Difference Between Tennis Elbow and Golfer’s Elbow

Tennis elbow and golfer’s elbow are common conditions among athletes and people who work with their hands. If you have pain when utilizing your forearm muscles, particularly when clenching or extending your fingers, either of these ailments could be to fault. The symptoms of these illnesses can be alleviated with effective therapy, allowing one to resume normal activities. Ignoring or pushing through the symptoms, on the other hand, may increase the long-term repercussions. Over time, you may compromise your range of motion, and the discomfort may become severe or worsen. That is why it is critical to get treatment. Treatment is usually non-invasive, consisting of simple workouts and over-the-counter drugs. Surgery, on the other hand, maybe required in extreme circumstances.

Tennis Elbow vs Golfer’s Elbow

The main difference between tennis elbow and golfer’s elbow is that tennis elbow is inflammation at the elbow’s outer end, while golfer’s elbow is inflammation at the elbow’s interior end. Tennis elbow, medically termed lateral epicondylitis, affects the outside or lateral side of the elbow, whereas the golfer’s elbow affects the inside or medial side. Each of these injuries is the result of repeated strain and overuse.

Tennis Elbow and Golfers Elbow

Tennis elbow is a type of tendonitis that manifests itself on the outside of the elbow. Tennis elbow is also called lateral epicondylitis, a sore condition caused by inflammation and microtears in the tendons that connect to the lateral epicondyle, a bony protrusion on the outside of the elbow. The muscles that enable the wrist to be stretched backward as well as the fingers to be straightened are influenced by the lateral epicondyle.

Golfer’s elbow is a difficult condition that is caused by inflammation and microtears in the tendons that attach to the medial epicondyle, a bony projection on the inside of the elbow. Golfer’s elbow is named medial epicondylitis by medical specialists because it involves tendonitis, or “tendon inflammation,” over the medial epicondyle. The tendons that connect to the medial epicondyle have a significant impact on the movement of the muscles that control wrist rotation, finger contraction, and gripping.

Comparison Table between Tennis Elbow and Golfer’s Elbow

Parameter of comparisonTennis ElbowGolfer’s Elbow
MeaningInflammation at the point of insertion of the extensors of the forearm into the lateral condyleInflammation at the point of insertion of the wrist flexors into the medial condyle
Other nameLateral humeral epicondylitisMedial humeral epicondylitis
Location of InflammationExternal irritation or inflammationInternal irritation or inflammation
Radiation of painTo the extensor forearmTo the flexor forearm
Affected tendonOuter tendonInner tendon

What is Tennis Elbow?

Tennis elbow also referred to as lateral epicondylitis, is most frequent in adults aged 30 to 50. It’s a muscular strain and overuse ailment that causes inflammation on the outer part of the elbow and forearm. As a result of repeated activity, these muscles are frequently strained and irritated. Because of the repetitive nature of their work, carpenters, painters, and plumbers are prone to it. Another cause for Tennis Elbow can be seasonal activities like raking, gardening, and woodcutting.

Pain radiating from the outside of the elbow to the forearm and wrist is one of the symptoms. There may be a constant pain in the elbow region, or it may be experienced primarily when performing activities involving grasping or lifting.

Tennis elbow is caused by overuse or a severe injury. However, one does not have to be a tennis player to get a tennis elbow. In fact, you don’t even need to be an athlete. This condition can be caused by any repetitive gripping or grasping activity. Using a knife to cut, using hand-held equipment such as a screwdriver or hammer are some examples.

 Without proper treatment, tennis elbow can have long-term effects, making it more than just an uncomfortable condition. A person may lose his elbow’s full range of motion, limiting daily activities, and in such cases, surgery might be needed to reverse the effect.

What is Golfer’s Elbow?

Medial epicondylitis, generally known as, Golfer’s Elbow, is an irritation of the arm and elbow’s interior surface. Activities that demand frequent twisting or flexing of the wrist might induce this disease. In most cases, straining of the forearm muscles is the cause. Golfer’s Elbow can be caused by activities such as gardening, shoveling, golf, or tennis. It can also be caused by frequent lifting, particularly with the elbow extended and palm facing down. Causes include racquet sports, baseball, weightlifting, woodworking, and other associated activities.

An indication is a pain on the inside of the elbow while moving the wrist or hand, or when twisting the forearm or creating a fist. The area affected may be swollen or uncomfortable to the touch. If the issue has been persistent for several weeks, subsequent symptoms may include elbow stiffness or weakness in the hands or wrist.

If a golfer’s elbow is left unchecked, it might deteriorate over time. Patients may have a decreased grip, chronic discomfort, or a restricted range of motion in their elbow. If golfer’s elbow pain is severe or persistent, one should consult a doctor. Also, until they meet with a medical professional, one must rest and take a break from their activity.

Main Differences between Tennis Elbow and Golfer’s Elbow

  1. Tennis elbow is defined as inflammation at the point of insertion of the extensors of the forearm into the lateral condyle. While golfers elbow is the inflammation at the point of insertion of the wrist flexors into the medial condyle.
  2. The scientific name for tennis elbow is Lateral humeral epicondylitis and for golfers elbow, it is Medial humeral epicondylitis
  3. Tennis elbow is associated with inflammation on the outer side of the elbow and forearm, whereas golfer’s elbow is associated with inflammation on the inside of the arm and elbow.
  4. In tennis elbow pain radiates to the extensor forearm, but in golfers elbow, it radiates to the flexor forearm.
  5. Tennis elbow is caused by damage to the outside tendon related to the muscles that allow your wrist to flex backward and your fingers to spread. Golfer’s elbow, on the other hand, affects the inside tendon that connects to the muscles required for flexing the wrist and contracting fingers, such as when clutching something.


Tennis elbow can be caused by golfing, and similarly, golfer’s elbow can be caused by playing tennis. These sports include comparable movements and use the same forearm muscles. Playing either sport can result in an injury. If a person plays sports, he should have a physician or professional inspect his equipment to ensure that the proper equipment is being used. The coach or expert should check the form and technique. In addition, one can consult with a coach or a physical therapist about stretches and exercises that can be done to keep the tendons healthy.


  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK519000/
  2. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0972978X1930248X
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