What is Golfer’s Elbow (Medial Epicondylitis)?
Golfer’s Elbow is a colloquial term for the condition that occurs in the tendons that are attached to the medial (“inside”) part of the elbow. These tendons are responsible for flexing the wrist and rotating the hand and wrist to the palm down position. The condition is not actually caused by inflammation of the tendons. Instead the affected tendons have microscopic tears and degeneration. It is thought that the structural weakness of the tendons leads to pain. Golfer’s elbow is very common and often develops in people in their fourth and fifth decades of life.
Symptoms of Golfer’s Elbow
Pain at the medial side of the elbow is very common. The pain may extend down the forearm as well, along the path of the affected tendons and their respective muscles. The pain is generally aggravated by use of the hand, wrist, and elbow, such as lifting, bending the elbow and forcefully gripping and twisting.
Common Causes of Golfer’s Elbow
Golfer’s Elbow is common to golf, weight lifting, pitching, and other racquet sports. Golfer’s
Elbow can also appear in individuals who participate in any activity that demands repetitive use of the elbow, forearm and wrist, such as lifting heavy objects, twisting activities like using a screwdriver, and forceful wrist rotational activities in the gym with simultaneous forceful
flexion or extension of the elbow.
Diagnosing Medial Epicondylitis
Speaking with you to understand the location of the pain and what makes it worse is essential.· A careful physical exam of not only your elbow but also your forearm, wrist and hand is important. An x-ray will help rule out possible bone or joint abnormalities that may contribute to elbow pain.
Treatment Options for Golfer’s Elbow
Golfer’s Elbow is thought to be a self-limiting condition, but conservative treatment measures can aid the healing process, such as rest, icing, anti-inflammatory medication, physical therapy and counter-force bracing. For athlete’s treatment begins with techniques improvement, upper extremity rehabilitation, and core strengthening exercises. This enhances the flow of mechanical energy through the kinetic chain from the torso to the hand. Cortisone injection can be considered for particularly painful cases. Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) is also an option to aid healing. Severe and prolonged cases refractory to conservative treatment may benefit from mini-open surgery.
Golfer’s Elbow is very common and can cause significant difficulty with work and recreation.
Call HandSport Surgery Institute at 212-249-8700 to schedule an appointment and get back in your game.