Golfer’s Elbow (Epicondylitis)

What is Golfer’s Elbow? Golfer’s elbow, also known as medial epicondylitis, is pain on the inside of the arm near the elbow, where the muscles and tendons in the forearm attach to the elbow’s interior bony area. In some cases, a partial tear of the tendon, which attaches the muscles to the bone of the elbow, may occur. Pain can be felt in the elbow, forearm, wrist, or fingers.

What causes Golfer’s Elbow? Golfer’s elbow is often caused by the overuse or repetitive use of the muscles in the wrist or fingers. Despite its name, the condition is not solely caused by playing golf, although it is a common injury among those that play golf due to the overuse of the muscles that can cause the condition during the sport. The injury can occur from a sudden and abrupt injury to the tendons and muscles in the forearm or a sudden and severe force to the wrist or elbow, or more typically can occur over time due to repeated overuse of the muscles in the wrist and fingers. The condition is more common in men than women and often affects people that are involved in repetitive use activities for work or leisure that may stress the wrists or fingers

How is Golfer’s Elbow diagnosed? Golfer’s elbow can be diagnosed based on the description and location of pain. The physiothreapist at PSMC will apply pressure to the area to determine pain and tenderness and will ask you to move your arm, elbow, wrists and fingers to see how the movement affects discomfort. The real time ultrasound image will show a focal hipoechoic area localized on the disconfort area.

What will the treatment for Golfer’s Elbow consist of? Typical treatment for golfer’s elbow may involve over-the-counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications to reduce pain or inflammation, cortisone injections, application of ice, and a recommendation to avoid activity that causes pain while the injury heals. Once the pain has subsided, PSMC recommends Physiotherapy to strengthen and stretch the tendons and muscles around the elbow and in the forearm and wrist to avoid repeated injury. A change in how activities and movements are done may be recommended, the limiting of some activities may be suggested, and the use of a brace, forearm strap or elastic bandage worn near the elbow may avoid future pain and injury.

What type of results should I expect from the treatment for Golfer’s Elbow? If treatment for golfer’s elbow is sought on a timely basis and is completed according to doctor’s recommendations, most individuals will notice a complete or at least substantial improvement in the pain associated with the initial condition. It may take a number of months for the pain to diminish and reintroducing activity may cause the pain to return. Rest is best to help the elbow heal when re-injury occurs. Ongoing changes to activity levels or the use of different techniques or equipment may need to be incorporated into routine activities in order to avoid re-injury. In a small percentage of cases, surgery may be required to repair the muscles and tendons near the elbow in order to clear up the underlying injury and pain associated with golfer’s elbow. When surgery is indicated, it is often successful in diminishing or alleviating pain.