James Grigg
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Elbow pain

The elbow joint is like the "knee" of the upper limb. Sitting in-between the shoulder and wrist, it is entirely reliant on the efficiency of these joints. The most common elbow injury terms people are familiar with are "tennis elbow" and golfer's elbow". We see these conditions a lot here at the clinic and they respond extremely well with the appropriate treatment intervention. Other injuries we see include: elbow dislocations, fractures and ligament sprains.

Golfer's Elbow

Pain on the inside of the elbow is often classified as "Golfers elbow". A true Golfer's elbow is a tendon injury that has occurred due to repeated trauma. Repeated movements can cause damage to the tendons that attach to the inside of the elbow joint. If it continues, then eventually the tendon breaks down and can then be classified as a "tendinopathy". The condition involves the same pathology as tennis elbow, however, tennis elbow is the term given to tendon that attaches to the outside of the elbow.

You don’t have to play golf to experience a Golfer's elbow injury. In fact it is more likely to happen in people who do repetitive movements such as computer typing, mouse work or repeated tasks such as painting and decorating.

Treatment will focus on helping heal the damaged tissues. This may be through the use of joint mobilisations, soft tissue massage, electrotherapeutic modalities and strengthening. Taping can also be of benefit as well.

Now, the reason why the injury may have occurred in the first place may simply be due to an excessive increase in golf participation without appropriate rest in between sessions. However, a person who has played golf for years, and is quite used to the stresses placed upon the tendon, may have developed the problem due to a restriction in movement at the hand or shoulder joint. This is in turn maybe asking too much of the tendons every time they hit the ball.

In some cases, there maybe nothing wrong with the elbow joint at all, and the symptoms may be a "referred" pain from a trapped nerve within the neck.

As always, in order to fully resolve a problem you need to fully understand it. A thorough assessment will reveal why the problem is happening, allowing treatment to focus on where the problem is.


Tennis Elbow

Pain on the outside of the elbow joint is often classified as “tennis elbow” or “DIY elbow”. These terms are very generalised terms for several possibilities. The term “tennis elbow” usually refers to damage of the forearm muscles and tendons that attach to the outside of the elbow joint. The technical term, just like in Golfers elbow, is a tendinopathy.

Pain is usually experienced with gripping activities, movement of the elbow or sports such as tennis or badminton. It is important to remember that anyone can suffer from an elbow tendinopathy, not just people who play tennis. In the same manner as "golfer's elbow", “tennis elbow” is more common in people who do not play tennis. It usually results from repetitive trauma for example: painting, computer work or sporting activity.

Treatment will usually focus on the damaged tissue and factors that are contributing to the pain. It is not a condition that responds well with rest, painkillers or injections as the pre-disposing factors have not been addressed.

Just like in Golfer's elbow, the cause of the pain maybe due to a restriction in movement at the hand or shoulder joint. It may also be due to a trapped nerve in the neck. A thorough assessment will guide where treatment will be most effective.

Elbow pain all gone, very pleased
— Joe Bloggs | Administrator