Golfer’s Elbow (Medial Epicondylitis)
Golfer’s elbow typically presents with sharp pain over the medial (inner) aspect of the elbow and is made worse with flexing (bending) the wrist or fingers against resistance.
What causes it?
Golfer’s elbow often arises after overloading the tendon, either from sports, gym or other activities. There is usually pain with gripping or carrying things. It can also happen in those who do not play golf! Sometimes pain can radiate along the forearm if the nearby nerves are also irritated.
How can I help myself?
For the majority, the symptoms will settle down with anti-inflammatory gels/creams and stretching/strengthening the forearm muscles. Sometimes, oral analgesic medicines may be required to help with the pain.
You could also consider acupuncture or manual therapy for muscle tightness, but must be careful that this does not worsen things.
When to seek help?
If the medial elbow pain continues to limit your activities or if it is not improving despite the other treatments, it is probably a good idea to be seen before it becomes chronic.
What are the treatment options?
Following assessment with a history and clinical examination, your clinician might organise an ultrasound of your elbow to assess the tendon and identify whether it is a tendinopathy or if a tear is noted as well. Should a tear be noted, an MRI might be useful to confirm this.
Treatment often relies on physiotherapy, however, in some cases, shockwave therapy might be an option, for tendinopathy, or if a tear has been found, then a PRP injection can be helpful. Both should be discussed with your doctor prior to being undertaken.