Blog Category

Month: May 2021

Elbows General

What is the Difference Between Tennis Elbow and Golfer’s Elbow?

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Elbow pain due to overexertion may feel like it’s coming from all over, and patients really just want the pain gone. The first step in treating elbow pain, however, is to pinpoint the exact location of the problem, which is the primary difference between tennis elbow and golfer’s elbow.

These two common conditions bring many patients into our elbow doctor’s offices in West Bloomfield, Howell, Warren, and Macomb Township every year.

The good news is that both of these conditions are highly treatable with self-care, rest, or the use of an elbow brace. When these remedies are not effective, elbow surgery is an option as well.

What is Tennis Elbow?

Technically called lateral epicondylitis, tennis elbow occurs when the tendons that anchor the muscle to the bone on the outside (lateral) part of the elbow are overused. When these tendons degenerate or become inflamed, it weakens and causes stress on the entire site.

In other words, tennis elbow is caused by a swelling of the tendons that bend your wrist backward away from your palm. People who repeatedly use their elbow and arm muscles may be susceptible to tennis elbow, such as painters, plumbers, and butchers, as well as athletes.

Symptoms of tennis elbow include pain or burning on the outer part of the elbow, as well as a weaker grip. They typically are worsened with forearm activity, such as holding a tennis racquet or turning a wrench. The pain is typically mild at first, but worsens over time if the action that is causing it is not minimized. Tennis elbow is usually not associated with a traumatic injury.

The dominant arm is affected more often than the non-dominant arm.

Tennis elbow can usually be treated with rest, pain medication, Botox injections, or the use of a brace. Tennis elbow surgery may be recommended in more extreme cases.

Tennis elbow occurs due to overuse of the elbow’s outer tendons. This diagram shows the anatomy of the elbow in relation to tennis elbow.
Tennis elbow occurs due to overuse of the elbow’s outer tendons.

What is Golfer’s Elbow?

Golfer’s elbow is more formally called medial epicondylitis. It is sometimes referred to as baseball elbow or suitcase elbow.

The source of the pain is on the inner side of the elbow. It occurs when the tendon that connects the forearm muscles to the bone is overused.

Golfer’s elbow is about twice as common in men than in women. Despite its name, it is caused by general overuse and can affect virtually anyone.

Golfer’s elbow also can be treated with rest, pain medication, injections, and the use of a brace.

The main difference between tennis elbow and golfer’s elbow is the location of the inflammation. Tennis elbow hurts on the outside. Golfer’s elbow hurts on the inside. In this image, a golfer holds his elbow in pain.
The main difference between tennis elbow and golfer’s elbow is the location of the inflammation. Tennis elbow hurts on the outside. Golfer’s elbow hurts on the inside.

What is the Difference Between Tennis Elbow and Golfer’s Elbow?

While causes and treatments are similar, there are some differences between tennis elbow and golfer’s elbow.

The primary difference is the source of the inflammation. With tennis elbow, the outside of the elbow and forearm areas are inflamed, but with golfer’s elbow, inflammation is on the inner side of the arm and elbow.

Likewise, tennis elbow stems from damage to an outside tendon, and golfer’s elbow is associated with damage to an inner tendon.

Both are forms of elbow tendinitis.

Diagnosis and Treatment of Elbow Pain

For most people, the pain subsides by reducing or eliminating the action that is causing it. Physical therapy to strengthen the muscles in the arms may help as well. When self-care, rest, and the use of pain medications or a brace do not help, surgery may be necessary.

Elbow surgery options include:

  • Open surgery, which requires making an incision at the elbow and is performed on an outpatient basis.
  • Arthroscopic surgery, an outpatient procedure that uses smaller instruments and smaller incisions.

A common surgery to treat golfer’s elbow is called medial epicondyle release. It requires an incision along the arm over the medial epicondyle, and the surgeon’s goal will be to take tension off the flexor tendon.

Similarly, a lateral epicondylitis surgery can be used to treat tennis elbow. The goal of this surgery will be to release a portion of the tendon from the bone, remove the inflamed tendon, or repair tendon tears.

For proper treatment, it’s important to differentiate between tennis elbow and golfer’s elbow. For a diagnosis and treatment plan, make an appointment to see Dr. Arora at one of his southeast Michigan locations.

General Hands

Protecting Your Hands While Gardening: Tips that May Help Keep You Safer

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May is perhaps the most invigorating month of the entire year. With beautiful gardens, the fragrant scent of freshly tilled dirt, greenery bursting into life all around, and Mother’s Day flowers to color the scene, this month makes you want to get outside to be one with nature. Gardening can be a thrilling and fulfilling hobby, one that we hope you continue to enjoy for many years. For some people, gardening may even bring in the salary.

