Golfers Elbow

Medial epicondylitis, also called “Golfers elbow,” causes pain over the inner portion of the elbow in both amateur and professional athletes.  It may be associated with a traumatic event, but it can also occur due to overuse activities such as lifting or gripping objects, as well as the use of improper equipment or poor playing technique.

Though swelling may be localized, it can also include the proximal forearm and wrist of the involved extremity. Pain is a very common symptom and though it may be short lived, it could extend for a long period of time.

Diagnosis is based on a patient’s symptoms and careful physical examination.  Specific physical examination maneuvers allow for accurate diagnosis and help rule-out other sources of elbow pain.

X-rays are obtained to evaluate for associated bone spurs, calcific deposits, and/or osteoarthritis.  An MRI may be obtained if symptoms persist to confirm a localized inflammatory response.

Treatment includes conservative care such as ice, activity restrictions, splinting, physical therapy (stretching) and anti-inflammatory medications.  A localized steroid injection may be considered if symptoms persist.

Surgery is only indicated after all conservative measures have failed and consists of focal debridement of the inflamed tissue to allow for a healthy healing response. Initial recovery consists of 4 to 6 weeks with full return to sports in 3 to 4 months.

Alfred A. DeSimone, MD
Director of Sports Medicine
Board Certified Orthopaedic Surgeon