Golfers elbow is a tendonitis condition that develops on the inside part of the elbow in the bony area where the flexor tendons attach. It is the counterpart to tennis elbow which is the same type of tendonitis condition that develops on the outer part of the elbow. Although it is termed golfers elbow, it is not just playing golf that can lead to the condition.
Activities such as weightlifting, cleaning, or any activity that involves flexion of the elbow and usage of those muscles where they attach can lead to the problem.
Who is most likely to get the condition? Of course those people participating in activities that involve sports are most at risk. But that is not all, people who have no clue as to what activity they had been doing to lead to the condition often develop symptoms of medial epicondylitis. It may be something as simple as carrying a heavy briefcase, or performing some sort of cleaning activities over a weekend.
Most commonly, golfer’s elbow occurs in middle-aged individuals. Chalk it up to another excellent occurrence of getting older! Surgery is not usually necessary for this condition. This is secondary to a couple of reasons. The first is that usually it is a self limiting conditions and gets better with no treatment or can get better faster with sufficient treatments. Also the second reason is that surgery does not really work that well for medial epicondylitis so should truly only be considered as a last resort.
The treatments that have been shown to be effective for medial epicondylitis include such things as rest where the inciting activity is avoided for a while along with taking over-the-counter medications or just Tylenol and anti-inflammatories. This may include ibuprofen or naproxen.
Physical therapy exercises to help substantially in alleviating the pain from golfers elbow. Along with the therapy, ultrasound and laser treatments to help decrease the inflammation as well can help get one out of pain faster.
One of the mainstays of treatment for epicondylitis is a steroid injection into the area of pain. Numbing spray and cream can be put over the skin to make the injection much more tolerable as it is much more sensitive in that skin region than the outer part of the elbow. The part of the injection that helps the most is for doctors to poke the bone where the tendon attaches to incite healing factors to come into the area and help the tendonitis of the main problems is a lack of blood supply for healing – poking the bone stimulates that blood flow.
On the whole, golfer’s elbow patients are able to avoid surgery. It may just take a very long time to go away.