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With the weather getting warmer, and people beginning to return to summer-time activities, overuse injuries tend to appear. Repetitive strains are a common result of many recreational activities, two of the most popular being Tennis Elbow and Golfer’s Elbow. However, many people confuse these two painful disorders.
Golfer’s Elbow, also known as Medial Epicondylitis, affects the forearm muscles that attach from the wrist and to the “funny bone” area of the elbow, near the inner part of the elbow. This is where you may feel pain or tenderness. The discomfort and irritation is caused by activities that involve repetitive wrist flexion or twisting the palm downwards.
Golfer’s elbow is not limited to those who play golf. It can be found amongst players of many activities, such as: racquet sports, throwing sports, weight training, and even those in occupations of heavy labour.
Tennis Elbow, also known as Lateral Epicondylitis, affects the muscles and tendons of your forearm, which extend to your wrist and fingers. You may feel pain and tenderness on the outer part of your elbow. Similar to Golfer’s elbow, it may develop gradually, with mild pain, which can get worse over time. It is not exclusive to tennis either, but can be a result of repetitive activities such as: certain racquet sports, manual labour, using tools in turning motions, and even knitters/crocheters.
Essentially, both conditions can be caused by a number of activities, whether you engage in recreational activities, or not.
One of the best treatments for either condition is to modify the activities causing pain. This may mean reducing the repetition or duration of the activities causing the issue. Physiotherapists most commonly recommend taking a break and icing the affected area, as well as using a compression or stability brace.
Consider this example for how the braces work: Imagine you are trying to brush out a knot in your hair (for those of us with hair past our ears). Trying to brush this knot out may be painful, as it catches the brush, and pulls on our scalp. By holding the hair just before the knot, and limiting the pulling on the scalp, we can brush the knot out without causing significant pain. This is how these braces work: allowing the tendon to heal while limiting the pulling action on that inflamed area.
The elbow braces pictured above, provide relief from pain associated with Tennis and Golfer’s elbow. A soft pad applies specific pressure near the tendon insertion point, at the elbow joint. They are lightweight and can easily be worn during activity.
Another option for helping to heal damaged tendons comes in the form of an elbow compression sleeve. Both are great at stabilizing the joint, by providing cushioning at the elbow, and incorporating compression to reduce swelling in the area.
If you’re affected by any of these conditions, don’t forget to consult your physiotherapist or healthcare practitioner for more information on how to alleviate the pain and swelling. Together, a brace and the right exercises may be your best bet to overcoming Tennis or Golfer’s Elbow.
For more information regarding any of these, or other braces, call us at 1-888-300-0063 to speak to someone from our Kinesiology team, or contact us