Recreational Sports Injuries

 

“Are Tennis Elbow, Golfer’s Elbow and Pickleball Elbow all the same?”

With the Arizona weather improving, most people are ramping up their outdoor pastime activities. Oftentimes jumping back in too fast can cause minor (and sometimes major) injuries. Without awareness of some preventative measures you can take, an injury could set you back weeks and limit your favorite activities.

This month, we will focus on what we often see associated with Golf, Tennis and Pickleball. Elbow and forearm pain from these can vary in reason, and even without playing these sports you can develop any one of these common injuries from overuse.

 

Golfer’s Elbow

What is it, and what are the symptoms?

You may notice some pain in the center of the smaller bone bump on the inside of your elbow, which may even radiate pain down into your forearm. This is called Medial Epicondylitis). The pain is associated with inflammation of tendons which connect your forearm to your elbow.

Causes:

The cause of this injury can vary, but some things to consider may be:

  • Weak or unstable shoulders
  • Weak wrist and forearm muscles
  • Using a club which is too heavy
  • Improper warmup and stretching before strenuous activity

 

Tennis Elbow / Pickleball Elbow

What is it, and what are the symptoms?

Tennis Elbow and Pickleball Elbow are similar to Golfer’s Elbow. However the pain you may notice in your elbow will be on the outside portion, which may also radiate pain down into your forearm. This is called Lateral Epicondylitis. The pain is also associated with inflammation of tendons which connect your forearm to your elbow.

Causes:

The cause of this injury can vary, but some things to consider may be:

  • Overuse and repetitive motions
  • Weak wrist and forearm muscles
  • Using a racket which is too heavy or strung too tight
  • Improper warmup and stretching before strenuous activity

 

What you can do to help recover and/or prevent these injuries?

 

Preventative Awareness

Understanding that taking proper steps before the injury happens, or re-injury takes place is the most important lesson. Weather this is simply stretching the area and gently warming up your internal temperature, these can greatly reduce your risk of injury.

Treatment Options

If you already are experiencing pain from medial epicondylitis, then you have a few options which can manage the pain and help you recover.

 

  • Rest & Seek Treatment: The most important step to recovery. Although you may feel you can tough through the pain and continue on with your activity, it is best to seek a consult first to properly diagnose your injury.
  • Massage: The area which is inflamed can benefit from having manual therapy done to target the inflamed area and surrounding muscles which can be bundled up and tight.
  • Electric Acupuncture: Known to help the tendon and muscle heal faster and improve function, electric acupuncture sends a micro current in a targeted area to improve blood flow and decrease inflammation.
  • Cold Laser: Medical grade laser where light penetrates the skin without heating or harming the area. Clinically proven to reduce edema and promote healing within the tissue and it’s cells.
  • Ice: Ice is a natural anesthetic which may help temporarily relieve the pain.
  • Heat: A hot shower or hot tub can assist with blood flow to areas which are in a state of recovery. Although ice is good to numb the pain, wet heat can actually help you recover from the injury.
  • Strengthening and Range of Motion Exercises: Using a variety of weights, medicine ball, bands, etc. can be used and directed by a physical medicine professional in order to prevent the injury from happening again. This will correct any imbalances and weak areas which could have contributed to the injury.

Knowledge of when to seek help and knowing when to take a step back is more valuable than any brace or special equipment you can buy. If you personally participate in some of these sports, or know someone who may, book a free consultation. Contact our office anytime to get a consult at Aaaah Wellness in Mesa, Arizona. Our team of physical medicine doctors can help you with any of these injuries and educate you on how to prevent them in the future.

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