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Condition. Medial Epicondylitis (Golfer’s Elbow)

By age2b_admin
November 24, 2021
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What is a golfer’s elbow?

People with medial epicondylitis typically have pain located on the inside of the arm from the elbow down the wrist. Medial epicondylitis has several different names, including golfer’s elbow, suitcase elbow, forehand tennis elbow, and baseball elbow. The pain of the golfer’s elbow or medial epicondylitis is due to damage to the strong tissue cords in the arm that attach muscles to bones. These tissues are called tendons, and they allow the wrist to bend inward toward the palm.

Anatomy

The forearm flexors are the group of muscles located in the front part of the forearm. The forearm flexors allow the fingers and wrist to flex or bend forward. These muscles all attach in the same place: the medial epicondyle. This is the bony protrusion located on the inner elbow. The flexor tendon attaches the forearm flexor muscles to the medial epicondyle.


When the muscles of the forearm contract (the forearm flexors), the flexor tendon tenses where it is attached to the elbow (at the medial epicondyle). The flexor tendon can be damaged by factors like high force or repetitive motions. This causes tendonitis in the flexor tendon. Medial epicondylitis or “golfer’s elbow” is caused by damage to the flexor tendon, where it attaches to the arm bone. Damage causes inflammation and pain. Golfer’s elbow is usually caused by wear and tear damage that occurs over time, but occasionally it is caused by trauma because of one specific accident or injury.

Prevalence

In the United States, medial epicondylitis or golfer’s elbow occurs in only up to 3% of the total population. It is most often found in golfer’s, in their dominant upper extremity. Other athletes at risk for golfer’s elbow or medial epicondylitis are tennis players, hitting their forehand with heavy topspin.


People of any age can develop a golfer’s elbow (medial epicondylitis), but it most often occurs in people who are 40 to 60 years old.

Golfer’s elbow risks

Medial epicondylitis is sometimes called “golfer’s elbow,” but people other than those who play golf often suffer from the condition. In fact, people who do not play golf more often develop medial epicondylitis than golfers.
Factors that increase golfer’s elbow risks include:

  • Being overweight increases the risk of golfer’s elbow (medial epicondylitis)
  • Smoking increases the risk of golfer’s elbow (medial epicondylitis)
  • Age: being between the ages of 45 and 54 increases the risk of developing golfer’s elbow (medial epicondylitis)
  • Performance of repetitive motions for at least two hours every day increases the risk of golfer’s elbow (medial epicondylitis)
  • Performance of forceful activity: moving loads weighing more than 20 kg increases the risk of golfer’s elbow (medial epicondylitis)

Causes of golfer’s elbow

Commonly, repetitive motions in which the wrist is flexed against a forceful hand grip or other resistance cause a golfer’s elbow (medial epicondylitis). It can also be caused by repetitive grasping of the hand. Activities that lead to medial epicondylitis can be work-related or sports-related or can be related to a hobby. Examples of activities that may cause a golfer’s elbow include:

  • golf
  • racket sports: tennis, badminton, squash
  • gymnastics increase the risk of golfer’s elbow (medial epicondylitis)
  • water skiing
  • construction tasks: carpentry, hammering, using a screwdriver repetitively, painting, bricklaying
  • chopping wood increases the risk of golfer’s elbow (medial epicondylitis)
  • weight lifting or bodybuilding can cause golfer’s elbow (medial epicondylitis)
  • knitting or sewing increases the risk of golfer’s elbow (medial epicondylitis)
  • keyboarding

People also frequently develop golfer’s elbow when they suddenly increase the amount of time they spend doing these activities or change their techniques. For example, a person may compete in a tennis tournament that lasts an entire weekend or change their swing. In people who play golf, medial epicondylitis is often the result of incorrect technique.


Once in a while, a golfer’s elbow develops suddenly due to a specific incident. This typically involves heavy lifting or strong gripping movement with the arm. For example, in the game of golf, it may happen if a player miss-times a shot and hits the hard ground with sudden force.


A history of shoulder, wrist, neck, or elbow injury can also make it more likely for a golfer’s elbow (medial epicondylitis) to occur.

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