- Overview: Tennis elbow (or lateral epicondylitis) is a common overuse injury. Upon repeated motions and stress, tears can develop in the tendons that attach forearm muscles outside of the elbow. Symptoms include pain and tenderness on the outside of the elbow.
- Cause: As the name suggests, this condition is most prevalent in tennis players (especially poor technique of the backhand stroke).
- Diagnosis and Treatment: Tennis elbow often resolves over time, but physical therapy may help the healing process. Surgery is necessary in severe cases.
- Overview: This condition affects the forearm muscle’s tendons that attach to the inside of the elbow. Pain, tenderness, weakness and numbness may be felt at the site as well as through the forearm and wrist.
- Cause: Many activities aside from golf can contribute to golfer’s elbow including racket sports, throwing sports and weight training.
- Diagnosis and Treatment: An evaluation and X-ray will be helpful in diagnosing golfer’s elbow. Treatment usually involves rest, ice and stretching the affected area. In more severe cases, surgery or corticosteroid injections may be necessary.
Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Overview: Carpal tunnel refers to the inflammation, irritation or damage of the median nerve, which passes through the wrist. This condition can cause pain, numbness, weakness and tingling of the hand.
- Cause: While a number of activities can contribute to carpal tunnel syndrome, it is often found in athletes who place pressure on their wrists (such as gymnasts and cyclists).
- Diagnosis and Treatment: A physician will perform an evaluation to assess the damage. He or she may suggest changes to the athlete’s activities to lessen impact on the wrist. Treatment usually involves rest and potentially wrist splints. If symptoms persist, surgery may be required.
- Overview: Falling onto an outstretched hand usually causes wrist sprains in athletes. A sprain involves the tearing of a ligament. There are three grades (1 is mild, 2 is moderate, 3 is severe) to determine the severity of the injury.
- Cause: Wrist sprains are most likely found in sports in which athletes are susceptible to falling, including basketball, soccer, football, hockey, skiing, snowboarding, skating and gymnastics.
- Diagnosis and Treatment: Patients will immediately experience pain, bruising and swelling after sustaining a wrist sprain. The RICE method (Rest, Ice, Compress, Elevate) may be used to stabilize the injury for a few days. An X-ray will be required to ensure the wrist is not fractured or broken. Physical therapy will help the athlete return to his or her sport quickly and safely.