The Elbow

Lateral Epicondylitis or Tennis Elbow

Lateral epicondylitis is one of the most common problems seen in the elbow. Patients complain of pain on the outside part of their elbow and in their forearm. It is usually caused by overuse of wrist motion which can occur in tennis players, and workers who handle heavy tools, carry heavy loads or do repetitive actions.

Medial Epicondylitis or Golfer’s Elbow

Medial epicondylitis is less common than lateral epicondylitis. Patients complain of pain over the bone on the inner side of the elbow. Similar to lateral epicondylitis, this pain is caused by inflammation and damage to the tendon. The damage is caused by repetitive tight grasping of the hands and overuse of the flexor muscles of the forearm. Although associated with golf, other activities including using a screwdriver or paintbrush can lead to lateral epicondylitis.


With both problems, the most effective treatment is to stop using the arm in ways that make the elbow hurt. Repetitive use creates inflammation and small tears in the area that hurts. Stopping the activities that created the problem will give the area time to heal. This is a slow process. It took time to damage the area and will require time to heal it.

Sometimes injections of hydrocortisone are used to help decrease the pain.

If the symptoms do no resolve after several months of treatment, surgery can be considered. Surgery is only needed in a small number of patients with this problem. During surgery, any loosed or damaged tissue is removed. Sometimes the tendon is punctured in several spots with a needle to encourage increased healing.

  • American Academy Regenerative Medicine
  • American Academy and Board of Regenerative Medicine
  • American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine
  • isakos
  • Rush University Medical Center
  • American Association of Nurse Anesthetists
  • American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons
  • European Society of Sports Traumatology, Knee Surgery Academy
  • International Cartilage Repair Society