Many people know about tennis elbow, but do you know about golfers elbow? This is a very similar condition, affecting the medial or inside area of your elbow. It is also called medial epicondylitis – meaning an inflammation or irritation of the tendons that attach to the inside or medial part of your elbow. In this case, the inflammation or irritation or injury causes small tears in the tendon that connects the muscles from the inside area of the elbow to your wrist.
People with this condition can experience pain when they flex or bend their wrist towards their forearm, as you would when holding a golf club hence the name ‘golfer’s elbow’. The pain can extend down the forearm to the little finger the most common cause is overuse or repetitive use of the tendons that bend the wrist. Sports that might aggravate this condition include golf, tennis, squash, weight lifting, baseball, cricket or rowing, and likewise, some work activities may give these symptoms. Therefore, people who are involved with jobs like; butchers, plumbers, construction workers, high use computer users, assembly line workers or cooks can also be at risk.
Treatment can be quite simple. Resting from the aggravating activity is important. Speak with your health professional if the pain does not settle or if you cannot cease the activity. They will help you manage the condition. Other options may include icing the affected area. Remember to wrap an ice pack to protect your skin. Massage may be of benefit (ice massage with an ice cube can also help). Wearing a support or brace (ask your health professional to assist with this). Exercises to help stretch and strengthen the area are also very important, as progressive strengthening of the tendons is effective. Other options such as dry needling or acupuncture may be of assistance. Seek assistance from your health professional to get the best advice.
Remember; gradually return to your activities like golf when the pain is gone. If it related to a sporting activity or work practise, try to have the technique reviewed with an instructor/work supervisor in case you need to have to make changes so it does not reoccur. Most people with golfers elbow recover with rest, ice and support/ pain relievers, and support from their health professional. Sometimes the condition can linger on for months, so be prepared to seek help and be patient.