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Golfer’s Elbow/Medial Epicondylitis

Orange County’s Expert Elbow Surgeons

Golfer’s elbow, medically known as medial epicondylitis, is a type of tendonitis that causes pain, tenderness, and inflammation in the muscles on the inside of the elbow and where the tendons of the forearm attach to the bony bump on the inside of your elbow. Golfer’s elbow is similar to tennis elbow, which occurs on the outside of the elbow. The condition may be caused by overuse or general wear and tear of the bones, muscles, and connective tissues. Although elbow pain from golfer’s elbow usually gets better within a few days, if pain persists, it may be time to consult with an elbow doctor so they can properly examine, diagnose, and treat you.

Golfer's elbow was named due to many people with this condition participate in sports requiring repetitive movements, such as swinging a golf club, however, golfer’s elbow is not exclusive to only golfers. Tennis players and other activities that require repetitive gripping motions, such as throwing, rock climbing, racket sports, or weight training, can also lead to golfer’s elbow. This condition can also be diagnosed in people with professions that require gripping and twisting, such as carpenters and plumbers. Your elbow doctor will help you get the treatment you need so you can go back to your favorite activities or profession as soon and safely as possible.

Do I Have Golfer’s Elbow?

Golfer’s elbow may be a sudden or gradual condition, depending on your circumstances. This condition is typically related to excess or repeated stress – especially force used to bend the wrist toward the palm.

You may have golfer’s elbow if you notice:

  • Pain and tenderness on the inner elbow that may extend down the inner side of the forearm
  • A stiff elbow, especially when attempting to make a fist or while squeezing, or gripping objects
  • Weakness in the hands and wrists
  • Numbness or tingling in the ring and little fingers

Golfer’s Elbow Diagnosis

You should seek treatment if your elbow pain does not improve. To evaluate pain and stiffness, your elbow doctor may apply pressure to the affected elbow or ask you to move your elbow, wrist and fingers in various ways. Before making an official diagnosis, your doctor may need to take X-rays to rule out any related causes of elbow pain such as fracture or arthritis.

Non-surgical Treatment for Golfer’s Elbow

Avoiding any activity that causes pain to the affected elbow is the first important step. Your elbow surgeon may also prescribe the following non-surgical treatments:

  • Rest is important, as repeatedly using your affected arm will only prolong healing and worsen pain.
  • Over-the-counter pain medication such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen can reduce pain and swelling, or your doctor may recommend steroid injections as a more potent anti-inflammatory medication.
  • Apply ice to the affected elbow in 20-minute intervals several times throughout the day for several days.
  • Your doctor may recommend you wear a brace to reduce tendon and muscle strain
  • Your doctor may suggest specific exercises for stretching and strengthening the affected area

If you are an athlete, make sure you review your golf swing with a sports performance specialist to ensure you are using proper technique. Make sure you get clearance from your orthopedic doctor before returning to your activities.

Golfer’s Elbow Surgery

Surgery (medial epicondyle release) is not a common treatment for golfer’s elbow, but may be necessary if your condition does not respond to conservative treatments within 6 to 12 months. There are several surgical techniques used in medial epicondyle release surgery, including the minimally invasive arthroscopic method. Surgery involves cutting the damaged and inflamed portion of the tendon and removing any scar tissue or debris that aggravates the elbow. Most patients have this procedure as an outpatient, meaning they go home the same day as the surgery after recovering for a few hours afterwards.

Looking for an elbow surgeon in Orange County
to treat your Golfer’s Elbow? Call Newport Orthopedic Institute at
(949) 722-7038 for a consultation.

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