Medial epicondylitis/golfer’s elbow

Mark McDonald
Mark McDonald

This week we are going to discuss something which is quite common and is often seen in weekend warrior athletes such as gardeners, landscapers and people who work in their yards. The condition is medial epicondylitis or golfer’s elbow.

Golfer’s elbow occurs on the inside of the elbow (medial side). This condition is an enthesopathy of the common flexor tendon and the associated attachments of this tendon. The common flexor tendon is an attachment of tendons that flex the wrist and fingers downward. The condition of golfer’s elbow occurs when this tendon is overused too many times or with too much force and the attachment of the tendon s
torn. The Sharpey’s fibers are the attachment of the tendon to the bone and are somewhat like Velcro in that they are hook-like structures that hold the tendon fast to the boney structures. When the elbow is overused through excessive wrist motion the condition of golfer’s elbow appears.

Golfer’s elbow is significant pain when bending the wrist, squeezing, or bending the elbow and is most readily detected when the patient uses hand tools. The condition of golfer’s elbow is treated with ice, compression, gentle cross-friction massage, and ice massage as well as other therapeutic modalities. I find that trigger point dry needling is extremely effective in treatment of the medial epicondylitis. The only caveat is that the therapist must be careful not to get too close to the ulnar nerve as this can be extremely uncomfortable for the patient.

The process of trigger point dry needling itself is not particularly painful and can be effective in allowing the body to heal itself from within. As you can see, medial epicondylitis/golfer’s elbow is a common musculoskeletal injury that can usually be treated with therapeutic interventions which are commonly found around the house. However, when this is not effective, therapeutic intervention is sometimes needed. Rarely surgical intervention can be prescribed for the patient.

For more information on golfer’s elbow, do not hesitate to call the clinic or more information.

Dr. Mark McDonald, PT, DPT, OCS is a lifelong Sterling native and board certified orthopedic physical therapist with over two decades of practice in Sterling. He is a clinical partner with AB Fitness/Alma Blagg and Northeast Plains Home Health Care in Sterling.