What is golfer’s elbow?
Golfer’s elbow is an inflammation of the tendons that attach your forearm muscles to the inside of the bone at your elbow. The injury occurs when the tendon responsible for attaching muscle at the elbow joint develops small tears. Over time, these tears can lead to painful inflammation and stress on other tissues in your arm. The medical name for golfer’s elbow is medial epicondylitis.
What causes golfer’s elbow?
Like tennis elbow, golfer’s elbow typically results from repetitive, forceful gripping and lifting. It’s an overuse injury that develops over time, when the periods of repetitive motion are so frequent that the body doesn’t have enough time in between to rest and heal.
Sports can cause golfer’s elbow, as well as work-related activities that involve heavy use of the wrist and forearm muscles.
What are the symptoms of golfer’s elbow?
The pain of golfer’s elbow may appear suddenly or gradually. Common symptoms include:
- Pain and tenderness on the inner side of your elbow
- Stiffness in the elbow
- Weakness in your hands and wrists
- A numbness or tingling sensation that radiates into one or more fingers
How is golfer’s elbow diagnosed?
To find out whether you have golfer’s elbow, your doctor will start with a physical exam. Your doctor may apply pressure to the affected area or ask you to move your elbow, wrist, and fingers in various ways. An X-ray can help rule out other possible causes of elbow pain, such as an elbow fracture or arthritis.
How is golfer’s elbow treated?
The vast majority (80 to 95 percent) of patients with these injuries have success with nonsurgical treatment. Nonsurgical treatment options for golfer’s elbow include:
- Anti-inflammatory medicines (such as aspirin or ibuprofen)
- Review of sports equipment to ensure proper fit
- Physical therapy
- Steroid injections
- Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injections
- Forearm brace
If your symptoms do not respond after six to twelve months of nonsurgical treatments, your doctor may recommend surgery.