Golfer’s elbow (medial epicondylitis) is a form of tendonitis — inflammation or irritation of a tendon. It affects the tendons that attach your forearm muscles to the bony knob on the inside of your elbow.
This condition is common to golfers, however, people who repeatedly use the same arm motions and finger clenching or play throwing sports can also develop it.
Dignity Health offers unparalleled physical therapy, rehabilitation, and sports medicine at our four Bay Area hospitals — Saint Francis Memorial Hospital and St. Mary’s Medical Center in San Francisco, Sequoia Hospital in Redwood City, and Dominican Hospital in Santa Cruz. To find an orthopedic specialist that’s right for you, use our convenient online Find a Doctor tool.
Causes of Golfer’s Elbow
Golf’s repetitive forceful wrist movements and finger clenching is a main risk factor for golfer’s elbow. Similar movements in throwing sports and other activities can also cause it.
Repetitive motions or overuse injuries are the main causes of any type of tendonitis. As muscles and tendons are stressed over and over again, wear and tear happens over time. As you age, your tendons become more susceptible to stresses and injuries as they slowly weaken and become less flexible.
Golfer’s Elbow Symptoms
The hallmark symptoms of golfer’s elbow are tenderness and pain on the inside of the elbow, especially with movement. Other signs and symptoms include:
- Difficulty making a fist or clenching your fingers
- Joint stiffness
- Mild swelling
- Numbness or tingling below the elbow
- Weakness or tightness in the forearms
Treatment & Prevention of Golfer’s Elbow in the Bay Area
In most cases, golfer’s elbow responds well to rest, ice, and over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications. In severe cases, elbow surgery may be necessary to repair damage to the tendons and forearm muscles.
Tennis ball squeezes, wrist curls, and reverse wrist curls can help you strengthen your forearm muscles and prevent golfer’s elbow.
Athletes should remember to warm up before and stretch after activities. For golfers, slowing your golf swing to reduce the force on your arm when striking the ball can also help.
Looking for orthopedic care to help you get back in the game? Call Dignity Health at (844) 387-6324 to request a doctor referral.
Dignity Health offers personalized treatment for golfer’s elbow in San Francisco, Santa Cruz, and Redwood City.