Understanding and Treating Golfer’s Elbow

Any time repetitive motion is performed, it can result in continual strain and discomfort. Medial epicondylitis, more commonly known as golfer’s elbow, can cause pain and inflammation in the tendons connecting the forearm to the elbow. The condition is typically caused by repeated stress from sports or weight training and is similar to tennis elbow. However, while tennis elbow affects the outside of the elbow, golfer’s elbow impacts the inside. Neither of these conditions is limited to athletes, though. Today, many cases of tennis and golfer’s elbow are due to computer usage and other repetitive strain injuries. Dr. Gregg A. Vagner specializes in treatments for the elbow at our Cedar Park, TX, and Austin-area office locations and can relieve your symptoms through physical therapy, medications, or surgery.

Illustrations of golfer's elbow
Golfer's elbow is caused by inflammation or irritation of the tendon on the inside of your elbow.

Common Symptoms

The pain associated with golfer’s elbow may be acute or chronic, mild or severe. If an injury has occurred, symptoms may develop suddenly. If repetitive overuse is the culprit, the discomfort may develop gradually over time. Some of the most common symptoms associated with golfer’s elbow include:

  • Tenderness on the inside of the elbow: Patients often experience pain that radiates down the inner forearm. 
  • Stiffness: Many individuals experience stiffness in the elbow joint.
  • Numbness: Tingling in the extremities is a common symptom of golfer’s elbow. Numbness typically radiates into the ring and little fingers.
  • Weakness: Patients may develop weakness in the hands and wrists.

Discomfort typically worsens when certain movements are performed, such as:

  • Squeezing objects
  • Turning a doorknob
  • Lifting weights
  • Flexing your wrist
  • Shaking hands
  • Swinging a golf club

Dr. specializes in treatments for the elbow and can relieve your symptoms through physical therapy, medications, or surgery.

Causes of Golfer’s Elbow

The primary cause of golfer’s elbow is overuse. Repetitive movements can lead to small tears in the tendon, which result in pain and inflammation. Sports such as golf, tennis, baseball, rowing, or weight lifting carry a greater risk for this type of injury, especially if athletes do not warm up appropriately beforehand. Additionally, certain professions are risk factors for golfer’s elbow. For example, you are more likely to develop the condition if you are a:

  • Regular computer user
  • Construction worker
  • Plumber
  • Butcher
  • Cook
  • Painter

Treating the Condition

There are several treatments available for addressing golfer’s elbow. At Orthopaedic Specialists of Austin, Dr. Vagner often recommends:

  • Physical therapy: Certain stretches and exercises can help heal and strengthen the tendons affected by golfer’s elbow. For example, a specific type of strengthening exercise can lengthen the tendon of the wrist extensor muscles, thereby alleviating chronic inflammation.
  • Medication: Oftentimes, pain associated with golfer’s elbow can be mitigated with over-the-counter pain relievers, such as ibuprofen, naproxen, or acetaminophen.
  • Surgery: If your symptoms have not responded to conservative treatments in six to 12 months, surgical intervention may be necessary. Dr. Vagner uses minimally invasive techniques to remove scar tissue in the affected area.

During a consultation at our practice, Dr. Vagner can help determine which treatment option will be the most effective for your situation.

Contact Orthopaedic Specialists of Austin

If you are suffering from pain, weakness, or stiffness due to golfer’s elbow, our specialists can help. To explore your treatment options, schedule a consultation at our practice. Contact us online anytime, call (512) 476-2830, or visit us at one of our three office locations.

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Austin Office

4611 Guadalupe St
Ste 200
Austin, TX 78751

Open Today 8:00am - 5:00pm

Cedar Park Office

715 Discovery Blvd
Ste 102
Cedar Park, TX 78613

Open Today 8:00am - 5:00pm

Lakeway Office

5329 Serene Hills Dr
Ste 202
Austin, TX 78738

Open Today 8:00am - 5:00pm