Interesting Facts about Golfers Elbow
Golfers elbow, also known as medial epicondylitis, is a condition which describes pain on the inner aspect of the elbow (medial epicondyle) mainly affecting the common flexor tendon. The pain can spread down to the forearm and wrist and sometimes proximally to the arm. This is a condition caused by repetitive movement. Pain usually develops gradually over time, eventually strength may be compromised interfering with activities of daily living.
Causes of Golfer’s Elbow
Golfer’s elbow is caused by the constant repetitive stress on the common flexors’ tendon located on the inner aspect of the elbow. The two muscles which are more likely to be involved are the pronator teres and the flexor carpi radialis. Besides that, eliciting exaggerated force on simple tasks like gripping too hard or long term of bad technique in lifting or throwing may also contribute to the condition.
During the initial stage, inflammation may be present, causing localized swelling and pain to the area. However, as the condition worsens, degeneration changes of the common flexors tension takes place, during this stage, inflammation may or may not be present.
Signs and Symptoms of Golfer’s Elbow
- Localized pain on the inner aspect of the elbow
- Pain on the wrist flexor muscles
- Pain with movements, especially performing gripping tasks or making a fist
- Stiffness on the elbow
- General weakness in hand and arm
- Numbing or tingling sensation in the ring and little finger
Physiotherapy Management in Golfer’s Elbow
During the acute stage, avoid carrying out activities which triggers the pain, and allow the tendon to rest and heal. Electrotherapy such as the ultrasound and transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) will be used to help with the healing process and pain management. Application of kinesiotape on the forearm and elbow can also be done to relieve some stress on the tendon and the medial epicondyle.
Concurrently, stretching and eccentric strengthening of the common flexor muscles will be given. Extensive research has proven the benefits of eccentric muscle training on degenerative muscles as it is more effective in reducing pain. Eccentric exercises also enhance the mechanical properties of the degenerative tendon, improving its durability and strength. The muscle is being lengthened during an eccentric contraction.
Physiotherapists will also provide ideas for realistic workplace modification and suggestions to prevent the recurrence of the condition. Such as lifting with the wrist in a neutral position, taking rest or alternating between tasks to avoid overstressing of the muscles.