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Golfers elbow (medial epicondylitis) is a similar injury to tennis elbow only it affects the inside of the elbow instead. Golfers elbow is more common in throwers (throwers elbow) and golfers hence the nicknames.
Symptoms of Golfers Elbow:
- Pain on the bony bit on the inside of the elbow.
- Weakness in the wrist.
- Pain on the inside of the elbow when you grip something hard.
- Pain when wrist flexion (bending the wrist palm downwards) is resisted.
- Pain on resisted wrist pronation - rotating inwards (thumb downwards).
Causes of Medial Epicondylitis
Medial epicondylitis is caused by repeated wrist flexion. This is the movement of bending the wrist down (whe the palm is facing downwards). It can occur from sports including golf or throwing actions, as well as in occupations such as on production lines or manual jobs like carpentry. It tends to occur after a period of repeated wrist flexion, which the body is unaccustomed to.
The wrist flexor muscles, which are found on the palm side of the forearm, become painful and inflamed at their attachment point on the inner elbow.
Golfers Elbow Treatment
What can the athlete do about golfers elbow?
- Ice the injury for two days (15 mins at a time up to six times a day).
- After 3 days apply heat and use a heat retainer.
- A number of braces and supports are also available to help reduce the load on the elbow enabling it to heal.
- See a sports injury professional who can advise on treatment and rehabilitation.
What can a sports injury specialist or doctor do?
- Apply ultrasound or laser treatment.
- Prescribe anti-inflammatory medication such as ibuprofen.
- Use sports massage techniques.
- Give a steroid injection.
Rest is a very important component in the healing of this injury. It may heal quickly within two weeks but you could suffer with this problem for longer. When the symptoms have settled down it is essential you fully rehabilitate and strengthen the elbow and follow guidelines that will help you avoid the injury in the future:
- Correct technique - especially if you are a thrower or golfer. See a good coach if you are not sure how.
- Use a forearm brace or heat retainer if you have a weak wrist or elbow.