Medial epicondylitis is soreness or pain on the inside of the lower arm near the elbow. It is commonly called golfer’s elbow.
Baseball elbow; Suitcase elbow
The part of the muscle that attaches to a bone is called a tendon. Some of the muscles in your forearm attach to the bone on the inside of your elbow.
When you use these muscles over and over again, small tears develop in the tendons. Over time, this leads to irritation and pain where the tendon is attached to the bone.
The injury can occur from using poor form or overdoing certain sports, such as:
Repeated twisting of the wrist (such as when using a screwdriver) can lead to golfer's elbow. People in certain jobs may be more likely to develop it, such as:
Symptoms of golfer's elbow include:
Pain may occur gradually or suddenly. It gets worse when you grasp things or flex your wrist.
Your health care provider will examine you and have you move your fingers, hand, and wrist. The exam may show:
The first step is to rest your arm and avoid the activity that causes your symptoms for at least 2 to 3 weeks or longer, until the pain goes away. You may also want to:
If your golfer's elbow is due to a sports activity, you may want to:
Your provider may inject cortisone and a numbing medicine around the area where the tendon attaches to the bone. This may help decrease the swelling and pain.
If the pain continues after 6 to 12 months of rest and treatment, surgery may be recommended. Talk with your surgeon about the risks, and ask if surgery might help.
Elbow pain usually gets better without surgery. However, most people who have surgery have full use of their forearm and elbow afterwards.
Call for an appointment with your health care provider if:
Regan WD, Grondin PP, Morrey BF. Elbow and forearm. In: DeLee JC, Drez D Jr., Miller MD, eds. DeLee and Drez's Orthopaedic Sports Medicine. 3rd ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2009:chap 19.
Schmidt MJ, Adams SL. Tendinopathy and bursitis. In: Marx JA, Hockberger RS, Walls RM,
eds. Rosen's Emergency Medicine: Concepts and Clinical Practice. 8th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2009:chap 117.