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Author Emilie Dupre

by Emily Dupre | 24 February 2017

If you've ever suffered from either Tennis Elbow or Golfer's Elbow before, you know just how painful they can be.

The amount of pain caused from having one of these conditions can really hurt your productivity in life. It makes it a lot tougher to get through even light office work such as typing up emails.


You might be wondering what the difference between golfers elbow and tennis elbow are?

The truth is that there is very little difference between the two except for in the location of the affected area. With both afflictions you are going to have pain in your elbow of course.

Whether you have Tennis Elbow or Golfer's Elbow depends on the area of the elbow that has inflammation.

Tennis Elbow and Golfer's Elbow can both be categorized as a form of epicondylitis. This is an inflammation of tendons that are attached to your elbow. With Tennis Elbow the area being affected is the lateral (outside) regions of the elbow. Golfer's Elbow then affects the medial (inside) areas.

Generally, neither Tennis Elbow or Golfer's Elbow are considered serious conditions. Even still, it is very important to seek medical attention when experiencing symptoms of pain.

Left untreated, both Tennis Elbow and Golfer's Elbow can worsen and become more severe, causing more pain and gradually weakening your wrists or forearms.

Read on below to get more information on some of the finer differences between the two as well as causes and information on treatment.

Tennis Elbow

Tennis Elbow is technically referred to as lateral epicondylitis in the medical community.

The groups most commonly affected by this condition are adults between the ages of 30 and 50 years old.

Tennis Elbow is an injury that occurs due to muscle strain that causes inflammation to the outside of the elbow and potentially into the forearm.

The injuries that cause the inflammation are generally repetitive uses of your forehand and backhand. Knowing this you can see why it is commonly referred to as Tennis Elbow.

Many people who have never played one set of tennis still wind up having problems with Tennis Elbow.

Repetitive motions using the forehand and backhand are also common among cooks, painters, carpenters and plumbers. The repetitive nature of certain tasks cause your muscles to become overworked which leads to inflammation.

Even simple around the house chores such as gardening, raking, or chopping wood can cause Tennis Elbow.

difference between golfers elbow and tennis elbow

Common Symptoms

When you have Tennis Elbow, you may feel pain coming from the outside of your elbow and going down towards your forearm and wrist.

Some report feeling a constant ache around their elbow.

Others only have problems when lifting something or trying to grab and hold onto an object.

Always remember that it is important to go see your physician to get a proper diagnosis and treatment plan to alleviate your pain.

Golfer's Elbow

The technical name for Golfer's Elbow in the medical community is medial epicondylitis. This is an irritation that happens on the inner side of the arm and elbow.

difference between golfers elbow and tennis elbow

Like Tennis Elbow, this is also caused by repetitive motion. The difference is that the motions that cause pain and inflammation in this case are twisting and flexing motions with your wrists.

Any sort of activity where you repetitively have to bend your wrist in a particular way could be a potential cause of Golfer's Elbow. This causes an overuse of your forearm muscles which leads to irritation and eventual inflammation.

Good examples of tasks that can cause this problem are shoveling, gardening, and repeated lifting.

Many sports also lead to problems with Golfer's Elbow. Golf, baseball, weightlifting, and any sport where you use a racquet are good examples.

difference between golfers elbow and tennis elbow

Common Symptoms

Typically, patients suffering from Golfer's Elbow experience pain on the inside of their elbow when lifting their wrist or hand.

There also may be pain when trying to make a fist or when trying to twist your forearm. Some patients report suffering from swelling.

The swelling might be visible and it's possible that the affected area could be sensitive to touch.

When Golfer's Elbow has been a persistent problem for a long time other symptoms can include weak wrists and hands.

You also might feel that your elbow has become stiff. Remember to go see your doctor when you first start experiencing problems to keep the condition from worsening.


The treatments for Tennis Elbow and Golfer's Elbow are very similar and simplistic luckily.

The first thing you need to do is give your wrist and elbow a long rest. Avoid the tasks that caused you to have these problems in the first place and make it a point to take it easy.

difference between golfers elbow and tennis elbow

Sometimes rest is enough to rid yourself of the problem. If you're experiencing any painful swelling use ice to help it to go down. This will also help you to manage pain. It is also recommend to responsibly take anti-inflammatory medications such as Ibuprofen.

It is very important that you go to see your doctor. Your doctor will be able to examine you and give you a proper treatment plan to make sure you recover quickly and safely. It is possible that your doctor might want to give you a cortisone shot or prescribe you a brace to help alleviate pain and protect your elbow.

best tennis elbow brace

Some patients wind up being recommended for therapy sessions to strengthen muscles and help to manage pain.


Both Tennis Elbow and Golfer's Elbow can be incredibly painful experiences, but they are treatable.

The differences between the two may only come down to the location of inflammation, but knowing about what causes both can help you to avoid problems in the future.

If you suffer from one of these conditions know that you can get better with the proper treatment plan and rest. Go see your doctor and talk about the right course of action to take.

Everybody is different. Some might respond well to rest and other patients may need more treatment to get back to normalcy.

Either way the first step to getting better is understanding what your problems are and learning to better avoid what brought on your symptoms in the first place.

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