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Lateral Epicondylitis (Tennis Elbow)

Otherwise known as ‘Tennis Elbow’, lateral epicondylitis describes the inflammation on the tendons that connect the muscles of your lower arm to a bony prominence on the outside of the elbow called the lateral epicondyle. Damage occurs due to repetitive overuse of the tendons that places them under more stress than they can normally handle which causes micro-tears to the tendon, much like a rope that slowly frays with excessive use. The main contributing movements aren’t limited to tennis but any activities involving gripping and extending your wrist backwards that increase stress on the musculature of the arm. These activities can range from racket sports and weightlifting to painting and knitting where there is a repetitive extension grip on an object. Symptoms include pain and swelling at the elbow that can radiate down the arm and generally there is no pain at rest, only on movement. It is important for treatment that this be differentiated from medial epicondylitis.

Medial Epicondylitis (Golfers Elbow)

In contrast to tennis elbow that affects the tendons on the outside of the elbow, golfers elbow (medial epicondylitis) affects the tendons on the inside of your elbow that insert into a bony bump called the medial epicondyle. Because the musculature affected works to control flexion of your wrist and fingers, causes are often associated with activities that put strain on hand movements ranging from golf, racket and ball sports that require repetitive flexion and gripping to painting and using tools. The pain and swelling presents on the inside of the elbow which may radiate down the arm and can be exacerbated by movements that require squeezing, gripping, rotating your arm and flexing your wrist. Pain may also be felt when stretching and extending the arm. It is important to differential this from chronic golfer’s elbow which involves degenerative changes to the musculature.