Golfer’s Elbow: Painful Injury Can Affect Bowlers, Baseball Players & OthersJun 01, 2017 | NYSMI News, Orthopedic Surgery, Physical Therapy
By Evan Weil
What is Golfer’s Elbow?
Golfer’s elbow is a pain in the medial (inner) side of the elbow, commonly diagnosed in golfers, baseball players and bowlers. Diagnosed as medial epicondylitis, or swelling of the medial epicondyle, this painful injury is generally caused by repetitive flexing, gripping, or swinging that can cause pulls or tiny tears in the tendons in the forearm. Pain can stem from tendonitis, inflammation of the tendon, or tendonosis which is the degeneration of tendon collagen fibers. This area is prone to painful injuries, as the medial epicondyle is the location in which the wrist flexor tendons come together and attach to bone.
Symptoms of Golfer’s Elbow
Bending wrist, twisting forearm, or grasping objects can make pain worse. Grip strength is also noticeably decreased. Carrying objects heavier than a gallon of milk can become near impossible.
Non-Surgical Treatment Options
Over the counter, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAID) medication may help with the tendon inflammation. Other options are steroid medications and injections like cortisone, which will provide medication directly to the affected area, and Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) therapy, which can enhance the healing of muscle, tendon, and ligaments.
Physical therapy is commonly prescribed in order to regain grip strength, as well as overall strength of the forearm. Therapy will also include exercises all the way up to the shoulder, as an undiagnosed shoulder problem can affect the forearm and hand movements. At NYSMI you will not be treated by aids, assistants or interns, but by licensed physical therapists who work closely with your referring physician to develop and maintain a comprehensive plan of care. recovery period, doing physical therapy as much as possible.
Surgical Treatment Options
Surgeons can recommend one of two surgeries to relieve pain in the arm. Tendon debridement is a simple procedure to take out affected unhealthy tissue, and shave bone spurs that could be irritating the tendon. This procedure is essentially to clean up the area. The other procedure is called a Tendon Release (medial epicondyle release). This procedure is more complicated, but provides relief to patients suffering from extreme pain. The flexor tendon is then cut where it connects to the medial epicondyle. The surgeon splits the tendon and takes out any extra scar tissue. Bone spurs found on the medial epicondyle are removed as well to prevent damaging tissue. The surgeon also makes sure the ulnar nerve is not being pinched, as that could be another source of pain.
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Evan Weil, a senior at Scarsdale High School, participating in a six-week internship at New York Sports Medicine Institute. Weil will be attending Tulane University in the fall.