Golfer’s Elbow, or medial epicondylitis, is caused by trauma to the tendons that attach the forearm muscles to the inner side of the elbow. This can be related to an acute injury but most often is related to overuse and repetitive stress to the tendon attachment. Although it is often associated with golfers, medial epicondylitis is also prevalent in baseball, weight lifting and throwing sports. Activities involving forceful, repetitive use of the elbow and forearm such as carpentry, painting and landscaping can be associated with the condition in some cases.
Symptoms include pain on the inner side of the elbow often radiating down the forearm. There can be a mild ache at rest worsened with use of the arm. Wrist and elbow flexion with resistance such as lifting boxes, carrying groceries or moving furniture may cause increased pain. The elbow may have a feeling of stiffness and there may be a loss of strength in the arm. Occasionally, irritation of a nerve close by can present with pain radiating into the hand and numbness or tingling in the small and ring fingers.
Golfers elbow pain symptoms may be mild requiring no treatment or simply limiting your activities, rest and icing. If symptoms persist, splinting, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications orally or topically, and a home stretching program can be implemented. Supervised occupational therapy (OT) or physical therapy (PT) can be added in cases that do not respond to a home exercise program. Corticosteroid injections and rarely surgery are required in patients who are significantly symptomatic and fail to respond to less invasive treatments.
Treatment of golfers elbow pain and tennis elbow pain is available at Raleigh Hand to Shoulder Center. Non-surgical options are available in our office. Surgery is offered at our surgery center, when needed. Our doctors are members of the American Society for Surgery of the Hand and our OTs are certified hand therapists.
Dr. James Post is a native of Columbus, OH. He earned his doctorate in medicine from Medical College of Ohio in 1992. This was followed by an internship and residency in Orthopaedic Surgery at Indiana University Medical School in Indianapolis, IN. He completed his formal training in 1998 with a hand and microsurgery fellowship at University of Florida in Gainesville, Florida. He also had further training in hand surgery at the Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children. He joined Raleigh Hand Center in 1998.