Golfers Elbow (Medial Epicondylitis)

Golfer's elbow, or medial epicondylitis, is a condition that causes pain and inflammation on the inside of the elbow. It is typically caused by repetitive motions or overuse of the forearm muscles.

Golfers Elbow (Medial Epicondylitis)
Golfers Elbow (Medial Epicondylitis)
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Your Guide to Understanding Golfers Elbow (Medial Epicondylitis)

What is Golfers Elbow (Medial Epicondylitis)?

Golfer's elbow, also known as medial epicondylitis, is a condition that causes pain and inflammation on the inside of the elbow. Despite its name, this condition can affect not only golfers but also individuals who engage in repetitive activities that strain the forearm muscles. It is characterized by damage and irritation to the tendons that attach to the bony bump on the inside of the elbow, called the medial epicondyle.

The primary cause of golfer's elbow is repetitive or excessive use of the forearm muscles. Activities such as golfing, throwing, lifting weights, repetitive gripping or twisting motions, and even typing can contribute to the development of this condition. The repeated stress on the tendons leads to micro-tears and degeneration, resulting in pain and inflammation.

How can Chiropractic help treat Golfers Elbow (Medial Epicondylitis)?

Chiropractic services offer a unique approach to alleviate golfer's elbow, also known as medial epicondylitis. Chiropractors focus on identifying and addressing the underlying causes of the condition, such as joint dysfunctions or muscle imbalances. Through manual adjustments, chiropractors realign the affected joints, reducing stress and tension on the tendons.

They may also use techniques like soft tissue therapy, such as Graston or manual release, to break up scar tissue and promote healing in the affected area. Additionally, chiropractors provide exercises and stretches to improve flexibility, strength, and overall function of the elbow. By taking a comprehensive approach, chiropractic care can effectively alleviate pain and promote recovery from golfer's elbow.

What causes Golfers Elbow (Medial Epicondylitis)?

Golfer's elbow, or medial epicondylitis, is typically caused by repetitive or excessive use of the forearm muscles. Activities that involve repetitive gripping, flexing of the wrist, or twisting motions can strain the tendons that attach to the bony bump on the inside of the elbow, called the medial epicondyle.

When these tendons are subjected to repeated stress, they can develop small tears and degenerative changes, leading to pain and inflammation. This condition is commonly associated with golfing, hence the name, but it can also occur in individuals who engage in other activities such as throwing, lifting weights, typing, or any repetitive motion that strains the forearm muscles.

What treatments might help Golfers Elbow (Medial Epicondylitis)?

Treatment for golfer's elbow (medial epicondylitis) aims to alleviate pain, reduce inflammation, promote healing, and improve the overall condition. Here are some ways in which treatment can help improve golfer's elbow:

  • Rest and activity modification: Giving the affected arm adequate rest is crucial to allow the injured tissues to heal. Avoiding activities that exacerbate the pain, such as gripping or repetitive wrist movements, can prevent further irritation.
  • Ice therapy: Applying ice packs to the affected area can help reduce pain and inflammation. Ice should be applied for about 15-20 minutes at a time, several times a day, particularly after engaging in activities that worsen the symptoms.
  • Pain relief medication: Over-the-counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen or naproxen, can alleviate pain and reduce inflammation. However, it is important to consult with a healthcare professional before taking any medication.
  • Physical therapy exercises: Specific exercises and stretches can help strengthen the muscles and tendons, improve flexibility, and promote healing. A physical therapist can guide you through a customized program based on your condition and needs.
  • Brace or splint: Wearing a brace or splint can provide support and help relieve stress on the injured tendon. These devices can help immobilize the joint, reducing strain and promoting healing.
  • Manual therapy: Chiropractic or physiotherapy treatments may include techniques such as massage, soft tissue mobilization, and joint manipulation to help reduce pain, improve range of motion, and restore function.
  • Corticosteroid injections: In some cases, a healthcare professional may recommend corticosteroid injections to provide temporary relief from pain and inflammation. However, these injections are typically used sparingly due to potential side effects.
  • Lifestyle modifications: Making changes in your daily activities and ergonomics can help prevent further strain on the elbow. Proper technique and equipment use while playing sports or performing repetitive tasks can reduce the risk of re-injury.

Signs of Golfers Elbow (Medial Epicondylitis):

Golfer's elbow, or medial epicondylitis, is characterized by pain and tenderness on the inside of the elbow. Here are some common signs and symptoms to watch out for:

  • Pain: The primary symptom of golfer's elbow is pain along the inner side of the elbow. The pain may be mild initially but can gradually worsen over time. It is often described as a dull ache or a burning sensation.
  • Tenderness: You may notice tenderness when you press on the bony bump on the inside of your elbow, known as the medial epicondyle. The area may feel sensitive and painful to touch.
  • Weak grip strength: Golfer's elbow can cause weakness in the affected arm, making it difficult to grip objects firmly. You may find it challenging to perform simple tasks like lifting, carrying, or shaking hands.
  • Limited range of motion: You might experience a decrease in your ability to fully bend or straighten your elbow. Activities that require wrist movements or forearm rotation may also be limited due to pain and stiffness.
  • Pain with certain movements: Specific movements, such as flexing the wrist, gripping objects, or twisting the forearm, can aggravate the pain. These activities may elicit sharp or shooting pain in the inner elbow region.

Symptoms of Golfers Elbow (Medial Epicondylitis):

Golfer's elbow, or medial epicondylitis, can cause several symptoms. Here are the common signs to watch out for:

  • Pain and tenderness: The primary symptom is pain on the inside of the elbow. You may feel a dull ache or a burning sensation that can range from mild to severe. The area may also be tender to touch.
  • Weak grip strength: Golfer's elbow can lead to weakness in the affected arm, making it difficult to grip or hold objects firmly. This can affect everyday tasks such as shaking hands, lifting objects, or carrying items.
  • Stiffness and limited movement: You might experience stiffness in the elbow joint, making it challenging to fully bend or straighten your arm. Movements that require flexing the wrist or rotating the forearm can also be restricted.
  • Pain with activities: Certain activities can aggravate the pain, such as gripping objects, swinging a golf club, throwing a ball, or even simple actions like turning a doorknob. The pain may be sharp or shooting in nature.
  • Radiating pain: In some cases, the pain may radiate down the forearm or into the wrist and hand. You may feel discomfort or tingling sensations in these areas.
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When is the right time to see a Chiropractor for Golfers Elbow (Medial Epicondylitis)?

The right time to see a chiropractor for golfer's elbow (medial epicondylitis) is when you are experiencing persistent or worsening pain, difficulty with daily activities, or limited mobility in the affected area.

If you have been experiencing pain in your elbow that lasts for more than a few days, interferes with your ability to perform regular tasks, or if the pain is severe, it is advisable to seek professional help. These healthcare professionals can assess your condition, provide an accurate diagnosis, and develop a personalized treatment plan to address your specific needs.

Meet our Lead Chiropractor

Dr. Brett Herlehy

Dr. Brett Herlehy

Chiropractor

Doctor of Chiropractic from New York Chiropractic College

Dr. Brett enjoys working with active individuals looking to reach the next level and also anyone who is trying to incorporate more physical activity into their daily lives.

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