Medial Epicondylitis or golfer's elbow is a painful condition related to overuse in which pain develops on the inside of the elbow. This condition is similar to tennis elbow except that it occurs on the inner side of the elbow (as opposed to outer elbow in tennis elbow). The muscles of the forearm that help grip strength, twisting and flexing the wrist converge into one tendon that attaches to the inside of the elbow. With overuse, this tendon can develop inflammation and strain causing tendon degeneration resulting in golfer's elbow.
Patients with golfer's elbow may experience pain and decreased strength with gripping, twisting and flexing the wrist. Often this condition may be aggravated by a sport activity such as a golf swing or tennis forehand or even an occupational requirement such as twisting a screw driver.
Treatment of this problem, as with tennis elbow, is first targeted at reducing any painful inflammation in the elbow. Anti-inflammatory pills (Motrin, Alleve), elbow bracing and avoidance of aggravating lifting motions are typically combined to treat golfer's elbow. A tailored physical therapy protocol may be used to help stretch and strengthen the elbow. Most cases of golfer's elbow will improve with this type of treatment. However, if symptoms still persist, a cortisone injection may be used. This is a strong anti-inflammatory medicine given in the area of tendon inflammation.
Surgical treatment of golfer's elbow is considered if symptoms do not improve with the above listed treatments. In this procedure a small incision is made over the inside of the elbow. The degenerated portion of the tendon is excised and the healthy portion of the tendon is repaired to the humerus with bone anchors. Elbow arthroscopy may be used to address additional pathology in the elbow when necessary. Patients return home the same day as surgery in a soft dressing over the elbow and can immediately start moving the elbow.
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