golf tennis elbow

Can Golf Cause Tennis Elbow?

Golf can seem to be quite innocuous at first sight. However, if you are not precautious and indulge in repetitive movement patterns, you may develop some injuries along the way. Some of the most common injuries you can have in golf are elbow injuries. 

Let’s imagine you are out and about at the nearest golf course. On a given day you decide to go polish your swing. You go on for hours on end at it, only to finish the session with a hurt elbow. You think that it’s a one-off thing, and you let the days pass. Then, after several trips to the course, you see yourself having the same disturbance. Now the probability of an elbow injury doesn’t seem to be so distant.

Can golf cause tennis elbow? Let’s find out…

Difference Between Tennis Elbow, and Golfer’s Elbow

First off, we need to clearly define what is golfer's elbow, and what is tennis elbow. Although they may seem to be very different things, both golfer’s elbow and tennis elbow are forms of tendonitis.

If you find yourself asking what tendonitis is, it is the swelling of the tendons. The tendons are the connective tissue between muscles and bones. With overuse or even misuse, tendons can get swollen. This swelling of the tendons in the elbow region gives the name to the aforementioned terminologies. 

Elbow tendonitis is a commonplace result of overuse of the elbow joint, usually coupled with excessive strength exertion. What makes them different from each other is that they affect particular tendons of the elbow.

What’s Golfer’s Elbow?

Golfer’s elbow's proper name is medial epicondylitis. It affects the medial tendon in the epicondyle. In layman's terms, it’s the tendon in the inner bony part of the elbow. It is very frequently found in golfers due to the repetitive swinging motions found in the sport. 

As a consequence of the repetitive movement patterns, swelling ensues in the area. Without proper attention, it can become a chronic condition that may even become worse over time. If left untreated, it can certainly lead to more serious injuries, such as tendon tears.

Many sportspeople are affected or have suffered this along their journey. If you are a golfer, proper elbow maintenance and prevention are a must to avoid this.

What’s Tennis Elbow?

Now, delving more concretely into their difference, tennis elbow is the lateral epicondylitis. As previously mentioned, it is also a swelling that takes place in the tendons of the elbow, but this time it is the lateral epicondyle. This means that the outer part of the elbow is the one being affected.

People are tempted to believe that because of its name, tennis elbow, it doesn’t affect golfers. This is far from the truth. Tennis elbow can certainly be initiated by actions that are not related to tennis, such as using hand tools, playing instruments, or even weightlifting. Thus, golfing is not extracted from the equation.

In short, it also means that you can easily get tennis elbow from playing golf, as funny as it sounds.

What Are Their Similarities?

As you can tell, both injuries are very similar to one another. Both are essentially swelling of the tendons in the forearm due to stress or overuse. What makes them different is the area they affect. However, the treatment options for both are similar in nature.

How to Know If You Have Tennis Elbow or Golfer’s Elbow?

There are many ways to pinpoint whether you have these or not. In case you have the suspicion that you may have them, the first thing you should do is go to a doctor. Proper diagnosis and treatment possibilities will arise, provided this is done.

The first thing you should look for in order to determine your ailment is to try and spot any sort of tenderness and pain in the inner elbow region. It can also extend to a greater portion of your forearm, and in very severe situations you may even experience stiffness, tingling, or even numbness. 

If this is accompanied by weakness, there is a high probability of something more serious than your average tendonitis.

Still unsure about what you feel? Go ahead and try the following:

  • Flex the wrist swiftly from right to left
  • Form a fist with your fingers, let go, and repeat a couple of times (not more than 5)
  • Now turn your hand, facing the palm. Do this in a quick pattern
  • If you feel discomfort, chances are you have a form of elbow tendonitis

Those people who are usually at risk are the ones that perform strong, repetitive movement patterns with the arms, old people, and smokers.

What to Do If You Have These?

Both issues are common symptoms among golfers. If you feel discomfort, swelling, or pain, the first thing you should do is temporarily stop doing manual activities. Secondly, the next step is to get medical assistance to determine what injury is present, its severity, and the available possibilities for curing them.

How to Prevent Tennis Elbow or Golfer’s Elbow

Several ways are at hand for solving the inconvenience. Here we will list a couple of ways in which this injury can be sorted out.

Sports Therapy (If You’re Already Injured)

Sports therapy is crucial for anybody in the presence of an injury. This is the safest and best way to cure injuries in case they are present, as they combine strength and mobility exercises with therapies that can effectively reduce swelling and negative symptoms.

Strength and Conditioning

This aspect is the most relevant in the realm of injury prevention. Under the circumstance that you wish to prevent these types of injuries, strength and conditioning is your go-to. It will eventually make the tendons in your arms (and the rest of your body) much thicker and more resilient. Ergo, they will tolerate much more force than if you don’t train them.

How to do so? Very simple. Do movements that imitate the motions you practice the most in golfing. Yet, you should do them in controlled circumstances with tolerable loads. You should opt to hire the services of a personal trainer if this is your desired course of action.

Extra Considerations

Both affections can easily be cured. Further prevention can take place if you have a healthy diet, stay away from sedentarism, stay hydrated, and get proper sleep. For more tips and golf gear go to

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