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Golfer’s Elbow

The condition known as golfer’s elbow results in soreness and pain near the “funny bone” area. Nothing funny about it, golfer’s elbow got its name because it frequently strikes those engaged in the sport of golf, making the simple act of gripping a club difficult and painful. Improper techniques used during the activity can contribute to risk. Like tennis elbow, you don’t have to golf to get it; golfer’s elbow affects a wide variety of active people.

What causes it?

Golfer’s elbow is an overuse injury where repetitive use of the forearm muscle results in pain. Whereas tennis elbow affects the tendons on the outside of the elbow, golfer’s elbow strikes the tendons on the inside of the elbow. Those engaging in activities requiring vigorous and repetitive twisting and gripping are most susceptible.

How do you know you have it?

The most common sign is pain either during or just following activity, centered at the inside of the elbow. Other symptoms include:

  • Stiffness on the inside of the elbow
  • Difficulty gripping or holding on to things
  • Pain radiating down to the wrist
  • Acute pain when lifting against a force

How we fix it

The OSI upper extremity team is here to listen, discuss your concerns, and examine you for signs and symptoms of golfer’s elbow. Our goal is to have you enjoying the activities you love, without pain, by restoring strength and flexibility. While under our expert care, you may undergo the following:

  • Physical exam: Your doctor will perform a careful examination of your arm, fingers, and elbow; discuss activities that lead to symptoms; and ask about any history of injury, arthritis, or nerve disease.
  • X-rays: X-rays will allow your doctor to confirm the diagnosis of golfer’s elbow.
  • MRI: An MRI may be ordered to check for other issues, such as neck arthritis, which can lead to arm pain.

Nonsurgical Treatment

The vast majority of patients seeking relief from golfer’s elbow are successfully treated with nonsurgical techniques:

  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medicines
  • Physical therapy
  • Activity modification
  • Cortisone injection

Surgical Treatment

Your doctor may recommend surgery if symptoms do not respond to nonsurgical approaches, usually after a period of 6 to 12 months. In many cases, minimally invasive arthroscopic surgery is the preferred approach.