It is also essential for you and your coach to review your equipment, training environment, schedule, and your technique.
And what about Golfer’s Elbow? Golfer’s Elbow refers to the same injury except on the inside (medial aspect) of the elbow.
This injury is found predominantly in the trailing right arm, and is far less common than tennis elbow. The term Golfer’s Elbow has been around for a long time and was more prevalent in golfers 30+ years ago, when the swing was looser through the arms and hips.
If you have any questions regarding injuries, management or exercise please feel free to comment below, and I will do my best to answer them.
Martin McInnes - Physiotherapist
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