Research Centre

Golfer's Elbow and Tennis Elbow

Tendinitis, whether from tennis or golf is a fairly common condition. Its prevalence increases with age due to our tendons becoming less flexible. Incidence is higher in athletes for obvious reasons, with Golfer's Elbow being more common in men.

Tennis Elbow and Golfer's Elbow are not illnesses exclusive to tennis players and golfers but rather a muscle inflammation in the elbow area. Tennis elbow, which is also known as lateral epicondylitis, is an inflammation of the lateral epicondyle bone on the outer side of the elbow. This area of the elbow becomes painful due to a tear or damage in the tendons and muscles outside of the elbow area.

Golfer's elbow, on the other hand, is similar but occurs inside the elbow which is a bone known as medial epicondyle. Golfer's elbow also known as medial epicondylitis is caused by damage in the muscles in the area.

Tennis elbow and Golfer's elbow are conditions that develop due to muscle overuse that leads to inflammation. Activities that involve repetitive muscle movements such as; pitching, hammering, or painting can strain the muscles in the elbow area and may lead to tennis or golfer's elbow.

Conventional treatments for tennis elbow and golfer's elbow usually involves physiotherapy and anti-inflammatory drug medications. However, a mild dose of steroid injected into the inflamed muscle may also be administered. According to a Greek study, blood injections, especially of platelet-rich blood, into the affected area, has shown to help relieve the pain associated with "tennis elbow".

Acupuncture is slowly developing its niche as an alternative treatment for tennis elbow and golfer's elbow. Moxibustion and acupuncture treatments are used to alleviate the hyper-tonicity of extensor muscles.

Acupuncture can be a very effective treatment for tendinitis, either as an adjunct to standard Western treatments or on its own. According to Chinese medical theory, acupuncture works because humans have a natural flow of energy throughout the body.( Actually, every cell in the body produces this energy). The Chinese believe that it flows through a series of pathways. When that energy becomes blocked in one or more of the pathways, the energy becomes like a dam in a river. There is too much pressure on one side of the dam, and a restriction of flow on the other. This "energy dam" in the body can produce a variety of symptoms; the most common being pain.

By inserting very fine, sterile acupuncture needles into specific points on the body, an acupuncturist can break up these blockages that restrict the flow of energy. By stimulating these points, the energy can move smoothly, enabling the body to heal itself.

Beyond acupuncture, a practitioner of Chinese medicine might also use heat, herbs or a kind of bodywork called Tui Na to treat Tennis Elbow

Preventative measures also need to be implemented so there won't be any future occurrences. The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons suggests how to prevent the pain of tennis elbow and golfer's elbow:

  • Take a break from activities that caused the condition for a few days, resting your elbow as much as possible.
  • Consider physical therapy to strengthen muscles in your forearm.
  • Wear a protective arm brace during activities that led to the condition
  • be sure to warm up your elbow first

At ACATCM, we are committed to providing results-driven premier quality care to our patients. To discuss your health and wellness needs, contact our College Clinic at: 403-286-8788.


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