Elbow Overuse Injury
By: Katelyn Mueller, M.Ed., ATC
Elbow Overuse Injury– Lateral Epicondylitis (Tennis Elbow)
Elbow Overuse Injury – Lateral epicondylitis is one elbow overuse injury covered here. It is inflammation or swelling of the tendon (connects muscle to bone) that bring your wrist back/up. A common name for this condition is tennis elbow due to the common occurrence in tennis players due to the tennis stroke. “Tennis elbow” can be caused by several factors; faulty mechanics (leading with the elbow or hitting off center), poorly fitted equipment (handle too short or strings too tight) and age.
Tennis Elbow Signs and symptoms
- Pain on outside of elbow (palm facing up)
- Pain may radiate into forearm
- Pain initially subsides but becomes worse with repetition
Tennis Elbow Assessment
- Athletic Trainer or Physician may diagnose or assess injury
- Coffee cup test; pain increases when picking up a full coffee cup
- Tennis elbow test; pain over outside of elbow when bringing wrist back against a force
Tennis Elbow Management
- Support; a strap around forearm placed 2-3 inches below elbow
- Wrist curls; use a can of soup or water bottle grasped in hand and bring hand back
- Flexibility exercises; use other hand to stretch wrist up and down
- Gradually return to normal activities
Elbow Overuse Injury – Medial Epicondylitis (Golfers elbow)
Medial epicondylitis is another elbow overuse injury. It is inflammation or swelling of the tendon that brings your wrist forward/down. “Golfers elbow” is very similar to “Tennis elbow” except for the location of the pain and inflammation. This injury occurs to the tendon that helps bring your wrist down/forward. This can be caused by repetitive stress to the tendons, or a sudden blow such as a divot.
Golfers elbow Signs and Symptoms
- Swelling and pain with touch over inner part of elbow (palm up), part closest to your body
- Increase in pain with bringing your wrist down
- Pain may worsen with activity; swinging golf club, shake hands or turn a doorknob
- Weakness in hand or wrist
Golfers elbow Assessment
- Athletic Trainer or Physician my diagnose or assess the injury
- Medial epicondylitis test; pain over inner elbow when bringing wrist down against a force
Golfers elbow Management
- Similar to “Tennis Elbow” however in opposite direction
- Gradually return to normal activity
Katelyn Mueller, M.Ed., ATC, is a graduate of the Hughston Athletic Training Fellowship and completed her Masters of Education in Health and Physical Education, with teacher certification from Columbus State University in May of 2008. Katie is employed with the Harris County School District and teaches health at Harris County Carver Middle School, Hamilton, Georgia. She continues to serve as the Head Athletic Trainer at Harris County High School, her school assignment as a member of the Fellowship Program.
She earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Athletic Training and Spanish, with a minor in Strength and Conditioning, from the University of Wisconsin – Oshkosh in 2006. Katelyn is a current member of the National Athletic Trainers Association (NATA), the Great Lakes Athletic Trainers Association (GLATA), the Wisconsin Athletic Trainers Association (WATA), and is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS).