What to know about Golfer’s Elbow

Medial epicondylitis (commonly called golfer’s elbow or thrower’s elbow) is a condition that develops when the tendons on the inside of the forearm become irritated, inflamed, and painful due to repetitive use of the hand, wrist, forearm and elbow. It is often diagnosed in people who perform repetitive motions, such as swinging a golf club or tennis racket, or activities requiring gripping, twisting, or throwing. Even using a computer or performing yard work can cause the condition. It is most common in men over the age of 35. A physical therapist can help decrease the pain caused by medial epicondylitis, and improve the affected elbow’s motion, strength, and function.

What is Golfer’s Elbow?

Medial epicondylitis is a condition that occurs when the tendons on the inside of the forearm become irritated, inflamed, and painful due to repetitive use of the hand, wrist, and forearm. A tendon is a soft tissue that attaches a muscle to a bone. The group of muscles affected by medial epicondylitis are those that function to flex (bend) the wrist, fingers, and thumb and pronate (rotate palm-down) the wrist and forearm. The muscle group comes together into a common sheath and attaches to the humerus bone of the upper arm. This bony prominence, called the medial epicondyle, is located along the inside of the elbow. Pain occurs on or near the medial epicondyle, at the area where the tendon connects to the bone. Repetitive forces can cause the tendon to become tender and irritated, and without treatment, can cause it to even tear away from the bone. In addition, as the muscle groups travel across both the elbow and the wrist, they function to stabilize at the elbow allowing for wrist movement. As this is a 2-joint tendon, it is more vulnerable to injury.

How Does it Feel?

Persons with medial epicondylitis may experience:

• Pain along the inside of the forearm with wrist, hand, or elbow movements.

• Pain or numbness and tingling that radiates from the inside of the elbow down into the hand and fingers, with gripping or squeezing movements.

• Tenderness to touch and swelling along the inside of the forearm.

• Weakness in the hand and forearm when attempting to grip objects.

• Elbow stiffness.

How Can a Physical Therapist Help?

It is important to get proper treatment for medial epicondylitis as soon as it occurs, as tendons do not have a good blood supply. An inflamed tendon that is not treated can begin to tear, causing a more serious condition.

When a diagnosis of medial epicondylitis is made, you will work with your physical therapist to devise a treatment plan that is specific to your condition and goals. Your individual treatment program may include:

• Pain Management

• Manual Therapy

• Range-of-Motion Exercises

• Strengthening Exercises

• Patient Education

• Functional Training

Contact Well Done Physical Therapy in Waco, TX as soon as possible so we can help create an individualized physical therapy regimen to help you recover.

Further Reading

The American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) believes that consumers should have access to information that could help them make health care decisions, and also prepare them for their visit with their health care provider.

 

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