Golfer’s elbow or Medial Epicondylitis is a condition that affects the medial aspect (or inside) of the elbow, and is caused by degeneration of one of the tendons of the forearm that starts at the elbow, on a bony prominence called the medial epicondyle, and allows you to flex your wrist and turn your hand inwards. It is thought to result from overuse, when excessive stress is placed on the common flexor-pronator tendon of the forearm. As a result, it is commonly seen in individuals who perform grasping and repetitive torqueing motions with their hands, wrists and elbows. That includes workers like mechanics and plumbers, and also athletes like golfers, tennis players, baseball players and weight-lifters. It is not uncommon for Golfer’s elbow and Tennis elbow to co-exist in the same patient.

Patients with medial epicondylitis typically complain of pain on the inside of the elbow. The pain may radiate down the front of the forearm towards the wrist. The pain is often worse with hand activities, especially gripping and twisting. Often patients complain that opening a jar, shaking hands, or turning a doorknob is painful. Some patients may notice weakness during gripping activities.
The diagnosis of medial epicondylitis is typically made by obtaining a thorough history of the patient’s symptoms and by performing a comprehensive physical examination. X-rays are obtained to rule out other causes of pain, but are usually normal in the setting of lateral epicondylitis. Sometimes an MRI is necessary to exclude other pathology in the area.
Golfer’s elbow is usually treated successfully by non-surgical methods. Initial treatment consists of activity modifications to avoid provocative actions, anti-inflammatory medications, exercises to stretch and strengthen the affected tendon, and frequently a brace, known as a counterforce strap.

On occasion, a steroid injection can also be performed to decrease inflammation in the tendon and speed the recovery process. Recently, several studies have shown that an injection of platelet-rich plasma (PRP) can be helpful in treating lateral epicondylitis.

The majority of patients have success with non-surgical treatment. In the rare situation in which the symptoms persist despite adequate conservative treatment, surgery can be performed. During surgery, the degenerative portions of the tendon are excised.

At Oceana Sports Medicine and Orthopaedic Center, Dr. Aboka performs minimally invasive, treatment of Golfer’s Elbow, facilitating your return to pain-free function. This procedure is outpatient/same-day surgery, and leads to less pain and scarring and quicker recovery and return to normal function.