Golfer’s Elbow / Medial Epicondylitis
Affected here are the tendon attachment points of the muscles that flex the wrist joint and the fingers (in contrast to tennis elbow which affects the muscles that extend the wrist joint and fingers). This condition is also known as pitcher’s or thrower’s elbow. It is commonly associated with the result of incorrect handling and technique in various racket sports (golf, badminton, squash etc.), but it can also generally arise from overuse of forearm muscles. Therefore, it is not only sports men and women that are affected as the name suggests, but also people in certain professions such as construction site workers, waiters/waitresses, secretaries and those working in crafts.
Patients suffer from shooting pains on the inside of the elbow which can, under certain circumstances, radiate through the entire arm. Pain is usually triggered by applying pressure to the affected muscles, or through flexing of the forearm and the hand as well as closing the fist, especially if these movements involve being applied against resistance.
Ultrasound assessment can identify the inflamed and thickened tendon attachments. In advanced stages, calcification and thickening of the cartilage and the neighbouring muscle structure can be visible on an x-ray. Initially, the consequent, conservative therapy involves immobilisation, compresses, creams and anti-inflammatory medicines. Should these therapies fail, then the tension on the muscle structure can be effectively and permanently reduced by cutting into the affected muscle. As well as with tennis elbow, cutting of the irritated nerves at the end of the bone can be carried out to reduce or eliminate pain.
Additionally there can sometimes also be nerve compression syndrome. In golfer’s elbow it is the ulnar nerve and in tennis elbow it is the radial nerve. These can also be decompressed during the same operation.
Golfer’s elbow is categorized as a tendon complaint.
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