February 28, 2023

Understanding Common Causes of Elbow Pain in Golf and Tennis Players

Understanding Common Causes of Elbow Pain in Golf and Tennis Players

Do you know 50% of tennis players suffer from tennis elbow during their career? The elbow pain in golf and tennis players is usually caused due to the strain in the elbow tendons through repeated movements. Tennis, much similar to golf, requires repetitive movement of forearm muscles.

Not only tennis and golf but any task that requires rigorous movement can result in elbow pain. This can also trouble people who play violin/guitar for long hours, javelin players, squash players, and others involved in similar activities.

What is epicondylitis?

playing tennis waiting tennis ball

The term for elbow pain in golf and tennis players is known as ‘epicondylitis.’ But why is it called the same? So, if you look at the image below, you can see the skeletal structure of the left elbow.

Image: https://meded.ucsd.edu/clinicalmed/assets/img/upper_elbow_bones.jpg

Source: medeu.ucsd.edu

The elbow is the part where the forearm and the upper arm join. The forearm is termed as the ulna, and the upper arm bone is called the humerus. On either side of the humerus are two protruding bones, the lateral epicondyle, and medial epicondyle.

Any inflammation or irritation caused to the tendons and muscles attached to this epicondyle is termed epicondylitis.

What is tennis elbow?

Handsome man on tennis court. Young tennis player. Pain in the elbow


Any elbow pain arising from the lateral epicondyle or outside the elbow is lateral epicondyle or the tennis elbow. It’s not usually an inflammation, but a chronic condition wherein tendons are injured, micro ruptured, or have collagen deposits.

The situation arises when the muscles around this area are overworked and weakened.

Some of the common tennis elbow pain causes are:

  • The main cause is the repeated overuse of the arm movement required while playing tennis.
  • Playing unnatural and improper tennis strokes also adds to the condition.
  • A strong tennis stroke that is sudden and forceful also causes the tendons to overstretch and cause the tennis elbow.

Diagnosis of tennis elbow


Tennis elbow is diagnosed when someone is experiencing pain arising from the outer elbow or when you bend your hand. Grasping or lifting items also becomes painful.

How is tennis elbow treated?

Any injury caused by the overuse of muscles can be corrected through proper chiropractic care.

You might not need to take medicines (unless necessary) as chiropractic sports medicine in Austin works wonders on the tennis elbow. The suffering of sports personalities is often overlooked. They are usually able to bear any mild pain resulting from their injuries.

However, some problems related to muscles and tendons can be completely healed through a chiropractic sports medicine known as the Active Release Technique (ART). ART is known for correcting the tennis elbow permanently.

Several studies have also been performed on the efficacy of chiropractic treatment of lateral epicondylitis using ART, and ART has proved to help reduce the pain within three weeks.

One such study quotes, “Treatment consisted of 5 sessions of ART (a soft tissue technique that is applied to muscles, fascia, tendons, ligaments, and nerves) applied to the left elbow soft tissue over a duration of 3 weeks. The patient reported an absence of pain and ability to consistently play 18 consecutive holes of golf up to 3 times per week at 4 and 8 weeks post-treatment.”

What is golf elbow?

Smiling african american man in cap and sunglasses playing golf

If the elbow pain arises from the elbow’s inner side, particularly the medial epicondyle, it is termed a golf elbow.

Golf elbow is caused more due to repetitive tight gripping of the hand and wrist turning. The pain in golf’s elbow feels as if it is radiating to the whole arm. Unlike tennis elbow, you may become incapable of holding or gripping things in golf elbow. This is because golf elbow damages the muscles and tendons connected to the fingers and wrists.

Common golf elbow pain causes:

  • The main cause of golf elbow is sudden overuse of the forearm.
  • It’s said that golf elbow has nothing to do with the game but is caused due to incorrect use of muscles. Any wear and tear to the tendons on the inside of the elbow. It is even found that golfers are more vulnerable to tennis elbow than golf elbow itself.
  • It can be caused due to weight training. An incorrect lifting technique can overload the tendons and muscles, causing golf’s elbow.
  • Throwing sports like javelin, baseball, and archery can also cause golf elbow.

Diagnosis of golf elbow

Golfer elbow pain during the game, muscle injury concept.

Golf elbow can be diagnosed when someone experiences excruciating pain in the inner elbow.

How is golf elbow treated?

There is minimal research conducted on golf elbow as compared to tennis elbow. However, the treatment for both elbow pain resulting from tennis elbow and golf elbow is the same because both are caused by the tearing of tendons and muscles (only the impact of pain differs).

Golf elbow is also less common than tennis elbow. A study says not even 1% (0.4%) of the population is affected by golf elbow.

Nonetheless, golf elbow can be eradicated with proper chiropractor sports medicine services like ART or the Active Release Technique. In ART, the chiropractor uses massage movement to release the tension around the tendons and muscles. To learn more about the treatment of elbow pain through chiropractic care, contact us today.

Dr. Matt Lowe

Dr. Matt Lowe’s extensive knowledge of the human body, combined with his experience as a world-class athlete, allows him to provide his patients with the most advanced and integrative approach to treating injuries and improving sports performance. Throughout his chiropractic career, he has treated active individuals as well as professional athletes from the NFL, NBA, PGA, NCAA and the U.S. Olympic Team.

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