Golfers Elbow (or medial epicondylosis) is very similar to the much more common tennis elbow, but occurs on the inside rather than the outside of the elbow.
What it is
Much like tennis elbow, golfers elbow gains its name from a common activity that may result in the injury, there are however a number of non golf related activities that can result in this condition.
The injury generally occurs as a result of repetitive use of the wrist flexor muscles on the underside of the forearm, which have a common tendon attachment at the elbow. Micro tears usually form in the tendon over time as a result of repetitive lower grade forces but can occur with larger traumatic force.
Golfers elbow is equally common in men and women and peaks in prevalence between the ages of 35 and 45.
Symptoms of Golfers Elbow
- Pain and tenderness over the inside of the elbow often radiating down into the forearm
- Pain with using the muscles on the underside of the forearm and gripping activities.
- Pain with lifting or bending the arm
- Difficulty with extending the arm fully.
- Can involve pain or tingling into the 4th and 5th fingers.
The first phase of management involves rest from activity causing the irritation where possible or activity modification if complete rest is not an option. A compression strap can be a useful way of reducing strain on the damaged area and allowing continued function.
Physiotherapy involving stretching and tissue release aims to offload the effected tissue and decrease pain and has been shown to give superior results to steroid injection or rest alone. Acupuncture has also been shown to be effective in reducing pain and improving function of the arm.
The second phase in management of Golfers elbow involves a programme of graduated eccentric loading exercises to strengthen the effected tissue.
This phase of treatment will also normally look at correcting any biomechanical and postural issues, which may have contributed to the development of the condition.