Golfers elbow: Diagnosis and Treatment
Golfers elbow is a condition in which there is degeneration of the flexor tendons at their attachment to the medial epicondyle of thehumerus bone.
Before reading further please see the Elbow Joint Anatomy to get a better understanding (skip if you have already done so).
It is similar to tennis elbow except for the fact that it is much less common than tennis elbow.
Pain is located on the inner side of the elbow joint as compared to tennis elbow in which pain is located on the outer side of the elbow joint.
Pain may extend to the forearm and the little and ring fingers.
Pain is increased by the following activities
- squeezing a ball or bottle
- wringing clothes
- clutching a club
- opening a tight jar
- turning a key
Diagnosis is by clinical examination and history.
The doctor may test by flexing your fingers and wrist and supinating your forearm and extending your elbow. This maneuver will elicit pain over the inner side of the elbow.
Treatment of Golfers elbow includes non-surgical and surgical methods.
The goal of treatment is to replace the degenerated tissue with tough and strong fibrous tissue. This tissue is also less sensitive to pain. This can be done by inducing a inflammatory reaction at the site of degeneration
Non-surgical methods are
- restriction of activity that induces the symptoms (may require the use of a splint as it is hard to restrict activities that are a part of your daily routine)
- use of a brace near the elbow (this slightly loosens the muscle and also serves as a reminder to restrict activity)
- anti-inflammatory medication like ibuprofen, diclofenac and aspirin
- exercises to strengthen the musculature
- steroid injection at the site of tenderness (I have found that a single injection with out the use of local anesthetic agent at the point of maximum tenderness is most effective. Use of anaesthetic agent numbs the area and makes it difficult to localize the site of tenderness)
- manipulation of the wrist (I manipulate the wrist in extension and supination with elbow in extension 3 days after steroid injection as by this time the pain of injection has subsided)
Those patients who fail to response to non-operative treatment are taken for surgery. In surgery the diseased part of the muscle is removed.
I hope the information provided was helpful. If you have any query you can ask me at the contact me page.
This page was last updated on 11th February 2009.
Other causes of elbow pain...
Radial Head Fracture
Little League Elbow
Lateral Condyle Fracture
Elbow Joint Anatomy
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