Golfers Elbow vs Tennis Elbow

By Golf Fitness MagazineJuly 5, 2008, 4:00 pm

As a Physical Therapist, I see many patients who complain of elbow pain. Elbow pain is very common and leads to lost time working and playing sports. I have had an increase in patients that I have treated recently who seek my help due to either tennis elbow or golfers elbow. Ironically, only a small percentage of these patients actually play tennis or golf.


Overuse Injuries
Tennis and golfers elbow are often overuse injuries. Overuse injuries are the cumulative effect of many tiny injuries caused by stress or strain on body tissue. It can occur suddenly but often develops slowly over time. Every time we use our bodies we create these microscopic injuries or tears in the muscles, tendons (connect muscles to bones), ligaments (connect bones to bones), and even in the bones. Our bodies become stronger by responding to these microscopic injuries by building stronger muscles, tendons, ligaments, and bones. This is what happens each time we exercise. Overuse injuries occur when we exceed our bodys ability to rebuild tissue as fast as we are damaging it. This causes inflammation and can limit our bodys ability to heal itself. Over time this can become chronic and limit strength and range of motion. It can also be very painful. Overuse injuries are common where anyone motion is repeated such as running, tennis, using a computer keyboard, or lifting something overhead.
Tennis and Golfers Elbow
By definition, tennis or golfers elbow is an inflammation of the tendons where they attach to the bony areas on the elbow. Tennis elbow, which is actually called lateral epicondylitis, affects the tendons on the outside of the elbow. The opposite of this is golfers elbow, which is called medial epicondylitis and affects the tendons on the inside of the elbow. Often times any elbow pain is called tennis elbow simply due to popularity of the term. Tennis and golfers elbow are actually misnomers as there are many causes and activities related to medial and lateral epicondylitis.
As the muscles of the forearm work to move the wrist and hand, they contract and pull or tug on the bony areas on the inside or outside of the elbow. Repeated pulling on these muscles causes these microscopic tears in the muscles and tendons. If we injure the tissue faster than our bodies can repair it, the result is pain, tenderness, inflammation, decreased strength, and decreased range of motion at the elbow and wrist. It may be difficult to fully bend or straighten the elbow, to turn the forearm (as in turning a key in a door or the ignition), type, or grip items (raising a cup of coffee or pulling a door open).
True tennis elbow is often caused by in improper grip, repeated use of a backhand swing, faulty swing mechanics, arm weakness, poor warm-up or cool-down, or any combination of these. The muscles that attach to the outside of the elbow draw the wrist backwards so any other activity that mimics that motion may also contribute to elbow pain. Golfers elbow, on the other hand, affects the muscles on the inside of the elbow. These muscles work to draw the wrist forward and with gripping or making a fist. Golfers elbow, similar to tennis elbow, can be caused by faulty swing mechanics, tight or improper club grip, increased wrist action during the golf swing or any other action that causes the wrist to be flexed forward or a tightened fist position.
Other Causes
There are many other causes of elbow pain. Tennis or golfers elbow can easily be caused by non-sport activities. Repeated use of a keyboard, especially with poor computer set-up, is one of the most common non-sport-related causes of tennis elbow. Repeated gripping activities such as using a screwdriver or hammer also frequently cause elbow pain due to the strain on the muscles of the wrist and elbow. This commonly occurs both with people who perform this motion for a living such as painters as well as weekend do-it-yourselfers.
Elbow pain can also be caused by many other factors not directly related to the elbow. Often times as Physical Therapists, we look beyond the elbow and wrist at the neck, shoulder, and posture as potential sources of contributors to elbow pain. Degeneration in the neck leading to pressure on the nerves going into the arm, poor rotator cuff strength, and a slouched posture are examples of other causes that may mimic tennis or golfers elbow.
If you have elbow pain, there are things that you can do to treat it. The sooner you treat the elbow pain you are more likely to have better and quicker results.
The first step is to rest the arm. Stop doing the activity that you think is most bothering your elbow. If that is impossible (such a professional athlete in season or someone who uses the computer keyboard at work) try to modify or change the activity so it places less stress on the elbow.
The second step is to ice the area that hurts. You can either use a gel ice pack or rub ice cubes on the painful area. Use the ice for 10-15 minutes several times per day. Also, you may want to take over-the-counter pain reliever or anti-inflammatory such as Advil, Motrin, or Aleve. Please consult your health care professional before starting any medications.
Also, compression wraps for the elbow are available at drugstores and may help distribute the load on the elbow.
If these options are not helpful, consult your physician, physical or occupational therapist. Your physician may prescribe medications or recommend a cortisone injection. Your physical or occupational therapist will show you specific stretches and strengthening exercises as well as examine you for other potential causes from the neck, shoulder, or wrist.
Long-Term Success
The most important factor in long-term success in reducing or preventing elbow pain is to address the factor that originally placed too much stress on the elbow. If you are a golfer, consult your coach on the mechanics of your swing and the equipment that you are using. If you are experiencing elbow pain related to your job or daily activities, a physical or occupational therapist will look at the ergonomics to ensure the optimal set up.
NOTE: Erin Hurley Booker, MPT, is a GFM Advisory Team Member and Clinic Director for Physiotherapy Associates, in Ocoee, Florida. For further information on Erin, log onto the Golf Fitness Magazine website at
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Rose wins; Aphibarnrat earns Masters bid in Indonesia

By Will GrayDecember 17, 2017, 1:59 pm

Justin Rose continued his recent run of dominance in Indonesia, while Kiradech Aphibarnrat snagged a Masters invite with some 72nd-hole dramatics.

