Golf Elbow is a condition in which pain is caused in the inner part of the elbow at the area where the tendons bending the fingers and the wrist connect to the bone. The pain may project to the forearm and up to the wrist.
Golf elbow is common among athletes and professionals who perform repeated bending or forceful closure of the fingers.
Causes for Golf Elbow
Golf Elbow is a result of damage caused to the bending tendons and muscles in the forearm responsible for bending the wrist joint and the fingers.
Characteristics of Golf Elbow
Pains in the inner part of the elbow which is closest to the body, centered around the boney bulge (bone) of the elbow. The pains appear especially when shaking hands, opening door knobs, lifting heavy weights, bending the elbow, and athletic activities such as the throwing, catching and dribbling of balls. Weakness in closing the fingers, such as forming a fist, and occasionally a sensation of difficulty to move the elbow.
Paresthesia of the fingers.
The characteristics of the Golf Elbow may appear suddenly or gradually.
Frequency of Golf Elbow
In most cases, this appears in people above the age of 35 who performed repeated activities and physical straining of these tendons.
Activities encouraging the disease's appearance
Gym training - weight lifting using an inappropriate technique.
Work including repeated movements - painting, using a hammer, using a computer, working on an assembly line etc. Note that these are activities repeated over more than one hour a day for many days.
Athletics - golf in imperfect technique.
Diagnosing Golf Elbow
It is especially important to be examined by a hand surgeon for diagnosis and for the prevention of complications such as: chronic pains in the elbow, limiting the elbow's movements, chronic stiffness of the elbow.
The medical diagnosis is performed using questions about the patient's job type, athletic activity and hobbies.
Physical examination - feeling the elbow to find the point of maximal pain. Active testing to find the ligaments and muscles involved in the pain.
Imaging techniques - X-Ray Radiography to rule out other conditions which may cause pain in a similar area in the elbow such as degenerative changes, Ultrasound (US) and in rare cases also MRI.
Treating a Golf Elbow
Conservative treatment -
Rest - it is important to stop the activity causing the pain until the pains subside. An overly quick return to activity may worsen the condition.
Ice compresses - treatment with an ice bag wrapped in a towel 3 times a day for approximately 15 minutes in each time.
Physical Therapy – stretching and muscle strengthening exercises.
Elbow bandage - fixing the elbow in an elastic elbow bandage. It is important to keep the wrist joint straight when lifting heavy objects.
Pharmacological treatment -
Painkillers - as needed.
Cortisone injection - is painkillers do not ameliorate the situation, it is possible to consider cortisone injection into the area of pain in the elbow. A treatment by injection causes a temporary relief of the pain in cause there is no change in the cause for the pain (work or athletic activity).
Surgical treatment -
Is required only in rare cases and its goal is to remove the tendon area afflicted with chronic inflammation and thus allow the body to replace the removed section.
In any case it is recommended to gradually return to activity when the pain subsides. It is preferable to return to athletic activity gradually whilke improving technique.