Common Types of Elbow Pain in Sports and Work

Common Types of Elbow Pain in Sports and Work

Elbow pain is a common condition that affects many individuals at some point during their lives.  There are multiple structures and causes of elbow pain.  Medial and lateral epicondylitis are two of the most commonly experienced causes of elbow pain.

Lateral epicondylitis refers to the pain and inflammation of the muscles that attach on the outside, or lateral, portion of the elbow that help to extend the wrist and fingers.  Lateral epicondylitis is also referred to as tennis elbow due to tennis players being a popular population in which this condition occurs.  Repetitive striking a tennis ball with a backhand swing in tennis or repetitive lifting of objects with a palm down technique are common causes of lateral epicondylitis.

Medial epicondylitis refers to the pain and inflammation of the muscles that attach on the inside, or medial, portion of the elbow that help to flex the wrist and fingers.  Medial epicondylitis is also referred to as golfers’ elbow, climbers’ elbow, or little league elbow.  Activities that involve repetitive grasping with the hands can lead to the onset of medial epicondylitis.  Individuals participating in sports such as baseball, weight lifting, and golf and occupations such as painters, hair stylists, butchers, and assembly line workers most often experience medial epicondylitis.

Epicondylitis is treated conservatively with rest, modification of activity that has led to the condition including a workplace ergonomics assessment, icing, stretching, bracing, and anti-inflammatory medications.  Physical Therapy is helpful to promote proper healing by address muscle imbalances, soft tissue restrictions, and body mechanics.  Steroid injections and surgery may sometimes be considered.

I make sure I tell my athletes and work clients that the sooner epicondylitis symptoms are addressed, the quicker and easier it is to return to full, pain-free activity.  So don’t ignore your symptoms!  The Physical Therapists at Physical Therapy Consultants can help set you on the right path!

Dustin Eslinger, MA, ATC
Athletic Trainer
Physical Therapy Consultants, Inc.

May 12th, 2016

Posted In: General

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