Can golf cause tennis elbow? Have you been playing more golf lately, and finding your elbow to be in discomfort? Oftentimes when this happens to golfers, they assume that they are experiencing the common tennis injury known as “Tennis Elbow”. But, is that what you are experiencing or is it something different altogether?
So, can golf cause “Tennis Elbow”? Yes, research shows that playing golf can cause tennis elbow. Swinging golf club can also lead to a very similar injury known as “Golfer’s Elbow”.
What is the difference, and how can you fix it, you ask? Read on and we’ll tell you all about these injuries, and steps that will hopefully have you on the mend in no time!
What is Tennis Elbow?
Tennis elbow is typically an injury found in tennis players due to the repetitive motion of using a tennis racket, but it also can be caused by golf.
It’s medical name is “lateral epicondylitis” and it’s main symptom is pain and tenderness on the outside of your elbow. Other symptoms include weak grip, tenderness, shooting pain, and aching even while resting.
Tennis elbow is an overuse injury that is typically caused by repeated forearm muscle contractions. This can be caused by overuse of the tendons of the muscles that open your wrist and fingers from a fist. This can also be caused from unstable shoulders that are not properly transferring the force of the swing, which will cause your elbow to absorb the impact.
You are at added risk for tennis elbow while playing golf if you are between the ages of 30-40 and if you have had tendon injuries in this area in the past. Genetics does play a role in tennis elbow as well. Some people are born with less durable tendons, which put them at higher risk for tennis elbow.
What is Golfer’s Elbow?
Golfer’s elbow is medically known as “medial epicondylitis” and it is caused by damage to the muscles that control your fingers and wrists. Symptoms include stiffness or weakness in the hands and wrist, as well as pain and tenderness on the inner side of your elbow.
Golfer’s elbow is caused when you tend to flip or scoop into impact. This is often due to alignment issues in the golf swing, which causes extra pressure on these tendons. If this pain has gone on for a while without resolution, you may start to experience tingling or numbness. This may mean that you have developed nerve damage, and it’s important to see your doctor to confirm next steps.
You are at greater risk for Golfer’s elbow if you are over 40 years of age, if you are obese, if you smoke, or if you are performing repetitive activity for at least two hours a day.
The major difference between golfer’s elbow and tennis elbow is the location of the pain. If you are experiencing pain on the inside of your elbow it’s most likely golfer’s elbow. If it’s pain on the outside of your elbow, that is most likely tennis elbow.
How to Fix These Injuries?
Although these injuries are in fact different, they have very similar methods that one can use to heal them. One way to reduce some of the pain caused by these injuries is to localize the spot that is painful and release the pain with a tennis ball. You can also do light stretching in the inflicted area.
Most doctors also recommend resting the arm, icing the affected area to reduce the swelling, and taking anti-inflammatory medications in order to reduce some of the pain. Elbow braces have been proven to be helpful in decreasing the stress placed on the injured tissues.
If you are in the middle of a tournament and need to keep playing, some have argued that taping the forearm can provide enough muscle fiber support to continue for the time being.
If these steps are not helping the area, it’s important to see a doctor to identify if further damage to the tendons has occurred. They may suggest a cortisone injection, which is a powerful steroid that can drastically reduce inflammation. If symptoms still persist, they may even suggest surgery to repair the tendon.
How to Prevent These Injuries?
Of course there are ways to fix these injuries after they occur, but it is much simpler to take steps to prevent them from occurring in the first place. Strengthening your forearm muscles is the first step. This can be done by either utilizing light weights or squeezing a tennis ball.
Stretching is also huge when it comes to preventing injuries of any kind for that matter. Experts say you should stretch before you begin your game and make sure you gently warm up.
It’s also essential to make sure you’re utilizing the right equipment. If you are using older irons, they may be made of a heavier metal than more recent clubs. It’s worth considering investing in a lighter set in order to prevent long term damage.
Knowing your body is also a very important step in preventing injury. If you are sensing the beginning signs of elbow pain, it’s important to take a break and rest. The most important way to prevent tennis elbow or golfer’s elbow though, is to have a professional check your form to ensure you are correctly aligned in every aspect of your swing.
Conclusion: Can Golf Cause Tennis Elbow?
Yes, golf definitely can cause tennis elbow, and it can also cause golfer’s elbow. Studies show that golfers actually have reported more cases of tennis elbow regardless of the name of these injuries.
We know that whatever you call your elbow pain, it hurts like hell so we hope you are able to take these precautions we listed in the future to prevent it from happening again!