Golfer’s Elbow (Medial Epicondylitis)

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An Overview on Golfer’s Elbow (Medial Epicondylitis)

Golfer’s elbow, otherwise known as medial epicondylitis, is commonly seen in adults between the ages of 20-49 years. This elbow condition is caused by damage to the flexor and pronator tendons attaching at the medial epicondyle of the elbow. The muscles and tendons may be injured from overuse, traumatic injury or poor body mechanics during sports. Santa Barbara, Goleta, Santa Maria and Ventura, California orthopedic elbow specialist, Dr. Jervis Yau is highly experienced at treating golfer’s elbow in athletes of all levels and returning them to their active lifestyles.

Despite being called “golfer’s elbow,” many people with this condition are not golfers. Overuse injury of the medial elbow may be see in laborers, overhead throwers, and racquet sports.

Golfer’s Elbow Symptoms

Symptoms of medial epicondylitis include tenderness and pain located on the inner portion of the elbow. The pain is typically felt with simple movements such as twisting a doorknob, squeezing an item or shaking hands. Other symptoms may include weakness, numbness, and tingling that sometimes can radiate into the forearm, wrist and hand.

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Golfer’s Elbow Diagnosis

Dr. Yau will perform a medical review and physical examination to diagnose golfer’s elbow. Medial epicondylitis is usually a clinical diagnosis based on the nature of the pain and location.  X-rays may be obtained to rule out other causes of elbow pain such as fracture and osteoarthritis.

Golfer’s Elbow Treatment

Non-Surgical

Patients are encouraged to contact Dr. Yau at the onset of pain so the condition can be treated as quickly as possible. The initial treatment for medial epicondylitis is activity modification, ice and anti-inflammatory medications. A brace may be used to decrease the severity of symptoms during activities.  Dr. Yau may also prescribe a physical therapy program to improve the strength and flexibility of the elbow.

Surgical

Surgical treatment for medial epicondylitis is rare and reserved only for patients who have failed extensive conservative treatment over time.  During the procedure, the diseased portion of the tendon will be debrided and then repaired back to the bone through use of suture anchors.

For additional resources on golfer’s elbow, or to determine the correct treatment approach for medial epicondylitis, please contact Dr. Jervis Yau, orthopedic elbow specialist in the Santa Barbara, Goleta, Santa Maria and Ventura, California communities.

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