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Golfer’s Elbow Treatment Orange County

Orange County’s Expert Elbow Surgeons

Golfer’s elbow, medically known as medial epicondylitis, causes pain, tenderness and inflammation where the tendons of your forearm muscles attach to the bony bump on the inside of your elbow. The pain may spread to your forearm and wrist flexor muscles. Some may suffer from neck stiffness and tenderness due to irritation of the median nerve.

Similar to tennis elbow, golfer’s elbow refers to an injury that affects the inside of the elbow (medial epicondyle) rather than the outer part (lateral epicondyle). Pain from golfer’s elbow is usually caused by overuse and repetitive movement from swinging a golf club, however, it is not limited to only golfers. Tennis players and others who repeatedly perform a gripping action or resisted wrist and finger flexion can also develop golfer’s elbow. Having golfer’s elbow does not mean you’ll have to forego the golf course or other favorite activities forever, though. Resting your affected forearm and getting the treatment of a skilled orthopedic elbow doctor can get you back on the green again.

Do I Have Golfer’s Elbow?

Sports that require repetitive gripping motions such as throwing or swinging can often lead to golfer’s elbow. However, this condition is not strictly limited to sport-related injuries. People whose work involves repetitive strain through computer keyboard use or manual labor where grip strength is important can also be susceptible to developing an overuse injury such as golfer’s elbow.

The condition is common among athletes in the following sports:

  • Golfers
  • Baseball pitchers
  • Rock climbers
  • Tennis players or other racket sports
  • Weight lifters
  • Javelin throwers

Symptoms of Golfer’s Elbow

The most common symptom of golfer’s elbow is pain along the palm side of the forearm, from the elbow to the wrist, along the same side as the median nerve (the same side as the little finger on your hand). Symptoms usually develop gradually over time. It is important to recognize early signs of golfer’s elbow before the injury develops into something more chronic and difficult to treat.

Symptoms of golfer’s elbow may include:

  • Pain when bending the wrist toward the palm against resistance
  • Pain worsens when squeezing or gripping the palm (squeezing a rubber ball)
  • Tenderness on the inside of the elbow, directly over the bony medial epicondyle (inside of the elbow)
  • Stiffness in the elbow and making a fist may hurt
  • General weakness in the hands and wrist
  • Numbness and tingling that may radiate to one or more fingers, typically the ring and little fingers due to proximity to the median nerve

Golfer’s Elbow Diagnosis

Your elbow surgeon at Hoag Orthopedic Institute will carefully conduct a physical exam to evaluate symptoms of pain and stiffness and perform diagnostic tests to apply pressure to the affected area. Your doctor will also ask you to move your affected arm in various ways to rule out any other conditions that may mimic golfer’s elbow. Your doctor may also request an X-ray of your elbow to rule out other causes of pain, such as a broken bone or undiagnosed arthritis. Rarely, more detailed soft-tissue imaging tests such as an MRI are necessary.

Nonsurgical Treatment for Golfer’s Elbow

Almost all patients recover from golfer’s elbow without having to rely on surgical treatment. By resting your affected arm and using an elbow brace, you can heal and strengthen the impaired tissues.

Nonsurgical treatment may include:

  • Rest and modification/avoidance of activities that will aggravate your golfer’s elbow
  • Applying ice to the affected area and compression wrap
  • Over-the-counter non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) for pain and swelling reduction (such as ibuprofen)
  • Physical therapy to improve functional mobility, flexibility, and decrease pain
  • Elbow brace to rest the affected muscles and tendons
  • Heat after the initial acute phase may also be beneficial
  • Corticosteroid injections to relieve symptoms
  • Review your golf swing with a golf instructor or sport performance specialist to ensure your technique is correct

Make sure to consult with your orthopedist for the best rehabilitation plan and before returning to your usual activities and modify your routine activities to ensure your pain and tenderness do not persist.

Golfer’s Elbow Surgery

While performing surgical treatment is rare, it may be necessary in the case of chronic golfer’s elbow or when pain and symptoms do not subside after 6 to 12 months of conservative treatment. Surgery involves recessing and releasing the portion of the injured tendon. This is a minimally invasive surgical procedure using either arthroscopic or endoscopic techniques.

Questions about golfer’s elbow treatment?
Contact HOI today at (855) 999-4641 to book an appointment with one of our specially trained elbow surgeons.

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