Golfers Elbow (Medial Epicondylitis): Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

In this video, Airrosti’s Travis Owens, DC discusses the mechanics, causes, and symptoms of medial epicondylitis (golfer’s elbow). He also discusses the traditional treatment options for this injury and how Airrosti’s approach is different.

WHAT IS GOLFER’S ELBOW (MEDIAL EPICONDYLITIS)?

Medial epicondylitis, also known as golfer’s elbow, is a condition that causes pain and inflammation in the tendons that connect the upper arm to the elbow. Golfer’s elbow is an overuse injury that can cause pain on the inside of your elbow (medial epicondyle) and may radiate into the forearm.

This common injury is very similar to tennis elbow, which is another soft tissue injury that can appear on the outside of the elbow. Both are forms of tendonitis.

Sport injury play golf

WHAT ARE THE RISK FACTORS for golfer's elbow?

Despite the name, you don’t have to be a golfer to suffer from this condition. It’s usually caused by overusing the forearm muscles that allow you to grip, rotate your arm, and flex your wrist. Any repetitive flexing, gripping, or swinging (such as swinging a golf club) can cause pulls or tiny tears in the tendons.

Your risk of developing golfer’s elbow increases if you:

  • Are an athlete in sports such as golf, bowling, and baseball
  • Regularly use tools like screwdrivers and hammers
  • Are 40 years old or older
  • Smoke regularly
  • Are overweight or obese
mature woman holding her elbow

The symptoms of golfer's elbow

Golfer’s elbow is characterized by pain and tenderness on the inside (medial side) of your elbow. The pain may extend along the inner side of your forearm and typically worsens with certain movements.

Symptoms of medial epicondylitis also include:

  • Elbow joint stiffness
  • Weakness in the hands and wrists
  • Numbness or a tingling sensation radiating into one or more fingers
  • Difficulty completing everyday activities involving the elbows and wrists, such as picking up items, opening a door, or giving a handshake
  • Typically, medial epicondylitis affects the dominant arm

TRADITIONAL GOLFER’S ELBOW TREATMENT OPTIONS

Treatment plans for medial elbow pain involve a combination of rest, ice, and anti-inflammatory medications. Your doctor may recommend a steroid injection to reduce pain and swelling if more conservative treatment is not effective. You can also use an elbow brace to help reduce tendon strain.

In some cases, physical therapy can be used to help fully restore strength and range of motion to the injured elbow.

 

The most important element in traditional care is tendon rest. Depending on how severe your condition is, you may need to rest your elbow and use ice packs for several weeks. Failure to seek proper medical care may result in the injury becoming more severe or chronic, which can be more difficult to treat.

Elbow pain and arthritis

HOW AIRROSTI CAN HELP: Golfer's elbow diagnosis and treatment

Chronic pain in the elbow, forearm, and wrist can keep you from enjoying the activities you love most. Elbow injuries can severely impact athletes and active individuals, keeping them from doing the activities they love.

If nagging soft tissue injuries are throwing you off your game, chat with an Airrosti provider today at no cost.

Airrosti treatment can effectively resolve injuries in as few as three visits (based on patient-reported outcomes). In most cases, you can continue your normal level of activity for the duration of your treatment. You’ll also receive individualized at-home exercises to further speed recovery and help prevent injuries. 

Reviewed by Casey Crisp, Doctor of Chiropractic

Disclaimer: Always consult with your doctor before starting any exercise program. If you experience any numbness, tingling or reproduction of your symptoms, please contact your doctor.

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