Golfer's elbow is a condition that causes pain where the tendons of your forearm muscles attach to the bony bump on the inside of your elbow. The pain might spread into your forearm and wrist. Golfer's elbow is similar to tennis elbow, which occurs on the outside of the elbow. It's not limited to golfers. Tennis players and others who repeatedly use their wrists or clench their fingers also can develop golfer's elbow.
People who are suffering from golfer’s elbow often experience pain when making a fist or twisting the forearm. In many cases, the affected area is tender to the touch or slightly swollen. If you are suffering from golfer’s elbow, pain often seems to worsen when you attempt to flex your wrist, pick up something with your palm down or squeeze a ball.
If the condition is not treated promptly, golfer’s elbow can cause weakness in the hands or wrist as well as stiffness in the elbow. The treatments for golfer’s elbow and tennis elbow are similar in most cases, but you will need to seek medical care to learn the best way to handle your condition.
Golfer's elbow is characterized by:
The pain of golfer's elbow can come on suddenly or gradually. The pain might worsen with certain movements, such as swinging a golf club.
There is widespread confusion about how golfer’s and tennis elbow differ. And although they’re often confused, there are a few distinct characteristics of each condition that will help you tell them apart:
Golfer's elbow, also known as medial epicondylitis, is caused by damage to the muscles and tendons that control your wrist and fingers. The damage is typically related to excess or repeated stress - especially forceful wrist and finger motions. Improper lifting, throwing or hitting, as well as too little warmup or poor conditioning, also can contribute to golfer's elbow.
Besides golf, many activities and occupations can lead to golfer's elbow, including:
To cause golfer's elbow, the activity generally needs to be done for more than an hour a day on many days.
You could be at higher risk of developing golfer's elbow if you're:
You can take steps to prevent golfer's elbow:
Consult your doctor if rest, ice and over-the-counter pain relievers don't ease your elbow pain and tenderness. Seek immediate care if:
Treatment begins with avoiding activity that causes pain. To help relieve pain, use ice.
Most people will get better with rest, ice and pain relievers. Depending on the severity of your condition, the pain might linger for months to years — even if you take it easy and follow instructions on exercising your arm. Sometimes the pain returns or becomes chronic.