What is Medial Epicondylitis (Golfer’s Elbow)?
The elbow joint is made up of the humerus (upper arm bone) and the radius and ulna (forearm bones). The bony bumps at the bottom of the humerus are the epicondyles. The bump on the inner side of the elbow is called the medial epicondyle.
Medial epicondylitis is a condition that occurs as a result of overusing the forearm muscles that flex and pronate (turn palm down) the hand and wrist. These muscles attach by tendons to the medial epicondyle. When these muscles are overused, the tendons become inflamed. Small tears in the tendon tissue can occur, and the muscles may strain and irritate their attachment at the bone. The condition causes pain and tenderness in the medial epicondyle.
- Most commonly occurs in the athletes that frequently flex and pronate their wrist but can also occur from repetitive daily life activities
- Overuse of the wrist flexor muscles or from frequent twisting at the wrist
- Inadequate rest
- Direct blow to the inside of the elbow in very rare cases
Signs & Symptoms
- Pain with golfing activities
- Pain or tenderness on the inner side of the elbow
- Pain when the wrist or hand is flexed or pronated against resistance
- Pain worsened by lifting a heavy object
- Pain with making a fist, gripping an object, shaking hands or turning door handles
The treatment type and the duration of treatment will depend on many factors, including the severity of the condition.
Non-operatively, one of the first steps in treating medial epicondylitis is to eliminate the activities that cause the symptoms, or make the symptoms worse. Activity modification should be attempted for at least six weeks to see if symptoms improve. Counterforce bracing may be worn just below the elbow to provide support to this area. Treating the area with an ice pack and performing an ice massage are also recommended. A course of physical therapy or occupational therapy may be beneficial.