Golfers Elbow / Medial Epicondylitis

Golfer’s Elbow, or medial epicondylitis, is a painful condition of the elbow/forearm caused by overuse.  Playing golf and other racquet sports can cause golfer’s elbow, however, most people who experience this condition don’t play golf.

Symptoms

The symptoms of golfer’s elbow gradually develop over time.  Pain usually starts out over a few weeks or months as a result of forceful or repeated use of the elbow, hand, and wrist over the outside part of the elbow.  Less common, pain comes on suddenly, caused by forceful activities such as pulling or lifting heavy objects.

Symptoms can include:

- Pain or burning on the inside of the elbow

- Pain radiating to the inside part of your forearm or wrist

- Weak grip strength

- Difficulty with gripping and pulling activities

- Difficulty and pain with common household tasks - turning knobs, holding a cup

Causes

Gradual onset without a specific cause is most commonly found with golfer’s elbow. Everyday tasks such as painting, typing/computer use, excessive writing, and of course playing golf or throwing sports/activities.

Sudden onset of tennis elbow can be caused by garden work - use of a lawn mower or chainsaw, digging, shovel use, and other recreational activities which require vigorous use of the elbow. Carpenters, plumbers, and painters are particularly susceptible to golfer’s elbow - these jobs require constant gripping and repetitively lifting.

Diagnosis

Your physical therapist will first take a history of your symptoms, including questions to understand your pain pattern, history of symptoms, how your symptoms affect your function throughout the day, and any help or doctors you may have seen. Next, your therapist will perform a thorough examination of your wrist and hand mobility, strength, muscle flexibility, and ability to perform functional activities. Performing a comprehensive evaluation will help the therapist to understand the cause of the symptoms and how to treat it.

Treatment and Exercises

Your treatment plan will be personalized to you and your goals for therapy, whether it is getting back to golf to being able to drive without symptoms. The program will likely include hands on therapy and exercises focused on strengthening and flexibility that will help you get back to living the life you want.

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