Lateral and Medial Epicondylitis
What is Lateral and Medial Epicondylitis?
“Tennis Elbow” or lateral epicondylitis is a common term for pain along the outside of the elbow. It is caused by overuse or repetitive motion of those muscles that extend the wrist. You don’t have to be a tennis player to get this condition, but it is more commonly seen in people who play tennis.
Pain along the inside of the elbow is called “Golfer’s Elbow” or medial epicondylitis. In this condition, the muscles that flex the wrist and turn the hand down are irritated. This typically occurs due to repetitive stress and overuse and frequently occurs in people who play golf, but can be related to any number of activities including work.
What causes these injuries?
Both tennis elbow and golfer’s elbow typically result from repetitive, forceful gripping and lifting. The conditions can be caused by sports other than golf and tennis, as well as work-related activities that involve heavy use of the wrist and forearm muscles (such as the movements of plumbers, painters, carpenters, and butchers).
What are the symptoms?
- Pain on the inside or outside of the elbow.
- Decreased grip strength and possibly pain radiating from the elbow down into the wrist or towards the shoulder.
- The onset of symptoms is typically gradual and may become worse when shaking hands, squeezing objects or lifting items.
How did my doctor diagnose it?
Epicondylitis of the elbow was diagnosed based upon your signs and symptoms along with a physical examination.
How are tennis elbow and golfer’s elbow treated?
The vast majority (80-95 percent) of patients with these injuries have success with nonsurgical treatment, such as rest, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medicines (aspirin or ibuprofen), review of sports equipment to ensure proper fitting, physical therapy, steroid injections, or a forearm brace. If your symptoms do not respond after six to twelve months of nonsurgical treatments, your doctor may recommend surgery.
Summit Orthopedics physical therapist Sam Olson, PT, DPT, OCS, explains the hidden pitfalls of specializing in one sport and playing it year round.