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.
- 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.
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.
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
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.
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