Golfer’s Elbow Medial epicondylalgia, better known as golfer’s elbow, is an over-use injury of the tendons around the inside of your elbow. It tends to occur as a reaction to an increased demand on the tendons beyond their capability. Those with golfer’s elbow will typically report pain and stiffness, which may reduce in the short term with brief gentle movement. The tendons on the inside of your elbow and tissues around this area, typically cause the pain from golfer’s elbow. The tendon attaches the muscles on the inner side of your forearm, responsible for bending your wrist forwards and bending your fingers, to the bone you feel on the inside of your elbow, called the medial epicondyle.
Contrary to what the name implies, you don’t have to play golf to get golfer’s elbow. Day to day repetitive tasks such as opening jars, painting, and gripping objects can become problematic. Repetitive movements like hammering or typing can irritate this area. Those who do sports such as rowing or weight lifting will also be susceptible to golfer’s elbow. Like other tendon problems, golfer’s elbow can be treated in much the same way. Recognizing the early warning signs can stop it turning into a long standing, chronic problem.
First and foremost, you must reduce the activities that irritate your tendon. If stress continues to be placed on the tissues, the area will become more and more irritated. Find ways to modify day to day tasks such as opening a jar with the other hand using a cloth, or taking more regular breaks when you paint. Improving blood flow to the area can help to stimulate the healing process. Place a hot water bottle over your inner arm to reduce the stiffness you feel when the tendon has not been used for some time.
There are various supports you can buy for golfer’s elbow. Whilst they are an excellent additional treatment, you should only wear your support during provocative activities. If your pain is irritated by work, speak to your employer about changing your work station set up. With perseverance, over time your symptoms should reduce in intensity. This may take anything from a week, to a month depending on the severity of your tendon pain and how long you have had it. It is important to increase your movement with exercises and help build strength back into your tissues. Your clinician will guide you through the specific exercises which are often best done little and often throughout the day to avoid provoking your pain too much.