Golfer’s/Tennis Elbow

Lateral/Medial Epicondylitis

At its most simple form, the elbow itself can be the pain generator. If you notice that you have pain on the outside of your elbow, that is commonly over-diagnosed as tennis elbow or lateral epicondylitis.

Your lateral epicondyle is where all the muscles/tendons that extend your wrist and hand originate.

If you have pain on the inside part of your elbow, that is commonly referred to as golfer’s elbow or medial epicondylitis. Your medial condyle is where all the muscles/tendons that flex your wrist and hand originate.

Even if you don’t golf or play tennis, these are easily irritated areas that can turn from acute pain to a chronic overuse injury very commonly if not treated appropriately.

WHY you’re experiencing pain here is another issue. Your body often times tries to make up for lost ranges of motion with trying to increase ranges elsewhere as compensation, like your elbow, and instead, it just ends up putting excessive strain on tissues that can’t tolerate it; thus, maybe you get elbow pain without shoulder pain, even though the shoulder is the root of the problem.

Disruptions in the kinetic chain, i.e. shoulder and wrist, both have the ability to disguise themselves as elbow pain.

Women who are very flexible also commonly have issues with elbow pain due to having so much range of motion that they can’t control it well. This produces instability and causes the muscles/tendons to bear more weight than they can handle or leaves them susceptible to being overstretched/injured.

Elbow pain

Common Issues We Treat

  • Pain with pitching
  • Golfer’s elbow/ Medial Epicondylitis
  • Tennis elbow/ Lateral Epicondylitis
  • Elbow pain with wrist movements
  • Hyperflexible elbows
  • Pain with lifting
  • Overuse injury
  • Strain/sprain

Another alternative that needs to be considered: all the muscles that attach around the elbow, plus sensation to the surrounding tissues are controlled by nerves that originate out of the neck. So it is also not uncommon to have elbow pain actually be the product of a neck issue, such as an irritated disc.

It is so important to get elbow pain evaluated by a professional who understands all the potential causes. It is not something that you want to attempt to self-diagnose or self-prescribe treatments based on the internet alone. This includes utilizing kinesiotape and orthopedic braces that you are able to purchase over-the-counter. Not to say these tools are never appropriate, but that should be the decision of the medical professional, depending on what their evaluation reveals the root of the problem is.

Depending on bracing long-term, even for just athletic performance, can have detrimental effects on our biomechanics and can allow our muscles and surrounding tissues to get weak and become dependent on the brace for support, causing more issues.


A lot of the elbow pain that we see in our office is mechanical in nature, meaning that it’s a result of how we move and use our body. To fix a mechanical problem, you need a mechanical solution.

The rehab that we provide, both in-office and teaching the patient to do themselves, aims to restore full and pain-free ranges of motion and then strengthen the surrounding muscles and tissues to better tolerate load and stress.

If you were to break your arm and not seek treatment or casting, the bone would eventually heal itself. You would lose function and range of motion, but it would eventually stop hurting on its own.

Connective tissue damage from overuse is a bit more complicated than that. Left alone to just “rest” or restricted to a splint or soft cast, the tendon and tissue will not be remodeled, will not heal on its own, and the pain will persist for long after the initial injury or incident. This is why seeking appropriate treatment is so important.

Whether the elbow is the pain-generator or not, we are able to assess the upper extremity as a whole to determine the most appropriate course of action and fix the root of the problem, not just put a band-aid on it.


The pain we feel is simply a request from our brain to change. If there is damage of the connective tissue, resting it or buying an over-the-counter brace are not enough to correct the problem. Consequently, it often goes mis-treated and becomes a chronic complaint.

Elbow pain can be frustrating to deal with due to its chronic nature and unresponsiveness to most other treatments. That doesn’t mean that you must live with the pain forever or even that it would take dozens of visits to correct.

No matter how chronic the complaint, there is usually still improvement to be made, if not full resolution, however, the sooner you get a connective tissue problem like these evaluated and treated, the better the prognosis and the faster the recovery.

Have Questions? We’re here to help!