Medial Epicondylitis (Golfer’s Elbow)

Medial epicondylitis, more commonly known as Pitcher’s or Golfer’s Elbow, is like lateral epicondylitis (tennis elbow) as it is also an inflammation of the tendons and muscles along the inner forearm, particularly where they are attached at the medial epicondyle. Which means it affects the inner aspect of the elbow rather than the outer. The condition is caused by motions involving repetitive bending of the forearm in toward the body with the wrist flexed as in a golf swing or a baseball pitch.

Symptoms

Symptoms include pain and tenderness at the medial epicondyle, and the pain gets worse when the wrist is flexed. The pain may spread down the forearm. Activities that use the flexor muscles to bend the wrist or grasp objects can make the injury worse.

Diagnosis

Medial epicondylitis is usually diagnosed by physical examination alone. Tenderness around the attachment of the medial flexor tendons and pain with use of the flexor muscles are the main symptoms. Sometimes medial epicondylitis has the same symptoms of a pinched ulnar nerve found with cubital tunnel syndrome. Nerve tests may be needed to determine which problem you have.

Treatment

Treatment begins with first aid including R.I.C.E (Rest, Icing, Compression and Elevation).

Some are advised to practice isometric exercises. With which the muscle tightens but there is no movement in the joint. Resistance is applied with the joint in a neutral position, either at the limits of motion, or at various angles in between.

Following an evaluation, treatment may start with anti-inflammatory medicine. Several treatments are available to limit the inflammation and pain from medial epicondylitis. Treatments include ice, heat, iontophoresis, TENS, ultrasound, or phonophoresis.

Anti-inflammatory medications such as aspirin or ibuprofen can be used to reduce inflammation. A cortisone injection may reduce the inflammation and pain.

If conservative treatment fails, surgery can be done to treat golfer’s elbow. The tendons that attach to the medial epicondyle are released and allowed to loosen a bit. The surgery provides fresh, healthy bone for the tendon to reattach itself. It usually takes about 3 months to recover from this kind of surgery.