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Golfer’s |  Tennis Elbow

About Golfer’s | Tennis Elbow

Epicondylitis or golfer’s/ tennis elbow is a type of tendonitis that affects the tendons connecting the forearm and elbow.A tennis elbow refers to pain felt over the outside bump (lateral epicondyle) of the elbow, while a golfer’s elbow refers to pain located around the inner bump (medial epicondyle).

Men and women between the ages of 45-64 get affected by golfers/tennis although womenare more likely to develop it than men. Untreated golfer’s/tennis elbow can cause permanent damage, such as limiting your elbow’s range of motion, causing chronic pain, and making it difficult for you to grasp.

While the name of golfer’s and tennis elbow may imply related injuries to the elbow, much of the elbow pain are not due to these sporting activities. They may be due to mundane repetitive injuries such as household chores like wringing of clothes, wiping off walls and carrying pails of water and moping floor. In fact, a significant number of patients (especially females) may not be activities related.

What Causes Golfer’s / Tennis Elbow?

Golfer’s / tennis elbow are primarily caused by repetitive movements causing micro-tears in the elbow tendons.Eventually, these microscopic tears can lead to tendonitis and partial or full-thickness tears.Other activities that can trigger golfer’s/tennis elbow are:

  • Household chores (i.e., wringing clothes, mopping floor, wiping of walls)
  • Gardening
  • Painting and decorating
  • Playing sports like javelin, tennis, or squash
  • Manual work like plumbing or bricklaying
  • Typing on the keyboard or playing the piano

Women undergoing menopause are at risk of tennis and golfer’s elbow. When the female hormones such as estrogen start to decline at menopausal age, the muscles and tendons will lose it suppleness and cause shortening of the muscle. This will result in sustained tension on the tendon attaching to the elbow, causing undue stress and micro-tears in soft tissue complex.

Symptoms Of Golfer’s / Tennis Elbow

Aching pain in the inner or outer elbow that may seem worst in the morning. The pain may also radiate to the forearm or wrist. There will be sharp pain when exerting strength such as lifting or rotating the forearm in certain activities.
Other Symptoms
Other symptoms may include decreased grip strength, tingling and numbness on the hand. In extreme cases, there may be a weakness of the forearm and dropping of objects likeplates and inability to write or hold a pen. The elbow pain may restrict movement such as pouring water or drinking from a cup or holding a soup spoon.

A Message About elbow Pain

Elbow pain may interfere with many activities of our daily living and at times even our sleep. In many cases, there may not be obvious injury sustained by the elbow. Menopausal women are at risk of tennis and golfer’s elbow. This pain is an inflammatory type of pain due to tears and swelling of the underlying muscle and tendon structure.

Initial approach should be to stop the repetitive strain injury and rest the elbow. Adding on an anti-inflammatory will be helpful. Resting the elbow (including splinting) should not be longer than 2 weeks, as it may cause unexpected side effects of restrictive stiffness of the elbow joint.

The key to recovery is progressive rehabilitation of the elbow joint. Resumption of movement of the elbow will encourage blood circulation and recovery of the injury and micro-tear of the attached tendon.

Diagnosing Golfer’s/Tennis Elbow

To diagnose Golfer’s/ Tennis Elbow, a series of mobility tests are conducted to determine if the tendons are affected. Here at Singapore Paincare, our team of experienced primary care doctors and pain care specialists will evaluate your condition. This includes a physical exam, questions about your symptoms and an evaluation of your medical history. Other tests like MRI orCT scanmay also be needed to confirm a diagnosis.

What Treatments Are Available for Golfer’s / Tennis Elbow?

The majority of golfer’s/tennis elbow can be resolved by non-surgical methods. At Singapore Paincare, we strive to treat your pain with the least invasive option possible after accurately identifying the cause. Our pain resolution approach focuses on removing pain generators via specialised injection and minimally invasive procedures. Combined with pharmacological treatments, cognitive and physical rehabilitative therapies. We help patients to improve their functionality and prevent pain from recurring.

Non-Surgical Treatment for Golfer’s / Tennis Elbow

Physical Therapy
The therapy sessions by our physiotherapists involve resistance training to reduce pain. It also consists of stretching exercises to increase the motion of the joint and minimize the loss of muscle. However, the intensity and type of exercise may differ based on the conditions of the patient.
Braces and splints
A brace and/or splint may be worn to provide support, decrease the pain and expedite recovery time.
Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory drugs
NSAIDs have anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects. These drugs help to relieve pain.
Coreflex Injection
Our Coreflex injection uses a mix of local anaesthetic, anti-inflammatory and muscle relaxant, which helps to break the pain cycle, reduce inflammation, and improve healing.
Myospan Treatment
Injecting PRP can help reduce pain and swelling of the tendons. The platelet-rich plasma will increase the proliferation of the muscle cells (fibroblast) to increase direct healing.

Surgical Treatments for Golfer’s / Tennis Elbow

Most golfer’s and tennis elbow conditions can be resolved through our conservative treatments.However, pain that does not subside may require surgery upon discussion with our doctors. Surgery always comes with associated risks, complications and downtime, so it may not be suitable for everyone. A thorough evaluation of both non-surgical and surgical options should be conducted before deciding whether to undergo surgery.

Elbow Arthroscopy
This procedure involves making small incisions in the skin of the elbow area to insert a thin, tube-like instrument calledan arthroscope. Under direct vision, the injured area is debrided and washed. Occasionally the torn segment of the tendon may have been stitched together or repaired.

How Can I Prevent Golfer’s / Tennis Elbow?

A golfer’s / tennis elbow is not completely preventable,however, you can follow these tips to prevent it from getting worse:

  • Take breaks to rest your arm
  •  Use a brace for additional support
  • Warm up before engaging in any sport or physical activity
  • Regular exercise to allow for progressive strengthening and loading of the elbow

Get Your Pain Resolved

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