Tennis Elbow - The Joint Injection Clinic

What is the difference between tennis elbow and golfer’s elbow?

Elbow steroid (cortisone) injection London

Tennis elbow and Golfer’s elbow are two common conditions, seen in both sporting and non-sporting middle-aged individuals.

Tennis elbow is more common than golfer’s elbow and tends to affect men and women in middle age, often as a result of repetitive movements with activities such as tennis, plastering, painting etc.

In tennis elbow, pain is associated with overloading of the tendon on the outer side of the elbow.  The tendon on the outer side of the elbow is responsible for extending (straightening) the wrist and fingers and therefore the individual will often describe pain with activities such as gripping, squeezing, pouring a kettle, lifting a heavy pan or when ironing (or playing tennis). Pain with these activities is also associated with localised tenderness when pressing over the bony prominence on the outer side of the elbow.

Golder’s elbow is less common and tends to affect a similar type of patient. Golfer’s elbow is also caused by repetitive movements and results in pain localised to the inner side of the elbow. This site corresponds to the tendon attachment of the flexor (bending) forearm muscles that are responsible for bending the wrist and fingers to make a fist. Patients often describe localised tenderness when pressing over the bony prominence on the inside of the elbow, as well as discomfort with activities such as gripping and when carrying heavy shopping.

The mainstay of management for both issues is to normalise the tendon by reducing (or avoiding) the precipitating or aggravating activity and by working on progressive strengthening of the tendon under the guidance of a physiotherapist or osteopath.

If pain persists then shockwave therapy can be a useful adjunct to the rehab program, as a safe way of reducing sensitivity in the tendon and allowing the individual to strengthen the area.

The two main injection options include steroid with local anaesthetic or platelet-rich plasma (PRP). Steroid injections can be a useful way of rapidly managing the pain associated with Golfer’s or Tennis elbow however long-term results from research studies indicate that they are no better than placebo/saline injections one year after the injection. As a result cautious use is recommended.

PRP injections involve taking a small sample of blood, spinning the sample in a centrifuge before injecting the platelet-rich part into the tendon under ultrasound guidance. Results for this type of injection tend to take longer to kick in but this option is considered safer and more effective than steroid injections in the longer term.

It is important to remember that tennis players can get golfer’s elbow and golfers can get tennis elbow!

If you would like to book a rapid-access appointment at either our Golders Green or Chelsea clinic locations then please call 0208 0046659, visit www.thejointinjectionclinic.com or email [email protected] for further information.