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Causes and Risk Factors

Golfer’s elbow is primarily caused by overuse and repetitive strain on the forearm muscles and tendons. Several factors may contribute to its development, including:

  • Repetitive Motions: Activities that involve repetitive wrist flexion and rotational movement of the forearm, such as golfing, throwing sports, and certain occupational tasks
  • Age: Golfer’s elbow commonly affects adults between the ages of 40 and 60
  • Occupation: Jobs that require repetitive hand and wrist movements, such as carpentry, plumbing, or assembly line work
  • Improper Technique: Using poor techniques in sports or manual activities can increase stress on the tendons
  • Sports Participation: Activities like golf, baseball, and other sports that involve repetitive arm movements may lead to golfer’s elbow


The symptoms of golfer’s elbow may vary in intensity but typically include:

  • Pain and tenderness on the inside of the elbow
  • Weak grip strength
  • Pain that worsens with wrist and hand movements, especially gripping or flexing
  • Stiffness in the elbow joint
  • Discomfort when making a fist or lifting objects
  • Numbness or tingling that may radiate down the forearm and into the fingers

Diagnostic Process

Diagnosing golfer’s elbow involves a thorough evaluation, starting with a detailed medical history and a physical examination. This process includes discussing the symptoms, their duration, and any activities that might have contributed to the condition with your doctor.

The physical examination will identify tenderness and pain around the medial epicondyle, assess grip strength, and observe wrist and arm movements that trigger discomfort. While imaging tests like X-rays or MRI are not usually required, they may be utilized to exclude other potential conditions if deemed necessary.

Treatment Options

Conservative Care

Initial treatment for golfer’s elbow often involves non-surgical methods to reduce pain, promote healing, and restore function. These conservative care options can effectively manage symptoms and prevent further injury. Here are some commonly recommended approaches:

  • Rest: Limiting activities that exacerbate the pain and giving the elbow time to heal
  • Ice Therapy: Applying ice packs to the affected area for 15-20 minutes several times a day to reduce inflammation and pain
  • Compression: Wearing a brace or band to support the elbow and reduce strain on the tendons
  • Elevation: Keeping the elbow elevated to decrease swelling
  • Anti-inflammatory Medications: Over-the-counter pain relievers like ibuprofen or naproxen to alleviate pain and reduce inflammation
  • Physical Therapy: Specific exercises and stretches designed to strengthen the forearm muscles and improve flexibility
  • Activity Modification: Adjusting techniques or equipment used in sports and occupational tasks to reduce stress on the elbow
  • Massage and Soft Tissue Therapy: Techniques that target the tendons and muscles to relieve tension and promote healing

Surgical Treatment

If conservative treatments are insufficient, surgery may be necessary. Excel Health’s surgical approaches aim to relieve pain, restore function, and enhance the overall quality of life for patients with golfer’s elbow. Surgical options include procedures to remove damaged tissue and repair the tendon. The specific surgical technique used will depend on the extent of the tendon damage and the patient’s needs.

Managing Golfer’s Elbow

Living with golfer’s elbow requires proactive management to alleviate symptoms and maintain elbow function. Making ergonomic adjustments, performing regular forearm exercises, and avoiding activities that put undue stress on the elbow can help manage symptoms and prevent recurrence. Regular check-ups with your healthcare provider will help monitor your progress and adjust treatments as needed.

If you suspect you have golfer’s elbow or are experiencing symptoms, contact Excel Health for a comprehensive evaluation and personalized treatment plan. Our dedicated team is committed to providing the highest quality care to help you regain function and improve your quality of life.

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