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Osteopathy for Tennis and Golfer's Elbow
Many of us have heard of tennis elbow as well as golfer’s elbow, however, only a few of us actually understand this condition unless we are experiencing it ourselves.
People who repetitively engage their fingers and wrists by holding large items during motion (such as a tennis racquet or golf club) can irritate the area where their tendons meet the muscles of their forearms.
The noticeable difference between the two conditions is that tennis elbow pain occurs outside of the elbow while golfer’s elbow pain is on the inside. Unfortunately, because most people develop these injuries during work or while participating in hobbies that they love, it can be life changing.
The main symptoms of tennis and golfer’s elbow are pain and tenderness around the elbow. This pain can be intense, especially with movement and can radiate into the forearm and even the wrist.
Additional symptoms can include stiffness in the elbow, weakness in the wrists and hands and many also experience a numb and/or tingly feeling in their fingers, especially the ring and little finger. Simple and everyday things such as shaking hands, driving a car or turning a doorknob can bring on an increase of symptoms.
The actual cause of golfer’s elbow (medial epicondylitis) is injury to the tendons and muscles responsible for controlling the fingers and wrists while tennis elbow is a muscle strain injury caused by tiny tears in the tendon that connects the muscles in the forearm to the outside bones of the elbow. Risk factors for acquiring either of these include aged between 30 and 50, a repetitive motion job or hobby and prior injury.
Elissa Gustafson, DOMP, and Carolyn Smith, DOMP are manual osteopaths in Ottawa who have treated many patients with tennis and/or golfer’s elbow by using gentle soft tissue manipulation. If someone has either or both of these conditions, seeing an osteopath is an excellent treatment option and early intervention is extremely important in order to treat the injury and modify activities to minimize further damage. Many people who benefit from osteopathic care also utilize chiropractic, physiotherapy, massage therapy and athletic therapy as part of their treatment plan.