Physical Therapy for Golfer's Elbow
Updated: Jan 30
"Golfer's Elbow" is also known as medial epicondylitis. Golfer's elbow is damage to the tendons of the forearm muscles that attach to the medial epicondyle on the inside of your elbow. Medial Epicondylitis is a tendinous overload injury caused by activities that involve repetitive wrist flexion and forearm pronation with counteractive wrist extension and forearm supination.
This condition causes pain that is felt on the inside of the forearm due to increased tension. The pain can develop suddenly or gradually and worsens with sudden movements, for example, making a fist. One may also experience weakness in their wrist or hand or a numbing sensation in one or more fingers.
Did you know that Golfer's Elbow is a condition that is not exclusive to golfers? Tennis players have been known to suffer from this condition due to the repetitive use of their wrists or clenching of their fingers.
Golfer's Elbow is most common in men 35 years or older and individuals that participate in activities that include repetitive motions of the forearm, elbow, wrist, and hand. Activities that contribute to Golfer's Elbow include tennis, baseball, softball, football, archery, javelin, and weightlifting. Occupations that cause Golfer's Elbow, also known as Medial Epicondylitis include carpentry, plumbing, and construction.
Physical Therapists as well as Occupational Therapists are trained to treat Medial Epicondylitis. A thorough physical exam is conducted by your therapist to determine if you are suffering from Medial Epicondylitis (Golfer's Elbow). Your Physical or Occupational Therapist will:
Ask about your occupation and hobbies
Check for weakness or musculoskeletal imbalances from your shoulder blade to your hand
Conduct strength and motion tests on the forearm, wrist, and elbow
Apply pressure to parts of your elbow to determine which tendon(s) are inflamed
If you believe you are suffering from Golfer's elbow, it is crucial that you seek treatment quickly. Due to poor blood supply in tendons, an untreated, inflamed tendon can lead to a tear. If you are diagnosed with Golfer's Elbow, your physical therapist will create a personalized care plan to ensure a reduction in pain, full range of motion, increased strength, and optimal performance.
Your treatment plan may include pain management, manual therapy, range-of-motion exercises, strengthening exercises, patient education, and functional training. Pain management focuses on identifying and avoiding movements that cause pain. Your physical therapist will recommend rest, ice on the inflamed area, modalities, and/or a brace. Manual Therapy will help you regain your full range of motion in the affected areas using gentle joint movements, soft tissue massage, and manual stretching. Range-of-motion exercises will improve and maintain proper movements of your wrist and elbow. Strengthening exercises assist in maintaining the strength of your hand, elbow, forearm, and arm. With the goal of returning to optimal performance, functional exercises will teach you how to modify movements to reduce the amount of stress on the medial tendons.
If you believe you are suffering from Golfer's elbow or have been diagnosed by a licensed physician, please call and schedule a consultation with F.I.T. PT. Your Physical or Occupational Therapist will determine the root cause through an initial evaluation and create a personalized care plan. Our goal is to get you feeling better and back to playing the sport you love safely and efficiently while preventing a recurrence of your injury in the future. We will ensure your treatment and recovery will exceed your expectations.
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Mayo Clinic Staff. (2020, October 10). Golfer’s elbow. Mayo Clinic.
Mulcahy, J.A. (2020, October 14). Physical therapy guide for golfer’s elbow. ChoosePT.
Roth, N. (2021, March 11). Recognizing golfer’s elbow. New York Sports Medicine Institute.