Golfer’s Elbow? Tennis Elbow? They are both painful, common reasons for elbow discomfort. Dr. Neal Chen, an orthopedic surgeon at St. Mary Medical Center says in golfer’s elbow the pain is on the medial elbow. If the discomfort is on the lateral elbow, it’s tennis elbow. Both involve loss of elasticity of the tendon, which can happen with overuse and age.
Dr. Chen says both conditions will resolve over time, normally six to twelve months. He says it’s rare to require surgery and many treatments are non-invasive. You can take anti-inflammatories, rest the area, wear a splint, undergo physical therapy or have steroid injections into the area. He says less than ten percent of his patients require surgery for these conditions.
Some patients have arthritis of the elbow, although this is uncommon. Treatment may include medications, arthroscopic surgery to clean out the joint or even elbow replacement in severe cases. He says arthroscopic therapies for arthritis have improved and some of these treatments can dramatically improve the lives of the patients.