Golfer’s Elbow – Medial Epicondylitis

Golfer’s elbow is a type of elbow injury that occurs when the tendon attaching on the inner bump of the elbow is irritated and inflamed. It is often caused by repetitive contraction of the muscles that bend your wrist and fingers. Golfer’s elbow is medically called medial epicondylitis.

Causes

Golfer’s elbow is caused by overuse of the muscles that bend your wrist and fingers. The name of the condition may imply that it is common in golfers. However, golfer’s elbow can happen to anyone whose activities or sports require repetitive movement of the wrist and hand, such as
  • Carpenters
  • Racket sport players
  • Heavy weight lifters
  • Baseball and softball players
  • Painters
  • Typists

Symptoms

The most common symptom of golfer’s elbow is pain on the inner side of the elbow. Sometimes, pain may be felt along the muscle below your elbow. Other symptoms may include
  • Swelling at the site of injury
  • Tenderness
  • Weakness
  • Stiffness
  • Difficulty gripping or grasping objects

If you experience severe pain and swelling; numbness or loss of sensation in your hands; or notice your elbow is deformed you should go to your local emergency room immediately as you may have a more serious injury.

Treatments

Minor or uncomplicated golfer’s elbow can be safely managed with proper home remedies. The first step that you should do is to stop your activity that caused your symptoms. Apply an ice pack (wrapped in towel) for 20 minutes at a time every 2 to 4 hours for the first 2 days to help relieve your pain and swelling. Elevate your limb above the level of your heart as you rest. Taking anti-inflammatory medication may also help.

Consult your doctor if your symptoms worsen or are unrelieved with home remedies. Your doctor may recommend that you use an elastic wrap. If your pain or inflammation does not go away, your doctor may recommend steroid injection.

Your doctor may also recommend that you undergo physiotherapy for your golfer’s elbow. In addition to icing, your physiotherapist may also employ other treatment options, such as ultrasound, Iontophoresis, stretching, and physiotherapy exercises.

Surgery to repair damaged muscles or tendons may be necessary. Your doctor may recommend surgery only if conservative means are ineffective in relieving your symptoms. Your doctor will discuss with you the benefits of having surgery for your elbow tendonitis.

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