Causes of Elbow Pain: Golfer’s Elbow vs. Tennis Elbow

man holding his hand sore elbow Do you remember a time when you could do your favorite activities without pain? Remember when your favorite sports, say, golf and tennis, were fun and pain-free?

Never let the fear of pain keep you from playing the game. This statement might pertain to you if you are suffering from elbow pain caused by Golfer’s Elbow or  or Tennis Elbow.. Both of these are forms of elbow tendonitis but differ on the location of the damage to the tendon.  When suffering from Tennis Elbow, the tendons on the outside of the elbow are affected, while damage to the tendons on the inside cause Golfer’s Elbow.


Golfer’s Elbow

This elbow injury is less common of the two. Golfer’s Elbow  causes elbow pain where the tendons of the forearm attach to the bony bump on the inside of the elbow. It’s possible for the pain to spread down the forearm and to the wrist because it is caused by damage done to the tendons that control the movements of the wrist and fingers.


  • Tenderness on the inside of the elbow
  • Numbness or tingling—this can spread all the way down to the fingers
  • Stiffness—this occurs in the elbow region and can make it difficult to make a fist with your hand
  • Weakness in the hands or wrist
  • Pain—it can occur gradually or suddenly and stop you from completing everyday tasks, such as turning a doorknob, flexing your wrist,lifting weight, shaking hands, throwing a ball, or swinging a golf club


The most pertinent cause is from playing golfby gripping or swinging the club inaccurately or too vigorously. Other causes include:

  • Sports that require throwing like softball, baseball, football, archery, or javelin
  • Excess and repeated stress that uses strong wrist and finger motions
  • Weight training and using incorrect form
  • Activities that require consistent bending and straightening of the elbow, such as hammering, using a computer, painting, raking, chopping wood, or strenuous yard work

All the activities that cause Golfer’s Elbow need to be performed more than an hour a day to become a problem.



Tennis Elbow

Tennis Elbow occurs where the tendons of the forearm muscles attach to the bony bump on the outside of the elbow. Much like Golfer’s Elbow, pain can spread down the forearm and to the wrist. Despite given the name,Tennis Elbow, most cases materialize in patients who do not even play tennis.


  • Tenderness on the outside of the elbow
  • Weakness when doing activities with your hands
  • Pain in the lower and upper arm
  • Most pain is caused when opening a door, shaking hands, raising your hand, straightening your wrist, making a fist or gripping an object, or lifting objects


As stated above, most patients diagnosed with Tennis Elbow are not avid tennis players. Most commonly they are painters, butchers, plumbers, and carpenters. Other sports and activities include:

  • Typing
  • Raking
  • Knitting
  • Racquetball
  • Squash
  • Fencing
  • Weight Lifting

All of these activities require repetitive arm movements or gripping, which are the leading causes of Tennis Elbow. The damage occurs by putting a strain on the muscles and stress on the tendons. This will eventually lead to microscopic tears in the tissue.


Getting back to playing Tennis or Golf after an elbow injury is easier than you may think it is! At Fusion Rehabilitation we have all the tools to get your elbow pain under control and your swing and serve perfect again.
Contact Fusion to schedule an appointment today!

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