Medial epicondylitis—often referred to as “golfers elbow,” is a condition marked by small tears in the tendons of the elbow area. These tears occur on the inside of the elbow rather than on the outside, which occurs with “tennis elbow.” Golfers elbow occurs with cumulative and on-going trauma that is caused by repeated use of the arm and forearm muscles and most commonly affects men ages 20-49. Athletes and sports enthusiasts who play golf are at a higher risk for developing medial epicondylitis.
For golfers who take part in the sport every day or on a very regular basis, bone strength, the right technique and decreasing the intensity of play can oftentimes help keep tennis elbow at bay.
Symptoms of Medial Epicondylitis
Golfers elbow can can often feel like stiff elbow (frozen elbow). The pain and tenderness associated with medial epicondylitis or golfers elbow will occur on the inside of the elbow and will intensify when lifting, extending or making a fist. For some, the pain will radiate up and down the arm while for others the pain will stay primarily in the elbow itself. Numbness or tingling will often occur making the elbow area weak and stiff.
Treatment for Medial Epicondylitis
As with many sports-related injuries, RICE is typically the first form of treatment Dr. Millett will recommend. RICE stands for: rest, ice, compression and elevation.If the injury is related to overuse of the wrist, eliminating the activity all together for a duration of time will often heel the injury. Over time, physical therapy might also be required to help strengthen the elbow. In some cases, a splint or brace will be recommended.
If left untreated, tennis elbow may require surgical intervention. Surgery to repair elbow epicondylitis is offered by Dr. Millett. Dr. Millett will likely perform arthroscopic elbow surgery to repair the torn tendons. The procedure is a minimally-invasive, out-patient surgery that is most often a successful course of treatment for the patient.