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Golfer’s Elbow

  • What is Golfer’s Elbow?

    Golfer’s elbow refers to pain on the inside of the elbow caused by swelling of one of the tendons that join the forearm muscles to the elbow. The pain is found at the bony bump on the inner part of the elbow where the flexor tendons of the forearm attach to the part of the elbow called the medial epicondyle. For this reason, golfer’s elbow is also known as ‘medial epicondylitis’.

  • The pain can be caused by the following activities:

    • Bending the wrist
    • Squeezing a ball
    • Swinging a golf club
    • Swinging a racquet forward
    • Turning a door knob
    • Weight training

    Golfer’s elbow can happen to anyone who uses the wrist or fingers repeatedly, and activities that can cause it include digging, gardening and hammering nails.

  • The main symptom of golfer’s elbow is tenderness and pain in the inside of the elbow. You may have other symptoms including:

    • Less strength than usual when holding something or squeezing your hand into a fist
    • Pain spreading down your arm – Bending your wrist, twisting your forearm down or holding onto objects can worsen the pain
    • Worsening pain when lifting a heavy object with your palm facing up
  • Physiotherapy will reduce the pain and swelling, and promote healing. Physiotherapy techniques may include:

    • Education on correct sports techniques or golf swing to prevent the condition from returning
    • Elbow taping or golfer’s elbow strap
    • Massage to ease tightness and tension in the forearm muscles
    • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
    • Pain relief and tissue repair treatments (eg. ultrasound, electrical stimulation of the nerves, and heat therapy)
    • Putting ice on the elbow to reduce swelling
    • Resting the elbow
    • Stretching and strengthening exercises for the elbow muscles

    If these treatments don’t work for you, your doctor may treat your elbow with a steroid injection. Surgery is usually only considered if all other treatments have not been successful.

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