Despite the name, the medical condition known as golfer’s elbow does not only affect golfers. Any repetitive hand, wrist or forearm use can lead to golfer’s elbow. When pitchers experience golfer’s elbow, the condition is often referred to as pitcher’s elbow. Construction workers, athletes and painters are just a few of the professions that are at a greater risk of developing golfer’s elbow.
Golfer’s elbow, also known as medial epicondylitis is a type of tendinitis. A condition marked by pain, inflammation and irritation caused by small tears to the tendon that connect the forearm to the elbow. It typically develops from overuse or injury to the inside tendon of the elbow.
Symptoms may develop slowly overtime or suddenly if an injury is involved. Typically an individual will feel pain when they bend their wrist towards the forearm. They may also experience stiffness and difficulty moving the elbow.
Rest and ice will often lead to improvement, but if the pain lingers it is strongly advised to seek medical attention to determine the cause and treatment options.
At Hand to Shoulder Center of Wisconsin, the seven fellowship-trained hand surgeons treat a number of individuals each year for golfer’s elbow. Physical therapy is routinely discussed and prescribed as part of the recovery process. Pain relieving treatments and strengthening exercises are often used to help reduce stress to the elbow, speed recovery and alter the risk of recurrence. A brace may also be used to give extra support.
Conservative treatment options usually work well and provide full recovery. However, if the elbow remains problematic and pain persists after three to six months, surgery may be warranted to remove damaged parts of the tendon, promote healing and reduce pain.
So pound that hammer, paint those walls or golf a round or two and just have fun… But remember, use proper form, stretch before and after activities and stop any activity that starts to give you pain