Medial epicondylitis (golfers elbow)

Medial epicondylitis is a common condition in not only golf players but also in those doing repetitive activities that involve bending of the wrist such as carpentary work etc. especially when there has been a recent increase in activity.

Anatomy

Making up the elbow joint is the bone in the upper arm (humerus) and one of the bones in the lower arm (ulna). The bony bumps at the bottom of the humerus are called the epicondyles. The bump on the side closest to the body is called the medial epicondyle, and the bump on the outer side of the elbow is called the lateral epicondyle.

The muscles that attach to this medial bump are involved in bending the wrist. When the muscles are overused their tendons get repeatedly pulled at their attachment on the medial bump (medial epicondyle). This may lead to tiny tears in the tendon that without rest from activity will result in inflammation and pain. As it is the tendons that bend (flex) the wrist involved this condition is also commonly called flexor tendonitis.

Symptoms of Medial epicondylitis

•    pain or tenderness on the inner side of the elbow
•    pain when you bend your wrist
•    pain when you make a fist with your wrist bent
•    pain that shoots from the inner elbow down into the forearm or up into the upper arm

Diagnosis and treatment

Your physiotherapist will be able to diagnose and treat this condition. Initial management will involve rest from aggravating activities to allow healing of the tendons to occur. Initial physiotherapy will aim to reduce pain and inflammation through the use of electrotherapeutic modalities and gentle soft tissue techniques. Taping or the wearing of a brace may also be used to help reduce the traction effect of the tendons on the medial epicondyle. Once the inflammation has settled and sufficient time has been allowed for the tendons to heal then progressive strengthening and stretching of the appropriate muscles will commence to allow a return to activity.