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Common Conditions

Golfer’s Elbow

25/09/2020

Golfer’s Elbow also known as Medial Epicondylitis causes pain and inflammation in the tendons that connect the forearm to the elbow. The pain centers on the bony bump on the inside of your elbow and may radiate into the forearm.

Despite the name, this condition does not just affect golfers. Any repetitive hand, wrist, or forearm motions can lead to golfer’s elbow. Risky sports include tennis, bowling, and baseball — in fact, it’s sometimes called pitcher’s elbow. People may also get it from using tools like screwdrivers and hammers, raking, or painting. Golfer’s elbow is not as well known as its cousin, Tennis Elbow. Both are forms of elbow tendonitis. The difference is that tennis elbow stems from damage to tendons on the outside of the elbow, while golfer’s elbow is caused by tendons on the inside. Golfer’s elbow is also less common.

Golfer’s elbow is caused by damage to the muscles and tendons that control your wrist and fingers. The damage is typically related to excess or repeated stress especially forceful wrist and finger motions. Improper lifting, throwing or hitting, as well as too little warmup or poor conditioning, also can contribute to golfer’s elbow.

Golfer’s elbow is characterized by pain and tenderness that is usually felt on the inner side of your elbow, sometimes extending along the inner side of your forearm. Pain can come and go gradually, and typically worsens with certain movements such as swinging a golf club. The elbow may feel stiff, and making a fist might hurt. Weakness in your hands and wrists, as well as numbness and tingling sensations, might be present.

Physical therapy is recommended for Golfer’s elbow. An inflamed tendon that is not treated can begin to tear, causing a more serious condition. Your physical therapist will help you identify and avoid painful movements to allow the inflamed tendon to heal. Ice, ice massage, or moist heat may be used for pain management. Apart from manual therapy, therapeutic modalities such as therapeutic ultrasound therapy and electrotherapy may be applied. Personalized mobility exercises and self-stretches to help your elbow and wrist maintain proper movement will also be prescribed. As your symptoms improve, your physical therapist will help you return to your previous level of function through functional training. If needed, bracing or splinting may also be recommended. In severe cases, it may be necessary to rest the elbow and not perform work or sports activities that continue causing pain, which may slow the recovery process. If in doubt, seek professional advice.