Friday, April 22, 2011

The Basics of Medial Epicondylitis, Also Called Golfer's Elbow

Medial epicondylitis is called Golfer's Elbow. It is a degeneration of the tendons that bend the wrist toward the palm of the hand. These tendons are located above the bony bump on the inside of the elbow, which is called the medial epicondyle. Hence the name.

While called golfer's elbow, it can be caused by any repetitious use of these muscles. The muscles that pull the wrist down are called flexor muscles. These muscles join together at the elbow and attach as one tendon to the elbow and it is called the common flexor tendon. Activities such as cleaning, moving furniture, even something seeminly innocuous like playing foosball game can be an inciting activity.

As these muscles are used in activities such as golf, the muscles contract and pull against the tendon. When these muscles are overused, these tendons may become inflamed.

Common symptoms include pain and tenderness at the medial epicondyle and often worsens when the wrist is bent.

Treatments for golfer's elbow is typically non-surgical and includes the following:
Rest with activities being avoided that exacerbate itIceBracing which is called counterforce bracing - stops or lessens the big stresses from reaching the epicondyleAnti-inflammatory and analgesic pain medication such as naproxen, ibuprofenMassagePhysical therapy exercisesSteroid injectionsAlternative investigational injections like platelet rich plasmaSurgery

By and large, medial epicondylitis responds well non-operatively. It may take over a year for the symptoms to go away fully. Surgery is unusual for the condition, but can help with recalcitrant cases.

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