Epicondylitis - 'Golfer's' and 'Tennis' Elbow

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Two Types of Epicondylitis

The epicondyles are two protrusions of bone at the elbow: one points toward the body (Medial) and the other to the outside (Lateral).

Tendons (connective tissue) attach forearm muscles to the bone at these two points.

A Note About Cubital Tunnel Syndrome:

Cubital Tunnel Syndrome, another RSI of the elbow area, occurs when the ulnar nerve is compressed by connective tissue as it passes through the cubital tunnel under the medial epicondyle.  Symptoms are experienced primarily in the hands.

In contrast, Epicondylitis symptoms occur almost exclusively in the forearm - either on the inside or outside - depending on the type.

Medial Epicondylitis - 'Golfer's Elbow'

Tendons attach the flexor muscles of the forearm to the inside bump of the upper arm bone at the elbow.

Flexor muscles are used for actions such as:  gripping, grasping, shoveling, hammering, typing and, of course, swinging a golf club.

Leaning forearms on armrests, desks or tables for extended periods of time also strain the forearm muscles.

Overuse and strain of the tendons and muscles at the elbow can cause injury.

The pain of medial epicondylitis starts at the connection point of the tendon to the bone and radiates down the inside of the forearm.

Pain may increase when bending the wrist, grasping objects or twisting your forearm downward.  Loss of grip strength may be experienced as well.

Lateral Epicondylitis - 'Tennis Elbow'

Tendons attach the extensor muscles of the forearms to the outside bump of the elbow bone.

These muscles are used when operating hand tools, painting, picking up heavy objects, carrying trays, pruning and swinging a tennis racket.

In the case of tools and loads, factors related to degree of injury include weight, frequency and duration.

Letting wrists drop below the edge of a laptop or key board while extending the rest of the hands to type will also strain the extensor muscles and their connecting tendon.

The pain of lateral epicondylitis starts at the connection point of the tendon to the bone and radiates down the outside of the forearm.  Pain might also be felt in the back of the hand.

Treatments for Epicondylitis

Anti-inflammatory medications, including injections, and rest are often used as treatments for epicondylitis.  These will provide temporary relief from symptoms.

However, it's important to address the cause of epicondylitis for permanent elimination of pain.

Stretching connective tissue regularly and gently will gradually release the tightness in the connective tissue fibers, relieving symptoms for good.

Prevention of Epicondylitis:

Prevention of epicondylitis is done in the connective tissue system.

By stretching the tissue on a regular basis, the tissue fibers around the elbow joint remain fluid and flexible.

Even when repetitive risk factors like golfing and tennis continue, maintaining the health of the connective tissue can prevent injury.

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Move by move demonstration ensures the pacing required to return connective tissue fibers to fluidity and flexibility.

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