Medial epicondylitis, more commonly known as golfers elbow, is an injury caused by overuse. It is a similar injury to tennis elbow, however it is on the inside (medial side) of the elbow instead. It is also referred to as throwers elbow or little league elbow. There are a number of terms that you may come across being used interchangeably, however they do all mean slightly different things:
- Medial epicondylitis – Acute inflammation of the wrist flexor tendon on the inside of the elbow
- Medial epicondylosis – Degeneration of the wrist flexor tendon on the inside of the elbow
- Medial epicondylalgia – Pain come from the wrist flexor tendon on the inside of the elbow
Causes of golfers elbow
Golfers elbow results from repeated bending of the wrist or wrist flexion, particularly against resistance such as holding and moving a golf club. Certain manual jobs and occupations can also cause golfers elbow, such as working at a computer or carpentry. Repeated overuse causes the tendon to become inflamed and painful.
Symptoms of golfers elbow
Symptoms of golfers elbow include tenderness on the bony area on and around the inside of the elbow. This can be particularly tender when gripping things with the hand. Weakness is often also experienced in the wrist, with pain occurring when bending the wrist. Golfers elbow often comes on gradually, starting off as a niggle and then becoming stiff and painful, resulting in a loss of function and preventing movement.
Treatment of golfers elbow
Please note in this article we are speaking about a true medial epicondylitis, the assumption here is that it is an acute injury where there is irritation and inflammation about the medial flexor tendons at the elbow. For more chronic injuries, we would change this treatment. Treatment for golfers elbow includes:
- Protect the area and stop movement and activities that irritate the area, such as gripping activities.
- Wear an elbow support relieve tension and reduce movement, whilst acute. This doesn’t mean wear a brace. A suppor takes a little tension from the medial tendons whilst they are hyper-irritable.
- Electrotherapy, such as ultrasound or laser treatment performed by a chiropractor or physiotherapist to reduce pain and inflammation and help the healing process.
- Anti-inflammatory medication as need and coordination by your GP or pharmacist
- Sports massage, performed by a chiropractor or physiotherapist.
- loading strategies and rehabilitation exercises to reduce pain and improve inflammation
- Strengthening exercises to improve tendon qualities and prevent future episodes