Golfer’s elbow is a painful inflammation of the bony bump on the inner side of the elbow. The medical term for golfer’s elbow is medial epicondylitis.
The elbow joint is made up of the bone in the upper arm (humerus) and one of the bones in the lower arm (ulna). The bony bumps at the bottom of the humerus are called the epicondyles. The bump on the side closest to the body is called the medial epicondyle. The tendons of the muscles that work to bend your wrist attach at the medial epicondyle. Golfer’s elbow is also referred to as wrist flexor tendinopathy or elbow tendinopathy.
Golfer's elbow is caused by overuse of the muscles that bend your fingers and wrist. When these muscles are overused, the tendons are repeatedly pulled where they attach to the bone. As a result, the tendons get inflamed. This commonly happens in sports such as golf, in throwing sports, and in racquet sports. It may also happen in work activities like carpentry or typing.
If you have had tendinopathy for a long time, scar tissue may develop in the tendon. This is called tendinosis.
Golfer's elbow causes pain on the bony bump on the inner side of the elbow. You may also have pain along the entire inner side of the forearm when the wrist is bent. You may have pain when you make a fist.
Your healthcare provider will examine your elbow and check for tenderness.
To treat this condition:
In severe cases, you may need surgery.
The length of recovery depends on many factors such as your age, health, and if you have had a previous injury. Recovery time also depends on the severity of the injury. A mild injury may recover within a few weeks, whereas a severe injury may take 6 weeks or longer to recover. This problem can sometimes be long-lasting and can even come back once you are better. You need to stop doing the activities that cause pain until the elbow has healed. If you keep doing activities that cause pain, your symptoms will return and it will take longer to recover.
Everyone recovers from an injury at a different rate. Return to your activities depends on how soon your elbow recovers, not by how many days or weeks it has been since your injury has occurred. In general, the longer you have symptoms before you start treatment, the longer it will take to get better. The goal is to return to your normal activities as soon as is safely possible. If you return too soon you may worsen your injury.
You may return when you are able to forcefully grip a bat or golf club, or do activities such as working at a keyboard without pain in your elbow. It is important that there is no swelling around your injured elbow and that it is as strong as the uninjured elbow. You must have full range of motion of your elbow.
Golfer’s elbow occurs because you overuse the muscles that bend your wrist. Slow down activities that cause pain. Wearing a tennis elbow strap and doing elbow stretching exercises may help prevent this problem.