Golfer's Elbow

Symptoms

Pain and tenderness to touch on the medial side of the elbow that can extend down the inner side of the forearm. Symptoms can come on suddenly after a forcible use of the hand or wrist but more commonly develop gradually over time. Onset is often related to an increase or change in either sports or work-related activity. Weakness may be present with gripping or use of the hand. The pain is worse with shaking hands, turning a door knob, using a racquet/golf club.

Causes

This is an overuse condition related to repetitive activity. There is a breakdown or tendinosis of the muscles and tendons that control the wrist and fingers. This is due to excessive stress on these structures from repetitive activity or poor technique. Commonly found in throwing sports, racquet sports, golf, weight-lifting, painters, plumbers, data-entry positions.

Relief

Physical Therapy treatment involves a very specific “eccentric” exercise strengthening program in conjunction with gentle stretching exercises to gradually repair the damaged muscles and tendon. This program must be monitored closely to prevent exacerbation of symptoms. Joint mobilization of the elbow can decrease stiffness and improve the ability to recruit muscles without pain. Rest from aggravating activity may be required to some extent to allow healing to occur. Anti-inflammatory medication and/or a steroid injection may also reduce inflammation and allow an acceleration of the strengthening process over time. Supportive braces can allow a greater tolerance of return to activity. Your therapist can advise a brace that is appropriate.

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