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Golfer’s Elbow

  • What is Golfer’s Elbow?

    Golfer’s elbow refers to pain on the inside of the elbow caused by swelling of one of the tendons that join the forearm muscles to the elbow. The pain is found at the bony bump on the inner part of the elbow where the flexor tendons of the forearm attach to the part of the elbow called the medial epicondyle. For this reason, golfer’s elbow is also known as ‘medial epicondylitis’.

  • The pain can be caused by the following activities:

    • Bending the wrist
    • Squeezing a ball
    • Swinging a golf club
    • Swinging a racket forward
    • Turning a door knob
    • Weight training

    Golfer’s elbow can happen to anyone who uses the wrist or fingers repetitively. Activities that can cause it include digging, gardening and hammering nails.

  • The main symptoms of golfer’s elbow are tenderness and pain on the inside of the elbow. Other symptoms include:

    • Less strength than usual when holding something or squeezing your hand into a fist
    • Pain spreading down your arm – bending your wrist, twisting your forearm down or holding onto objects can worsen the pain
    • Worsening pain when lifting a heavy object with your palm facing up
  • Physiotherapy will reduce the pain and swelling and promote healing. Physiotherapy techniques may include:

    • Learning correct sports techniques, eg. golf swing, to avoid recurrence
    • Elbow taping or golfer’s elbow strap
    • Massage to ease tightness and tension in forearm muscles
    • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs to relieve pain
    • Pain relief and tissue repair treatments (eg. ultrasound, electrical stimulation of the nerves and heat therapy)
    • Putting ice on the elbow to reduce swelling
    • Resting the elbow
    • Stretching and strengthening exercises for the elbow muscles

    If these treatments do not work for you, your doctor may treat your elbow with a steroid injection. Surgery is usually only considered if all other treatments have not been successful.

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