• Lucy Adie, Osteopath

OsteoBlog: Tennis or Golf?

Tennis Elbow –

The group of muscles in your forearm that bend you wrist back (extension), are all attached on the outside edge of the elbow just above the crease.

Being attached all in the same place is a bit of a design fault as if we over use the elbow, wrist or fingers, that attachment point gets really rather unhappy and inflamed. This can cause varying degrees of disability from mild ache to being unable to straighten the arm.

You will not be surprised to learn that the term ‘tennis elbow’ comes from the fact that it is an injury suffered by tennis players, usually as a result of over-gripping the racket and a forceful backhand where the wrist is extended and the arm straight. The problem can also stem from a knock to the elbow or from repetitive strain as well as throwing sports and cyclists.

The fancy term is lateral epicondylitis or inflammation of the knobbly bit on the outside edge of the upper arm bone. See diagram for precise anatomy.

Golfers Elbow –

In contrast to tennis elbow, golfers elbow is a problem with the flexor group of muscles in the forearm and where they attach at the opposite side of the elbow on the inside.

Again, the knobbly bit or medial epicondyle becomes unhappy and inflamed and can develop from over flexion of the wrist and from over-gripping of something like a golf club during the swing phase. Tennis players and throwers can also be affected as well as people who have fallen on or knocked the elbow.

Both groups of muscles may have some micro-tears in them too and become swollen, red and hot to touch.

So what now?

Well, these conditions are quite easy to treat if caught early, but tend to become chronic if not adequately managed.

The main object of treatment is to reduce tension over the attachment point and release the tight muscles.

  • We stretch, ice, use anti inflammatory rubs and rest.

  • Acupuncture is usually a very effective treatment modality in my experience but sometimes it just will not budge.

  • The big guns of medicine may then be needed such as steroid injection or platelet rich plasma infusions.

  • We can tape the forearm and elbow and the use of straps around the muscles can be helpful.

If you think you may be suffering from either of these conditions or elbow pain in general, please get in touch with your osteopath who can examine and begin treatment sooner rather than later.

For osteopathy in High Wycombe and beyond call Lucy or Ebony from Osteofusion on 07548 912161 or email

Thanks for reading..


#tenniselbow #golferselbow #medialepicondylitis #lateralepicondylitis



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