Medial Epicondylitis (Golfers Elbow):
Symptoms & Treatment Options
Golfer’s elbow is an injury involving the muscles that are responsible for wrist, hand and finger flexion. The exact site of the injury is referred to as the medial epicondyle which is a bony bump situated on the inside of the elbow joint. Golfer’s elbow is also referred to as medial epicondylitis. The complaint is an overuse injury similar to tennis elbow, however lateral epicondylitis affects the outer side of the elbow joint. Golfer’s elbow produces a characteristic pain due to an inflammatory response within the respective muscles and connective tissues. Repetitive flexing, gripping, or swinging type activities contribute to the development of golfer’s elbow.
Signs & Symptoms Of Golfer’s Elbow
People suffering from golfer’s elbow will usually report pain when they perform gripping or resisted wrist and finger flexion. Pain may also be exacerbated when stretching the forearm, hand and fingers. It’s common for tenderness or sensitivity to be noted directly at the inside of the elbow joint. Sufferers may also notice minor to moderate weakness of the forearm muscles during particular activities.
Causes Of Medial Epicondylitis
Golfer’s elbow is caused by damage to the muscles at the point that they attach to the elbow. Golfer’s elbow may be acute or chronic. Medial epicondylitis is caused by repeated wrist flexion or bending the wrist, particularly against resistance such as holding a golf club or other racquet type sports. Other common causes include throwing, manual labour occupations and computer usage.
Appropriate Diagnosis Is Essential
Reaching an accurate diagnosis is important to promptly assist your recovery & rehabilitation. Your chosen health care practitioner such as a Sports Chiropractor or Physiotherapist will initially discuss your complaint with you as well as perform various clinical tests. These tests are used to rule in or out potential serious pathology as well as associated conditions. Following this your therapist may suggest that further imaging is required. These images may include Ultrasound or MRI to ascertain the extent of injury and your prognosis.
Conditions Which May Mimic Medial Epicondylitis
It’s important to recognize that various conditions may mimic the symptoms associated with Golfer’s elbow. Cervical spine injury such as disc bulge or joint sprain may refer pain to the elbow and forearm. This is particularly common in individuals who suffer from median nerve entrapment.
Golfer’s Elbow Treatment
Medial epicondylitis has been shown to respond favorably to short term conservative and non-invasive treatment strategies such as Chiropractic and Physiotherapy. The aims of such treatment is to:
Reduce elbow pain
Enhance and assist with tissue repair
Assist with returning normal joint movement and function to the elbow and kinetic chain
Return individual to normal activities once muscle strength has been restored
+ Chiropractic & Physiotherapy
Manual therapy may include gentle mobilisation of the elbow and kinetic chain joints, protective strapping such as Kinesiotape, forearm stretches, soft tissue massage and ultimately progression towards strengthening based exercises.
+ Corticosteroid Injections
Corticosteroid injections may be warranted if your condition is severe and unresponsive to traditional management strategies. If so we recommend discussing the pro’s and con’s thoroughly with your practitioner and general practitioner.
Chiropractor Medial Epicondylitis Research
Resolution of pain and improvements in overall elbow range of motion were noted following conservative Chiropractic management of Golfers elbow following a Mill’s manipulation. Kaufman, R. (2000). Conservative Chiropractic care for lateral epicondylitis. Journal of Manipulative & Physiological Therapeutics, 23(9); 619 – 622.
Conservative non-invasive management as provided by musculoskeletal practitioners such as Chiropractors, Physiotherapist’s & Osteopaths including eccentric exercise, general joint mobilisation and fascial release appear to be beneficial in the treatment of medial epicondylosis. Hudes, K (2011). Conservative management of a case of medial epicondylitis in a recreational squash player. The Journal of the Canadian Chiropractic Association, 55(1); 26 – 31.
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