That’s why we want to remind you about all the ways you should protect your hands while gardening. Oversights or missteps can put a damper on that flowery spirit of yours, but we want to make sure you keep that green thumb up.

Common Gardening-Related Hand Injuries

Some of the most common hand and wrist conditions related to gardening include trigger thumb, wrist tendonitis, hand infections, gamekeeper’s thumb, and minor or traumatic injuries.

  • Trigger Thumb: Trigger thumb occurs when the pulley at the base of the finger becomes too thick, making it hard for the tendon to move freely.
  • Tendonitis: There are several types of tendonitis, which is essentially a torn, pulled, or swollen tendon.
  • Infections: Infections related to gardening include rose thorn disease and Legionnaires’ disease. Other gardening-related concerns are poison oak, poison ivy, and irritation from chemicals.
  • Gamekeeper’s Thumb: Gamekeeper’s thumb occurs when the inner ligament at the base of the thumb is injured due to overuse.
  • Gardening Injuries: Common injuries include cuts, scrapes, and lawnmower or gardening tool accidents. Another is body strain, aches, and pains due to improper posture while gardening.

How to Protect Your Hands While Gardening

Skilled gardeners are familiar with methods of protecting the hands while gardening, as well as how to protect their knees and backs. If you are new to the hobby, however, you should keep the following tips in mind as you head out this May.

  • Wear your gardening gloves, and make sure you choose a high-quality brand. The gloves should be thick and have latex or rubber on the palm side to help prevent splinters and also protect you from the chemicals in soil, Legionnaires’ disease, insect bites, and skin irritants like poison ivy or poison oak. You may even come across rodents underground that might want to take a bite at you. The latex or rubber will also provide support as you grip tools or when you need to use those arm and back muscle to really dig in.
  • Apply sunscreen on your hands, face, ears, neck and other areas of exposed skin before you head out. Choose a broad-spectrum sunscreen with SPF 30 protection or higher. You may also wish to wear thin, light-colored, long-sleeved shirts and long pants to prevent sunburn.
  • Take frequent breaks. If you get too tired or too hot, step away from the task at hand. Repetitive motion can lead to issues such as cubital tunnel syndrome, carpal tunnel syndrome, and back pain.
  • Take all the necessary precautions when using manual hand tools and electric tools. Read the manuals and use the tools according to manufacturers’ directions. Protect your hands, body, and face when using them, and unplug the tools when you are done. Keep your tools clean, sharp, rust-free, and in proper working condition, which will help prevent strain or accidental injury due to malfunction.
  • Whenever possible, rely on your tools, not your fingers. You may be tempted to shovel or pull weeds with your fingers, but buried objects such as tree roots, glass, and metal can cause injury. Overusing your hands could also damage your fingernails, irritate your skin, and strain your back and arms.
  • Watch your posture. In order to ensure a tighter grip, keep your hands and wrists as straight as possible when you use the gardening tools. Without this sturdy grip, you will find yourself overusing your hand, wrist, and arm muscles unnecessarily.
  • In addition to protecting your hands while gardening, it’s important to follow general safety tips.
    • Sip water throughout the day to prevent hydration.
    • Keep children and pets away from dangerous tools.
    • Do not leave dangerous gardening tools in harm’s way.
    • Watch your surroundings before making abrupt movements.
    • Use knee pads if you will be kneeling.

If you do find that you overworked your hands or if you experienced a gardening injury, make an appointment to see our hand specialist in Warren, West Bloomfield, Macomb Township, or Howell. In the event of life-threatening injuries or other emergencies, call 911 or go to your nearest emergency room.

We want you to enjoy your hobby for years to come, so stay safe out there!

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Dr. Aroras office from my first call to schedule my appointment was friendly. Walking in the first day, I felt like I was in a nice atmosphere. Dr. Arora was EXCELLENT in taking great care of my hand injury. He was gentle and very understanding to the concerns I had about my hand. His expertise was admirable and I would recommend anyone with an injury to their hand to his office to be under his care. Because of him, I have healed faster than expected and will make an 100% recovery! Thank you Dr.

Jackie S.

I first thought I was going to have to have painful injections or surgery, but Dr. Arora suggested physical therapy may do the trick. I was doubtful, but I agreed to do it. Now, my pain is gone, and with the help of an ergonomic keyboard at work to keep my hands in the correct position, I am virtually pain free. The therapy strengthened my wrists and shoulders, and built more flexibility into my wrists.

Jerry T.

My experience with this doctor was positive from the outset. Dr. Arora was kind and spent a great deal of time with me. Staff was friendly. The office was nice and bright.

Ariel G.

Very friendly and helpful Great staff!!! Doctor Arora was very professional and did great work. I was very happy with everything!

L B.