It is possible that you have heard of some of these two pathologies and it is more likely that you have suffered from one of them or are prone to suffer from them in the future. Here’s why.
These two pathologies affect the soft tissue of the joints and are caused by different reasons such as certain habits and lifestyles.
What are tennis elbow and golfer’s elbow?
- Tennis elbow (lateral epicondylitis): The epicondyle is the area where the forearm muscles attach to the lateral bone of the elbow. Overuse of these muscles frequently occurs in sports such as tennis, where forced extension or rotation of the wrist or hand is performed.
- Golfer’s elbow (medial epicondylitis): Golfer’s elbow is a condition similar to tennis elbow, but less common. It is due to overuse of the muscles you use to close your fists.
What are its causes?
The causes of epicondylitis are the same as those of tendonitis. They usually occur in people over 35 or 40 years of age because of:
- The overuse of a particular muscle or group of muscles that insert (attach to the bone) with their tendons in that epicondyle.
- The use of an inadequate posture or technique when performing a certain activity, which overloads a certain muscle group.
- The use of inappropriate equipment for an activity.
In this sense, it is worth mentioning two frequent scenarios in the development of these pathologies:
Certain habits, more and more frequent, based on the excessive use of the computer, the continuous bending of the elbow when talking on the phone or certain domestic and/or work tasks that involve prolonged gripping exercises, facilitate the appearance of injuries in the joints, tendons and ligaments. And it is here where the two aforementioned pathologies take on a special role. Curiously, they can be asymptomatic at the beginning and their clinical symptoms manifest themselves after some time when the main alarm mechanism has already been activated: pain.
On the other hand, the practice of sports can cause cases of lateral epicondylitis in amateur or amateur athletes who do not train correctly and do not have the proper advice.
In this sense, the increase of injuries during training and competitive activities, mainly in racket sports, is becoming more and more pressing because prevention is not considered as a fundamental element.
How to differentiate your symptoms?
The symptoms produced by epicondylitis vary according to the type:
- Lateral epicondylitis (tennis elbow): This is pain on the outside of the elbow that may extend down the forearm to the wrist. The pain may be increased by opening a door, shaking hands, or hitting the outside of the elbow. In advanced stages, the pain may appear with minimal activities (opening a door with a key, lifting a cup of coffee, etc.) and even at rest, and may make it difficult to sleep. It is caused by repeated flexion and extension movements of the wrist (not the elbow) against resistance, such as those that occur when playing tennis or other racquet sports, pulling weeds, painting, carrying suitcases or briefcases, or using a screwdriver. These movements affect the muscles of the forearm, which attach at the top to the outside of the elbow.
- Medial epicondylitis (golfer’s elbow): Consists of pain on the inside of the elbow that extends down the forearm, just opposite the tennis elbow. It is due to continuous flexion movements of the wrist against resistance, such as when performing some golf shots, throwing balls or various work activities. It is less common than lateral epicondylitis.
What is the treatment of epicondylitis?
In general, the usual treatments for acute phase are the application of local cold, anti-inflammatory, friction massage, corticosteroid injection and shock waves.
It is recommended, once the acute phase has passed, to carry out rehabilitation with strengthening and improvement of the flexibility of the local muscles. Also, in cases of persistent pain despite the above actions, surgery may be indicated.
Although the usual recurrent practice to treat this type of injury is installed in a general and widespread use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), in the post (12, new therapies for pain …) we talk about new ingredients of natural origin and / or cutting-edge mineral, such as cannabidiol. which seem to be postulated as alternatives to the use of anti-inflammatory drugs, favouring the natural recovery of the injured tissue.