Rose cruised to an eight-shot victory at the Indonesian Masters, carding bookend rounds of 10-under 62 that featured a brief run at a 59 during the final round. The Englishman was the highest-ranked player in the field and he led wire-to-wire, with Thailand's Phachara Khongwatmai finishing second.

Rose closes out the year as perhaps the hottest player in the world, with top-10 finishes in each of his final 10 worldwide starts. That stretch includes three victories, as Rose also won the WGC-HSBC Champions and Turkish Airlines Open. He hasn't finished outside the top 10 in a tournament since missing the cut at the PGA Championship.

Meanwhile, it took until the final hole of the final tournament of 2017 for Aphibarnrat to secure a return to the Masters. The Thai entered the week ranked No. 56 in the world, with the top 50 in the year-end world rankings earning invites to Augusta National. Needing an eagle on the 72nd hole, Aphibarnrat got just that to snag solo fifth place.

It means that he is projected to end the year ranked No. 49, while Japan's Yusaku Miyazato - who started the week ranked No. 58 and finished alone in fourth - is projected to finish No. 50. Aphibarnrat finished T-15 in his Masters debut in 2016, while Miyazato will make his first appearance in the spring.

The results in Indonesia mean that American Peter Uihlein and South Africa's Dylan Frittelli are projected to barely miss the year-end, top-50 cutoff. Their options for Masters qualification will include winning a full-point PGA Tour event in early 2018 or cracking the top 50 by the final March 25 cutoff.

Cabreras take 1-shot lead in Father/Son

By Associated PressDecember 16, 2017, 11:23 pm

ORLANDO, Fla. - Two-time major champion Angel Cabrera and Angel Cabrera Jr. birdied their last three holes for a 13-under 59 to take a one-shot lead Saturday in the PNC Father-Son Challenge.

Cabrera, a Masters and U.S. Open champion, is making his debut in this popular 36-hole scramble. His son said he practiced hard for 10 days. What helped put him at ease was watching his father make so many putts.

''We combined very well,'' Cabrera said. ''When I hit a bad shot, he hit a good one. That's the key.''

They had a one-shot lead over Mark O'Meara and Shaun O'Meara, who are playing for the first time. That included a birdie on the last hole, which O'Meara attributed to the strength of his son.

''My little man hit it 58 yards by me on the 18th,'' said O'Meara, the Masters and British Open champion in 1998. ''It's a little easier coming in with a 6-iron.''

Defending champions David Duval and Nick Karavites rallied over the back nine at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Club for a 61. They are trying to become the first father-son team to repeat as winners since Bernhard and Stefan Langer in 2006. Larry Nelson won two years in a row in 2007 and 2008, but with different sons.

''I'd imagine we have to break 60 tomorrow to have a chance to win, but hey, stranger things have happened,'' Duval said. ''I've even done it myself.''

Duval shot 59 at the Bob Hope Classic to win in 1999 on his way to reaching No. 1 in the world that year.

Duval and his stepson were tied with Bernhard Langer and 17-year-old Jason Langer, who made two eagles on the last five holes. This Langer tandem won in 2014.

Jack Nicklaus, playing with grandson G.T., opened with a 68.

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Woods' 2018 schedule coming into focus ... or is it?

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 16, 2017, 5:46 pm

Two weeks after his successful return to competition at the Hero World Challenge, Tiger Woods’ 2018 schedule may be coming into focus.

Golfweek reported on Saturday that Woods hopes to play the Genesis Open in February according to an unidentified source with “direct knowledge of the situation.”

Woods’ agent Mark Steinberg declined to confirm the 14-time major champion would play the event and told that Woods – who underwent fusion surgery to his lower back in April – is still formulating his ’18 schedule.

Woods’ foundation is the host organization for the Genesis Open and the event supports the Tiger Woods Learning Center in Anaheim, Calif.

The Genesis Open would be Woods’ first start on the PGA Tour since he missed the cut last January at the Farmers Insurance Open.

Rose weathering delayed Indonesian Masters

By Associated PressDecember 16, 2017, 3:52 pm

JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose held a three-stroke lead after eight holes of the third round Saturday when play was suspended for the day due to bad weather at the Indonesian Masters.

Rose was 3-under on the day and led his playing partners Kiradech Aphibarnrat and Scott Vincent. The Englishman led both players by a stroke after the second round was completed Saturday morning due to weather delays on Friday.

Brandt Snedeker withdrew with apparent heat exhaustion on Friday on the 11th hole of the second round. Ranked 51st in the world, he flew to Jakarta looking to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters.