Golfer's elbow, also known as medial epicondylitis, is a condition characterized by pain and inflammation on the inside of the elbow. Despite its name, it can affect not only golfers but also individuals who engage in other repetitive arm motions or activities that strain the forearm muscles.
The condition is caused by repetitive or forceful wrist and finger movements, leading to overuse and strain on the tendons that attach to the medial epicondyle, a bony bump on the inner side of the elbow.
These tendons are responsible for controlling flexion of the wrist and fingers.
- Pain and tenderness on the inner side of the elbow, which may radiate to the forearm and wrist.
- Weakness in the affected arm, making it difficult to grip or lift objects.
- Stiffness and limited range of motion in the elbow joint.
Golfer's elbow is similar to tennis elbow, which instead affects the outer side of the elbow. While the names imply specific sports-related causes, both conditions can be caused by various repetitive activities, including golf, tennis, weightlifting, typing, and painting, or work/gripping/ manual labor.
Common first line treatment for golfer's elbow typically involves physiotherapy. They may recommend a combination of rest, ice or heat therapy, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) for pain relief, and specific exercises.
Stretching and strengthening exercises may be recommended to improve flexibility and reduce strain on the affected tendons. In severe cases or when conservative treatments fail, a doctor may consider other options such as corticosteroid injections or, rarely, surgery.
If you suspect you have golfer's elbow or are experiencing persistent elbow pain, it is advisable to consult a Physiotherapist for an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment plan.