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Golfer's elbow, otherwise known as medial epicondylitis, causes inflammation and pain in the tendons connecting your forearm to your elbow. Typically, the pain centers on the bony lump near the inside of your elbow and may radiate to other parts of your forearm and occurs when you overuse the muscles in your forearm. Fortunately, the condition is easy to treat with proper rest. 

Causes of Golfer's Elbow

Just because the condition is called golfer's elbow, it doesn't only affect golfers. In fact, anyone who does activities involving repetitive wrist, forearm, or hand motions may end up with golfer's elbow. Some of these activities include the following:

  • Golf
  • Tennis
  • Badminton
  • Squash
  • Gymnastics
  • Weightlifting
  • Carpentry
  • Painting
  • Chopping wood
  • Sewing
  • Knitting
  • Typing

In addition to the above-mentioned activities, golfer's elbow may also occur if you have a history of shoulder, elbow, neck, or wrist injuries. Also, if you smoke or have type 2 diabetes, you may be at an increased risk of developing the condition.

Causes of Golfer's Elbow

Symptoms of Golfer's Elbow

Golfer's elbow symptoms may develop gradually or appear suddenly. Some symptoms you may experience include the following:

  • Tenderness or pain near the inner side of your elbow and along the side of your forearm
  • Stiffness
  • Weakness in your wrists and hands
  • Numbnessor tingling

Certain symptoms may increase with particular activities or gestures, such as the following:

  • Shaking hands
  • Lifting weights
  • Swinging a club or racket
  • Turning doorknobs
  • Flexing your wrist

Symptoms of Golfer's Elbow

Diagnosis of Golfer's Elbow

If you think you may have golfer's elbow, schedule an appointment with a physiotherapist. During your appointment, your doctor will perform an examination and use an MRI scan and ultrasound to help confirm a diagnosis. 

Treatment of Golfer's Elbow

If you have golfer's elbow, treatment is important in order to make a full recovery. Fortunately, treatment is fairly simple and may include the following:

  • Rest
  • Applying ice to affected areas
  • Over-the-counter pain relievers
  • Using a brace to relieve pressure and keep your injured tendons immobilized
  • Strengthen and stretch the affected area
  • Reducing pressure on the tendons in your elbow
  • Physical therapy

In some cases, golfer's elbow may require surgery. If your symptoms aren't improving with rest, physical therapy, and over-the-counter medications, talk to your doctor about surgical treatment options. Researchers and doctors develop new surgical treatments all the time, and many approaches are minimally invasive yet effective. 

It's important to give your injury time to heal, as well. Just because you're resting, applying ice, and taking medications to relieve the pain, don't assume it's okay to jump right back into your normal activities. If you do, you may worsen your injury. 

Prognosis of Golfer's Elbow

The sooner your doctor diagnoses and treats your golfer's elbow, the better chance you have at making a full recovery. Recovery periods vary from person to person depending on the severity of your condition, though many recover within a few weeks. Even if you have a more severe case of golfer's elbow, you may still make a full recovery with the proper treatment, rehabilitation, and rest.

Orthopedics, Golfer's elbow


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