Medial epicondylitis (golfer's elbow): what it is, symptoms and treatment

Medial epicondylitis, popularly known as the golfer's elbow, corresponds to the inflammation of the tendon that connects the wrist to the elbow, causing pain, a feeling of lack of strength and, in some cases, tingling.

This inflammation is more common in people who exercise very intensely, farmers, after a gardening session on a weekend, or in people who practice physical activity constantly or repetitively, as in the case of darts, American football or baseball, for example.

Symptoms of Medial Epicondylitis

Symptoms of medial epicondylitis include:

  • Elbow pain in the innermost region, when the arm is straight and the hand is facing upwards. The pain can manifest itself all the time, but it usually gets worse when trying to screw something, do weight training or do any other movement similar to playing golf;
  • Feeling of lack of strength when holding a glass of water, opening a tap, or shaking hands;
  • There may be a tingling sensation in the forearm or fingers.

There is no need to perform tests, because the pain is localized and very characteristic, so it is easy for the doctor to reach the diagnosis. However, other causes must be evaluated, such as injury to the medial collateral ligament, ulna neuritis, fracture and muscle strain, for example.

How the treatment is done

One of the simplest and most effective treatments for cases where elbow pain occurs after a weekend gardening episode is rest. Stopping the activity that gave rise to the symptoms for a few days is usually enough to fight the pain.

The use of anti-inflammatory ointments such as Diclofenac can be indicated for pain relief. The ointment should be used as directed by the doctor, about 2 times a day. Avoiding carrying heavy bags is also important for pain relief, but placing ice packs between 7 and 15 minutes can also be a good home strategy. When these home treatments are not enough, physiotherapy can be indicated, especially if it makes the person's work and day to day difficult.

In physiotherapy, resources such as tension, ultrasound, laser, stretching exercises of the wrist flexors, strengthening the shoulder, application of Kinesio tapes for faster improvement, in addition to deep transverse massage can be used, as shown in the following video:

When pain and discomfort persist for more than 6 months, the doctor may indicate injections with anesthetics and corticosteroids at the exact location of the pain. Another possibility is extracorporeal shock waves, which consists of placing a device that emits ultrasonic waves in the painful place, for about half an hour. This facilitates tissue regeneration, with pain improvement in a short time. Learn more about shock wave therapy.

The recovery time varies according to the severity of the injury and the type of activity that the person has, and can be from 8 weeks to more than 1 year.