Golfer’s elbow, despite the name, is not a condition limited to golfers and athletes. In fact, only a small percentage of patients diagnosed with golfer’s elbow develop this condition due to playing golf. Though it is more common in physically active and middle-aged people, anyone can suffer from golfer’s elbow. Fortunately, effective treatments for golfer’s elbow are available to bring patients relief.
What Is Golfer’s Elbow?
Golfer’s elbow is a repetitive motion injury also known as medial epicondylitis. It is an inflammation in the medial epicondyle, the bony bump on the inner elbow. Repetitive motions like arm swinging and wrist clenching, similar to how one would play golf, may cause this condition.
Medial epicondylitis presents itself with pain and tenderness on the inner side of your elbow. Wrist or forearm movements may aggravate the pain. You may also feel numbness or tingling. These sensations may radiate toward the forearm to the little and ring fingers. Your elbow may also feel stiff, and you may experience weakness in your hand and wrist.
How to Treat Golfer’s Elbow
Because golfer’s elbow is an overuse injury, prevention of symptoms is possible with rest and proper body mechanics. Correct form and equipment during sports can help avoid medial epicondylitis. Strengthening your forearm muscles and stretching before strenuous activities are also helpful.
Though you can prevent golfer’s elbow from developing, some individuals are just more prone to the condition. People in their 40s and those who perform repetitive work for long periods are likely to get it. Smoking and obesity are also risk factors.
Even if you develop golfer’s elbow, you can manage it with the help of your orthopedic doctor. Different treatment methods may work for you. Below are some examples of the most effective treatment methods for medial epicondylitis.
Over-the-counter pain relievers are usually the first line of treatment for medial epicondylitis. Ibuprofen, naproxen sodium, and acetaminophen are examples of pain-relieving drugs. These oral medications are easy to take and readily available.
Physical Therapy and Activity Modifications
Therapy for golfer’s elbow requires knowing when and how often to use your elbows. You can avoid worsening the pain by aiding the natural healing process; give your elbows ample rest. Using a brace or a splint can also help the body rest and prevent further injuries. Applying ice to the elbow for 15 to 20 minutes can also slow down the swelling and pain.
However, resting for the entirety of your injury isn’t good either. It may prove beneficial to perform stretching and strengthening exercises to keep the elbow flexible and healthy. Depending on how you respond to the therapy program, your physical therapist can eventually increase the intensity of the exercises until you’re able to return to your daily activities.
When medications and therapy do not work, surgery may be the only option left. Often, surgery is needed when pain and other symptoms still exist despite conservative treatment methods. This kind of elbow surgery entails the realignment of tendons. Any nerves and other body structures around it are also released or repaired.
After surgery, it is necessary to immobilize the elbow with a splint for about two weeks. Therapy is also vital to regaining your ability to move the elbow again.
Medications, physical therapy, and surgery are considered traditional approaches to help people with golfer’s elbow. Recently, platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy has shown to be a promising treatment that produces effective results. In this treatment, plasma from the patient’s blood is extracted and reinjected to the patient’s elbow. This way, the inflammation and pain in the elbow are healed naturally.
PRP therapy has many benefits over other forms of treatment, one of which is that PRP is all-natural and generally does not cause any adverse side effects. The injected PRP simply serves to speed up the body’s natural healing process. It is also a quick procedure, not just in regard to the length of the process but also recovery speed.
Golfer’s Elbow Treatment in Ellicott City, MD
Contrary to its name, golfer’s elbow is an injury that can affect anyone. Athletes and workers who repeatedly move their elbows have a higher risk for such a condition. However, with prevention and treatment, people who suffer from golfer’s elbow can fully enjoy doing the things they love.
If you have golfer’s elbow, you need the best treatment from expert doctors in your area. If you live near Ellicott City, we at Orthopaedic Associates of Central Maryland have your back. We are a team of certified medical professionals capable of diagnosing and treating orthopedic conditions such as golfer’s elbow.
Contact us today by calling (410) 644-1880 or fill out our online request for an appointment form. We look forward to helping you!