Both golfer’s elbow (medial epicondylitis) and tennis elbow (lateral epicondylitis) are caused by repetitive overuse or acute injury. What happens is the tendon that attaches to the elbow becomes irritated or torn, which causes inflammation and pain.
Pain and tenderness on the medial aspect of the elbow, which sometimes radiates down the inside of the arm (Golfer's)
Pain and tenderness on the lateral aspect of the elbow, which sometimes radiates down into the forearm and wrist (Tennis)
Pain can be worse in the evening or at rest
Weakness of the hand or wrist
In Golfer's elbow there may be numbness and tingling that radiates into one or more fingers, usually the ring and little finger.
The mechanism for this commonly seen case is similar to that
of conventional medicine. The injury,
regardless of the cause, damages the sinews and vessels, which causes two
things to happen. 1) Whenever there is a traumatic injury, blood stasis
will occur in that area. This micro stasis can obstruct the flow of Qi and blood
through the local meridians and collaterals.
2) Sinews need to be nourished by
the blood, so if there isn’t a sufficient amount of Qi and blood flow, the
sinews will “dry – up”, metaphorically speaking. If there is a dull-achy pain that is worse at
rest, this would indicate a Qi & blood deficiency. A pain that is sharp / stabbing in nature
would be due to blood stasis; and it is possible to have both patterns
simultaneously in one condition; with the possibility of one being more predominant than the other.
Treatment Treatment for both these conditions follows the same
principles, alleviating the pain, decreasing inflammation, dispelling the blood
stasis, and restoring the smooth flow of Qi.
This is achieved through acupuncture, herbal therapy, and sometimes moxa, if there are signs of an invasion of cold. Acupuncture and herbs are used to reduce pain and inflammation. The herbal formulas that we use for acute injuries have ingredients that are proven safer and more effective than NSAIDs without the side-effects of NSAIDs.
Each case is unique and treatment duration always depends on the severity and any underlying conditions that are pre-existing. Stretches and resistance exercises are also
recommended to help restore strength, and the flow of Qi & blood. The key to a successful outcome is to make an appointment right away after the initial injury / pain so it can be treated straight away. The longer you wait, the more damage that occurs.