Most golfers have a love-hate relationship with the game, but that doesn’t keep us from hitting the greens every chance we get. But when elbow pain keeps you from making your best shot, you may need to hit the pause button and take care of your golfer’s elbow.
Golfer’s elbow, medically known as medial epicondylar pain, stems from an injury to the muscles responsible for flexing your fingers and wrist. Pain is felt on the inside of the elbow, and caused by repetitive stress from forceful overuse of the wrist and fingers.
While common in golfers, medial epicondylar pain is also seen in rowers, baseball players, weight lifters, and in occupations that place repetitive rotational torque on the structures of the elbow.
The medial epicondyle is a bony prominence at the end of your humerus, or upper arm bone. It serves as a point of origin for the common flexor tendon of the wrist and finger flexor muscles.
The medial epicondyle protects the ulnar nerve that runs in a groove behind it. When struck, the medial epicondyle produces a painful tingling sensation in the ulnar nerve, and we say we have hit our “funny bone”.
Golfer’s elbow is actually an injury to the tendons of the muscles that flex the wrist and fingers, and rotate the hand palm down. In golfers, it is more likely to occur in the trailing arm, not in the lead arm.
Golfer’s elbow Is a cousin to tennis elbow, which affects the lateral epicondyle.
Golfer’s elbow is an overuse syndrome from repetitive motion. It begins when healthy muscles and tendons are subjected to more force than they can handle, and small tears to the tendon occur that worsen over time, causing pain and inflammation. Golfer’s elbow is more often seen in amateur golfers than in pros.
Chronic golfer’s elbow that does not respond to treatment for inflammation may indicate unhealthy degenerative changes in the muscle tissue that will not heal on their own.
Premature release of the wrists during the downswing is a common mechanical cause of golfer’s elbow. Other related mechanical causes include weakness in the core, pelvis and hips; limited range of motion in the hip and ankle; and poor balance.
Golfer’s elbow is diagnosed with a clinical examination, and often confirmed with imaging by ultrasound or MRI.
At NYDNR, we use dynamic real-time ultrasound to view the structures of the wrist and elbow in motion. Ultrasound imaging is able to reveal structural abnormalities like tendon tears, scar tissue, inflammation and trigger points.
At NYDNR, We provide comprehensive individualized treatment for our patients with golfer’s elbow. Your treatment plan may include some or all of the following:
The joint pain specialists at NYDNR know how to heal golfer’s elbow, and to equip you with skills and strategies to avoid elbow injury in the future.