Golfer’s elbow, or medial epicondylitis, is similar to tennis elbow, but less common. This is a condition that causes pain and inflammation to the tendons that attach the forearm muscles to the bony knob on the inside of the elbow. Surrounding muscles also become affected. This happens when the muscles and tendons are overused. This condition is not limited to golfers. Tennis players, or those repeatedly using their wrists and forearm muscles can suffer from this as well.
Symptoms of Golfer's Elbow
Pain or tenderness usually occurs on the inside of the elbow joint. Occasionally, there is weakness, stiffness, or pain that is felt in the hand or wrist. Gripping or squeezing motions, such as in turning a doorknob, swinging a golf club or tennis racket, or flexing the wrist repeatedly, may become difficult, as weakness of the forearm muscles may increase. Tingling and/or numbness can also be felt in the fingers.
Causes of Golfer's Elbow
Golfer’s elbow, also called pitcher’s elbow, is caused by damage to the muscles and tendons that attach to the inside of the elbow. These muscles and tendons control movement of the wrists and fingers, and damage can lead to pain, restricted movement and inflammation. The damage is typically related to extreme force or repeated stress, as in forceful wrist and finger motions. It typically affects the right arm in right-handers and the left arm in left-handers.
Gripping or swinging clubs incorrectly or too forcefully, using a racket that is too heavy or too small, poor warm-up or conditioning before a sport, improper lifting or throwing, or improper technique when weight-lifting can also contribute to golfer’s elbow.
Additionally, this may occur with any activity that requires continual bending and straightening of the elbow, such as: painting, raking, hammering, chopping wood, using a computer, assembly-line work, and cooking. The activity generally needs to be done for more than an hour a day for several days to cause injury.
Rest is the initial and most important step in the healing of golfer’s elbow. Muscles and tendons that are overused simply need time to relax and rest. Frequent use of ice (3-4 times per day) reduces any inflammation that occurs. If pain or discomfort does not decrease within 3-4 weeks, therapy is advised to learn proper stretching and strengthening exercises to speed up the healing process.
If you need treatment for golfer’s elbow in Knoxville, TN, call us today to schedule an appointment.