Golfer’s Elbow 

What is Golfer’s Elbow?

Golfer’s elbow is a condition characterized by pain and inflammation due to damage to the muscles and tendons that cross the inner aspect of the elbow. While the pain is centred over the elbow area, in severe instances, it can spread to the forearm and wrist.

Contrary to perception, the condition does not affect golfers only. In fact, can happen to any person regardless of gender or age.  In particular, it can happen to those who engage in vigorous activities that have repetitive hand or forearm motions.

Athletes engaging in bowling, baseball, golf, or tennis are usually at a high risk of developing this condition.  Obese individuals, adults above 40 years as well as smokers, are also at a high risk of developing Golfer’s elbow.

Golfer’s elbow differs from tennis elbow in that the affected tendons for tennis elbow are on the outer aspect of the elbow.

Golfer’s Elbow 

What is Golfer’s Elbow?

Golfer’s elbow is a condition characterized by pain and inflammation due to damage to the muscles and tendons that cross the inner aspect of the elbow. While the pain is centred over the elbow area, in severe instances, it can spread to the forearm and wrist.

Contrary to perception, the condition does not affect golfers only. In fact, can happen to any person regardless of gender or age.  In particular, it can happen to those who engage in vigorous activities that have repetitive hand or forearm motions.

Athletes engaging in bowling, baseball, golf, or tennis are usually at a high risk of developing this condition.  Obese individuals, adults above 40 years as well as smokers, are also at a high risk of developing Golfer’s elbow.

Golfer’s elbow differs from tennis elbow in that the affected tendons for tennis elbow are on the outer aspect of the elbow.

Causes and Symptoms of Golfer’s Elbow

Causes

In Golfer’s elbow, there is damage to the muscles and tendons that control wrist and finger flexion, as well as turning the palm face down.  Impaired healing results in repair tissue that is disorganized and this results in pain when using these muscles.

Activities that can cause Golfer’s elbow include:

Sports-

  • Improper technique while lifting weights 
  • Throwing sports such as baseball or softball might cause strain to the tendons 
  • Sports such as baseball, golf, bowling, or tennis can also cause injury to the elbow

Occupational-

  • Butchers, plumbers as well as construction workers and regular computer users are also at a high risk of developing Golfer’s elbow given the nature of their work.

Symptoms

  • Unbearable pain near the bony knob on the inner aspect of the elbow
  • In some instances, the pain can extend to the entire forearm
  • Experiencing pain when trying to make a fist
  • Weakness in the hands and wrists as a result of elbow pain

How is it diagnosed?

Physical Examination

It can usually be diagnosed from signs and symptoms alone. The Orthopaedic Surgeon will check the area that is painful, as well as stress the affected muscles to confirm the diagnosis. Your doctor will also try to rule out other causes of pain in the elbow.

Imaging tests

X-rays are used in some cases to rule out other the causes of pain in the elbow joint. Ultrasound or MRI scans are helpful in confirming the are of damage in the affected tendons.

Golfer’s Elbow 

How is it diagnosed?

Physical Examination

It can usually be diagnosed from signs and symptoms alone. The Orthopaedic Surgeon will check the area that is painful, as well as stress the affected muscles to confirm the diagnosis. Your doctor will also try to rule out other causes of pain in the elbow.

Imaging tests

X-rays are used in some cases to rule out other the causes of pain in the elbow joint. Ultrasound or MRI scans are helpful in confirming the are of damage in the affected tendons.

Golfer’s Elbow 

Treatment Options

Golfer’s elbow tends to heal on its own. Taking a break from strenuous activities that strain the elbow joint muscles and tendons can help speed up the healing process by reducing the rate of wear and tear, and allowing the body to heal.

Keep in mind that if your condition requires surgery, your Orthopaedic Surgeon should always educate you on:

  • Risks of the surgery
  • How to prepare for a surgery
  • What will be required for post-op care

Physiotherapy
Targeted stretching, strength and flexibility exercises can help to alleviate pain and improve the function of the elbow.

Medications
Medications may be prescribed to help manage your symptoms (e.g. anti-inflammatory, paracetamol).

Surgery is a treatment option for persistent cases of golfer's elbow where non-surgical approaches have failed. 

Elbow Tendon Repair or Reconstruction
Surgery generally involves cleaning up and repairing the damaged tendon or reconstruct the damage tendon if it is irreparable.

Disclaimer

Shoulder | Elbow Orthopaedic Group does not endorse any treatments, procedures, products, or physicians that are referenced in this article. This information is provided as an educational service and is not intended to serve as medical advice. Anyone seeking specific orthopaedic advice or assistance should consult his or her Orthopaedic Surgeon.

If you have any queries, please do not hesitate to contact us at [email protected]

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