a Tennis Elbow vs a Golfer’s Elbow: Difference and Comparison

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 non-invasive, consisting of simple workouts and over-the-counter drugs. Surgery, on the other hand, may be required in extreme circumstances.

Key Takeaways

  1. The tennis elbow affects the outer part of the elbow, while the golfer’s elbow affects the inner part.
  2. Tennis elbow results from overuse of the forearm extensor muscles, while golfer’s elbow stems from overuse of the forearm flexor muscles.
  3. Both conditions involve inflammation and pain but require different treatment approaches due to the affected muscle groups.

Tennis Elbow vs Golfer’s Elbow

The 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 vs 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 painful 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 lateral epicondyle influences the muscles that enable the wrist to be stretched backwards and the fingers to be straightened,.

Golfer’s elbow is a problematic condition caused by inflammation and microtears in the tendons that attach to the medial epicondyle, a bony projection on the inside of the elbow.

Medical specialists named Golfer’s elbow medial epicondylitis because it involves tendonitis, or “tendon inflammation,” over the medial epicondyle.

The tendons that connect to the medial epicondyle significantly impact the movement of the muscles that control wrist rotation, finger contraction, and gripping.

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Comparison Table

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,, 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 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 must not be a tennis player to get a tennis elbow. You don’t even need to be an athlete.

This condition can be caused by any repetitive gripping or grasping activity. Some examples are using a knife to cut and hand-held equipment such as a screwdriver or hammer.

 Tennis elbow can have long-term effects without proper treatment, 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, known as, Golfer’s Elbow, is irritating 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 gardening, shovelling, golf, or tennis.

It can also be caused by frequent lifting, particularly with the elbow extended and the palm facing down. Causes include racquet sports, baseball, weightlifting, woodworking, and other associated activities.

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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.

One should consult a doctor if a golfer’s elbow pain is severe or persistent. Also, until they meet with a medical professional, they must rest and take a break from their activity.

golfers elbow

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. At the same time, golfer’s 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; 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 backwards 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.
Difference Between Tennis Elbow and Golfers Elbow
  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK519000/
  2. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0972978X1930248X

Last Updated : 13 July, 2023

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8 thoughts on “a Tennis Elbow vs a Golfer’s Elbow: Difference and Comparison”

  1. The content is valuable, it provides a thorough analysis of the differences between tennis elbow and golfer’s elbow.


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