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Blog & Resources

Elbow Pain Demystified: Tennis Elbow vs. Golfer's Elbow - Causes, Symptoms, and Treatments

Published October 14th, 2023 by Dr. Sam Camarata

Elbow pain is a common ailment that can affect individuals of all ages and activity levels. Two of the most prevalent elbow conditions are tennis elbow and golfer's elbow, but despite their names, these injuries can happen to anyone. Understanding the key differences between these conditions, along with their causes, symptoms, and treatment options, is essential for proper diagnosis and effective management.

Tennis Elbow (Lateral Epicondylitis):

Causes: Tennis elbow primarily affects the outer part of the elbow and is often associated with repetitive movements of the wrist and forearm. It can result from activities beyond tennis, such as typing, gardening, or any task that involves gripping and twisting motions. These actions strain the tendons connecting the forearm muscles to the lateral epicondyle, causing microtears and inflammation.

Symptoms: Tennis elbow typically presents with pain and tenderness on the outer side of the elbow, which may gradually worsen over time. Weakness in gripping objects and discomfort during wrist extension are also common. Pain may radiate down the forearm.

Golfer's Elbow (Medial Epicondylitis):

Causes: Unlike tennis elbow, golfer's elbow affects the inner part of the elbow and results from repetitive movements that stress the tendons on the inner side of the forearm. While golfing can lead to this condition, it can also arise from activities like lifting weights or excessive tool use.

Symptoms: Golfer's elbow typically causes pain and tenderness on the inner side of the elbow. Symptoms may include weakness in the wrist and difficulty with gripping objects. Pain may radiate down the forearm.


Diagnosing tennis elbow or golfer's elbow often involves a physical examination by a healthcare provider. They may apply pressure to specific areas to pinpoint the source of pain. In some cases, imaging tests like X-rays or MRI scans may be ordered to rule out other potential issues.

Treatment Options:

Rest and Activity Modification: For both conditions, the initial treatment often involves resting the affected arm and avoiding activities that exacerbate symptoms. Modifications to work or sports routines may be necessary.

Physical Therapy: A physical therapist can recommend exercises to strengthen and stretch the forearm muscles, which can aid in recovery.

Bracing and Support: Wearing a brace or splint can help alleviate strain on the affected tendons and promote healing.

Medications: Over-the-counter pain relievers or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) may be used to manage pain and inflammation.

Corticosteroid Injections: In some cases, corticosteroid injections may be recommended to reduce inflammation.

The Role of SoftWave Therapy at Camarata Chiropractic & Wellness:

While conservative treatments can be effective, some individuals may not respond well to these methods or prefer a non-invasive approach. This is where SoftWave Therapy, an innovative regenerative treatment, can offer significant benefits. 

SoftWave Therapy utilizes electrohydraulic supersonic acoustic waves to stimulate the body's natural healing processes: Increasing blood flow, promoting tissue repair, and reducing inflammation.

For individuals with persistent tennis elbow or golfer's elbow, SoftWave Therapy can provide a non-surgical option for pain relief and healing. This treatment modality targets the root causes of these conditions, addressing the damaged tendons and promoting their regeneration.

In summary, tennis elbow and golfer's elbow are two distinct but related conditions that can cause significant discomfort and limitation. Proper diagnosis and a tailored treatment plan are essential for recovery. While traditional treatments like rest, therapy, and medications are effective for many, SoftWave Therapy offers an advanced, non-invasive alternative for those seeking lasting relief and accelerated healing.

If you're experiencing elbow pain, give us a call 585-617-4145 to determine the best approach for your specific condition!

Get relief today at Camarata Chiropractic & Wellness led by Dr Sam Camarata and his team!

Book an appointment ONLINE here! 

3237 Union St North Chili NY 14514

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