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What is Golfer’s Elbow?

Golfer’s elbow, or medial epicondylitis, is a painful condition of the elbow caused by overuse. The condition is an inflammation of the tendons that join the forearm muscles, which can lead to pain and tenderness on the inside of the elbow. Golfer’s elbow is similar to tennis elbow as both are forms of elbow tendonitis, just occurring in a different location in the elbow.

Cause

  • Overuse:The piece of bone that can be felt on the inner side of the elbow is called the medial epicondyle. When the tendons attached to this bone are overstretched, torn or inflamed, they can become painful. Golfer’s elbow is caused by overusing the flexor muscles of the forearms. Overusing these muscles can stretch or tear the tendons attached to the medial epicondyle.
  • Activities:Athletes are not the only people who experience golfer’s elbow. Improper golf swing technique or grip of golf clubs and improper technique for hitting a tennis ball can be causes, hence the name, but doing certain arm motions too much such as painting, raking, rowing or using a hammer can also lead to golfer’s elbow.

Symptoms

The symptoms of golfer’s elbow develop gradually. Common signs and symptoms of golfer’s elbow include pain and tenderness of the inner side of the elbow, stiff elbow and weakness in hands and wrist.

Treatment

Nonsurgical Treatment

In most cases treatment includes nonsurgical methods such as:

  • Rest or activity modification (decrease playing time or technique)
  • Ice or heat
  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medicines
  • Wrist Brace
  • Stretching and strengthening the forearm and grip
  • Physical therapy
  • Cortisone injections

 Surgical Treatment

If symptoms do not respond after 6 to 12 months of nonsurgical treatments, your Raleigh Orthopaedic physician may recommend surgery. The procedure involves cleaning up the tendon and removing only the damaged tissue. A small bone anchor may or may not be used to help secure the tendons in place in the elbow, taking tension off the tendon.

Rehabilitation from medial epicondylitis takes around three months. There will be immobilization of the wrist in the immediate post-operative period with normal movement of the elbow. Gradually wrist movement will be permitted followed by elbow and wrist strengthening.

LEARN MORE ABOUT SPORTS MEDICINE TREATMENT AT RALEIGH ORTHOPAEDIC

Schedule an appointment

Your well-being is important to us. Raleigh Orthopaedic is Wake County’s oldest and most experienced orthopedic practice, serving the Triangle and surrounding regions of central North Carolina since 1919. Raleigh Orthopaedic offers online scheduling so click the button below or call us at (919) 781-5600 to schedule an appointment with one of our orthopedic specialists. If your injury or condition is recent, you can walk right into one of our Raleigh Orthopaedic Urgent Care locations for immediate care. For rehabilitation and physical therapy, no referral is needed to see one of our physical therapists.

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