What Is Golfer’s Elbow?

Aug 7, 2019
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If you’re an avid golfer or someone who works with their hands regularly, golfer’s elbow is an uncomfortable condition that could affect your ability to perform. Learn more about this condition from your local orthopedic specialists in Suffolk County, NY.

What Is Golfer’s Elbow?

Golfer’s elbow, as the name implies, is a condition that affects the elbow and tendons in the arm. It’s a common condition among avid golfers, which also contributes to the condition’s name. This condition caused one of the world’s most famous golfers considerable pain and trouble in the 2013 AT&T Nationals. Tiger Woods was forced to drop out of the tournament because of tenderness, swelling, and weakness in his elbow. Golfer’s elbow targets the inside of the elbow joint. To locate this area, hold your arms out in front of you with your palm facing the sky. The inside portions of your elbows are facing each other. It’s at this juncture where the medial epicondyle tendon attaches to the base of the humerus or upper arm bone. If you feel along the inside of your elbow, you will feel a bump where the two meet. When the tendon is overworked or injured, soreness is common. Some patients also report swelling, warmth, and sharp pain in the inner elbow. These are all possible signs of golfer’s elbow.

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Diagnosis and Treatment

Golfer’s elbow should always be diagnosed by a medical professional. The symptoms of golfer’s elbow include pain, swelling, inflammation, and stiffness in addition to noticeable bumps and deformities. If you suspect a broken arm or elbow, it’s possible to also incur golfer’s elbow as a result of an injury to the arm. Your doctor will consider these symptoms in addition to running a series of tests on the elbow. An X-ray will rule out conditions such as breaks, fractures, and arthritis. In rare cases, an MRI is also performed to rule out other rare conditions that could affect the elbow. Diagnosis mostly relies on patient experience and a physical elevation of joint movement or, in this case, the lack thereof.

After diagnosis, your doctor will suggest a method of treatment that usually starts with over-the-counter pain relievers, such as ibuprofen, naproxen sodium, or acetaminophen. For advanced cases, they may also prescribe an injection of corticosteroid for short-term relief. A newer development in the treatment of golfer’s elbow involves the injection of platelet-rich plasma into the affected area. The doctor will draw blood from the patient and inject a concentrated form of the same sample into the elbow to speed healing in the area. They may also recommend a regime of stretches and physical therapy to strengthen the muscles in your arm.

To learn more about preventing and treating golfer’s elbow, visit an orthopedic specialist in Suffolk County, NY, at Peconic Bay Medical Center for an evaluation.