Medial epicondylitis, more commonly known as Golfer’s Elbow, is a form of tendonitis that manifests on the inner side of the elbow. It is caused by the tendon in the forearm being stressed from constant use. The pain is most often associated with overloading the flexor wrist muscle.
- The main symptom is gradually escalating pain on the medial side of the elbow, without limiting its mobility, sensation and strength. The pain intensifies when performing throws and involves forearm resistance.
- Maximum tenderness is felt in the area of the initial attachment of muscles: reversing rounded and flexor carpi ulnaris.
- Depending on the changes, pain may occur at the beginning of physical activity or be so severe that will prevent a person from continuing activities.
Diagnosis is based on clinical examination, in some cases supplemented by additional tests. Ultrasound and magnetic resonance imaging may help in doubtful clinical cases and in overlapping pathologies. An X-ray examination may show changes in tendons and ligaments.
- Initially non-operative treatment is used: physical activity modification, ice packs, the use of anti-inflammatory agents.
- When pain symptoms are persistent a corticosteroid injection near the treated tendons is performed.
- At all stages of treatment physiotherapy plays an important role. The rehabilitation program includes isometric exercises and intensive resistance exercises.
- In cases of chronic inflammation, when non-operative treatment proves to be insufficient, surgery is recommended, after which rehabilitation exercise involving the movement of the elbow and wrist begin.
- After 6 weeks of treatment, the patient begins exercises to strengthen the muscle structure.
Both non-operative and operative treatment, give satisfactory results. In the case of athletes, the return to physical activity using by use of conservative treatment occurs gradually by increasing load, unless exercises cause pain. After surgery the return to sport activity takes 4 months.