As one of the most frequently used joints in the body, the elbow is particularly susceptible to injury due to the strains placed on it from repeated use. The first step to effective elbow injury treatment is to understand the elbow and the two main types of injury affecting it: tennis elbow and golfers elbow.
The elbow is the point where the main bone of the upper arm (humerus) joins the two bones of the lower arm, namely the radius on the inside and the ulna on the outside. Several of the muscles in the forearm are connected to the elbow at bony bumps on the bottom of the humerus, called epicondyles. The bony bump on the outer side is called the lateral epicondyle, while the bony bump on the inner side is called the medial epicondyle. Injuring the outside (lateral side) is known as tennis elbow (lateral epicondylitis), while hurting the inner side (medial side) is known as golfers elbow (medial epicondylitis).
Tennis Elbow (lateral epicondylitis):
The most common cause of lateral epicondylitis is when overuse or repetitive motions of the wrist and arm lead to the tendons connecting the muscles of the lower arm to the bone becoming overloaded. While the condition is common in sports, especially racquet sports and hence the name “tennis elbow”, it is also attributed to many work-related activities that involve overuse of the elbow.
Golfers Elbow (medial epicondylitis):
A form of tendonitis, medial epicondylitis is caused by damage to the muscles and tendons that control the wrist and fingers. The muscles affected by golfer’s elbow are those that flex (bend) the wrist, fingers, and thumb, and pronate (turn or hold) the wrist and forearm so that the palm faces downward. The injury occurs as a result of excess or repeated stress, especially forceful wrist and finger motions. As the name suggests, it can be caused by playing golf, but has also been attributed to other sports activities, such as pitching a baseball or serving a tennis ball, as well as non-sports-related activities, such as carrying heavy bags or using an axe.
Tennis Elbow: The diagnosis of tennis elbow typically involves a physical exam and may also include an x-ray, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or electromyography (EMG) to rule out other causes. The first step of tennis elbow treatment is to identify the action that has caused the condition so that it can be avoided in order to allow the elbow to rest. Tennis elbow pain treatment may involve ice packs to reduce inflammation and anti-inflammatory medication. The next step is tennis elbow physical therapy which includes strengthening and stretching exercises. To find out more about tennis elbow physiotherapy treatment at the Bangkok Physiotherapy Centre.
Golfers Elbow: Diagnosing tennis elbow usually requires only a physical exam. The treatment of golfers elbow starts by resting the joint, especially from the action which caused the injury. Ice packs and anti-inflammatory medication can be used to reduce inflammation, after which, physiotherapy can begin. To find out more about golfers elbow physiotherapy treatment at the Bangkok Physiotherapy Centre(<internal link to homepage).
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