Golfer's Elbow

Medial epicondylitis (Golfer's Elbow) is pain over the bone on the inner side of the elbow. 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 or torn, they become inflamed and painful.

What causes it?

The overuse of the flexor muscles of the forearms causes Golfer's Elbow. Some of the conditions or activities that can cause this include:

  • Improper golf swing or grip
  • Wrong model of golf clubs
  • Improper technique of hitting tennis ball
  • Improper size of tennis racquet or tension of racquet strings
  • Repetitive arm motions in activities such as golf, tennis, raking, pitching, rowing, painting and using a hammer or screwdriver
  • Advancing age
  • Work that requires repetitive gripping

Symptoms

Symptoms of Golfer's Elbow include:

  • Pain or tenderness on the inner side of the elbow
  • Pain increases when shaking hands, turning doorknobs, picking up objects palm down, swinging a golf club or hitting a forehand in tennis
  • Pain occurs when pressure is applied to the area
  • Pain extends down the forearm
  • Tightness of forearm muscles
  • Stiffness or trouble moving the elbow or hand

Diagnosis

The physician will ask the patient about symptoms and history of injury and will examine the injured area. The doctor will also examine the elbow for:

  • Pain on the inner side of the elbow when doing certain arm motions or pressing the medial epicondyle
  • Stiffness of elbow and pain with wrist movement; X-Rays may be taken to assure bones are normal and look for calcium deposits in the injured tendons

Treatment

Treatment measures include:

  • Rest and a cessation of the activities causing pain
  • Ice applied in a cold pack to the inner side of the elbow for 15-20 about 4 or 5 times each day
  • Medications such as aspirin or ibuprofen for pain and inflammation


Further treatment could include:

  • Wearing a compression brace on the forearm to limit the amount of force placed on the elbow in daily activities
  • Heat applied before preparing to play a sport
  • Strengthening exercises of the flexor muscles
  • Cortisone injection into the tendon attachment at the medial epicondylitis to reduce pain and inflammation


A gradual return to the sport or activity will include arm-motion exercises modeled after your preferred sport (golf swings, tennis strokes, etc.).

Orthopedic Conditions
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Related Links

• Orthopaedics
• Spine Center
• EUOSH