The Most Common Sports, Work, Music And Hobby Activities That Cause Tennis And Golfer’s Elbow & What They All Have In Common
Tennis and Golfer’s Elbow are not strictly injuries that plague golfers and tennis players.
There are a host of activities that are also notorious for causing that aching, searing – and sometimes stabbing pain at ones inner (Golfer’s) or outer (Tennis) elbow.
Here are the ten most common activities (not necessarily in order of prevalence) broken down into three categories; sports, work and music / hobby-related:
Sports That Often Lead To Tennis And Golfer’s Elbow Injuries
Racket sports, including Tennis, Racquetball, Badminton and Squash are the most notorious sports-related sources of Tennis Elbow – and, not infrequently, Golfer’s Elbow.
Pickleball, the fastest growing sport in America, is also becoming very well known as a cause of Tennis Elbow and these injuries are not uncommon in Table Tennis / Ping Pong.
Weight lifting may be a surprising-sounding cause but the incidence of over training and poor lifting form may well be the explanation.
The training style known as CrossFit is particularly notorious for allowing – even encouraging poor lifting form / biomechanics, leading to many kinds of injury.
Rock Climbing is a significant cause of Golfer’s Elbow, with all the finger flexor dominant holds and grips necessitated by this sport.
In fact, Tennis Elbow is actually more common in golfers than Golfer’s Elbow, according to injury statistics.
Common Work-Related Causes of Golfer’s And Tennis Elbow
- 5. Computer / other device use – Mouse Elbow
- 6. Construction / plumbing / painting and other contractors
- 7. Landscaping, farming / gardening
Since the widespread adoption of computers for business and personal use, Repetitive Strain Injuries from keyboard and mouse use have become commonplace.
Mouse Elbow is a common label given to some of these injuries, which could just as well come from the use of other pointing devices.
Contractors doing heavy, physical work have been afflicted by these “overuse” injuries for as long as the construction / plumbing trades – as well as landscaping, gardening and farming trades – have existed.
These injuries are often referred to as ‘Carpenter’s Elbow,’ ‘Trowel Elbow’ or more generally, ‘Contractors Elbow’
Other job and work-related causes often include auto repair, assembly line work – including auto and meat packing industries – and grocery, warehouse and big box store work.
The meat packing industry has an unfortunate reputation for extremely high rates of injury of all kinds.
A very fast-paced “assembly-line” environment involving a high rate of grueling repetitive, physically-exhausting tasks is probably the root of the issue.
Music And Hobby-Related Causes
- 8. Guitar playing + other stringed instruments
- 9. Piano playing + other percussion / drumming
- 10. Fishing / Angler’s Elbow
Musicians have notoriously long been plagued by these types of injuries.
Stringed instrument players, including violinists, cellists, guitarists and harp players seem to be at the highest risk.
Pianists and other percussionists are also fairly susceptible.
Fishing is a fairly high risk sport/hobby, especially among fly fishers and other anglers, which has led to the term Angler’s Elbow.
(And a host of things that didn’t make this list – If you do it for work, as a sport or as a hobby or musical pursuit, then there’s a very good chance it can lead to one of these Repetitive Strain Injuries!)
What These Activities Have In Common
What all these sport, hobby and work-related causes have in common is a greater or lessor degree of either static gripping and/or repetitive motions of the wrist, fingers or elbow.
The trades and physical professions all involving varying amounts of gripping, twisting and manipulating by hand – sometimes compounded by a degree of vibration when power tools are involved.
The vibrational element seems to significantly increase the stresses on muscles – and injuries in these fields may very well have the fastest origination times.
Of course, even the work-related and music/hobby-related activities that involve no vibration still manage to gradually produce harmful patterns of tension in muscles and the eventual overload and damage to tendons, which is the hallmark of these injuries.
In the case of sports-related Tennis and Golfer’s Elbow injuries, large, fast and repetitive wrist and elbow motions are performed – often with some added impact vibration – including Golf, tennis and other racket and paddle sports.
With Rock Climbing and weight lifting, longer periods of gripping and pulling are involved.
And these sport activities have some of the fastest injury causation times.
Even Tiny Motions Can Cause These Injuries
And then we have the music and hobby-related causes.
It may even seem borderline ridiculous to those who have never suffered one of these terrible, vexing injuries (and let’s even include some Doctors, who should know better – NO, it’s not all in your head!)…
That repeatedly pressing on keyboard or piano keys – or mouse buttons – or the strings of a guitar or violin could cause such a painful and debilitating injury.
But the truth is that ALL these activities can gradually cause unhealthy patterns of muscle tension and the insidious breakdown of tendons.
And the breakdown (degeneration) of a tendon is a painful, difficult and sometimes debilitating – REAL injury.
These patterns seem to occur faster when there is more intense movement and gripping and vibration involved but there is also something particularly pernicious about the smaller – or even “micro” movements one is required to make in the use of a computer or the playing of an instrument.
If you found this helpful there are dozens more articles (most with videos) on just about every aspect of Golfer’s and Tennis Elbow you can imagine.
Here’s my take on the “common wisdom” treatment approach to these injuries and how and why I believe a completely different (often opposite) approach is what’s actually needed:
And if you’re looking for a better way to overcome your Tennis or Golfer’s Elbow at home – See below for more about my self treatment programs…
Learn To Treat And Heal Your Own Tennis Elbow Or Golfer’s Elbow At Home With This Video Program
I’ll be your personal tutor guiding you through step-by-step video lessons, where you’ll get the therapy techniques, key stretches and essential exercises you need to treat and recover from your injury at home. (Without any special equipment.)
Have Tennis Elbow? – Learn more here
Have Golfer’s Elbow? – Learn more here