What is Golfer’s Elbow (Medial Epicondylitis)?

Medial Epicondylitis is the medical term for “golfer’s elbow”; it has also been called baseball elbow, forehand tennis elbow or suitcase elbow. Each name refers to a type of tendinitis that affects the inside of the elbow. Medial epicondylitis develops in the forearm muscles where the tendons connect muscle to the bony part on the inside of the elbow called the medial epicondyle. The tendons become damaged through repetitive micro-trauma, due to over-use. The irritated tendons then cause inflammation and pain. Repetitive motions which use the forearm muscles can cause medial epicondylitis. The experts at BICMD have extensive experience with diagnosing and treating medial epicondylitis and can offer the best treatment options through our state-of-the-art telemedicine platform.

How are medial epicondylitis and lateral epicondylitis different?

Both types of epicondylitis involve the elbow and pain that radiates into the forearm from overuse. The difference is which side of the arm the symptoms are occurring. In medial epicondylitis, or golfer’s elbow, pain is felt on the inside or medial side of the arm (toward the body). In lateral epicondylitis, pain is felt on the outside of the elbow and arm, on the lateral side. The causes of golfer’s elbow or tennis elbow are the same; microtrauma to the tendons. The difference is where the microtrauma is occurring and where on the arm and elbow the symptoms are experienced from the irritated tendon.

What are the symptoms of golfer’s elbow or medial epicondylitis?

Individuals who experience medial epicondylitis often report the following symptoms:

  • Pain along the palm-side of the forearm
  • Pain when squeezing a rubber ball
  • Stiffness in the elbow
  • Pain and tenderness on the inside of the elbow
  • Weakness in the wrist or hand
  • Numbness or tingling in the fingers, especially the ring finger and little finger

How is medial epicondylitis diagnosed?

The orthopedic specialists at BCMD will conduct a thorough review of the patient’s medical history and symptoms through their state-of-the-art telemedicine platform. They will ask about daily activities, the onset of symptoms and recent injuries. The doctor may ask the patient to apply pressure to the affected areas and to move the fingers, wrist and arm in different directions. If further injury is suspected, they may order an MRI or x-ray to fully assess the elbow, arm, ligaments and tendons.

How is golfer’s elbow or medial epicondylitis treated?

Medial epicondylitis is usually treated conservatively without surgical intervention. The experts at BICMD may prescribe the following:

  • RICE – Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation
  • NSAIDs – Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory Drugs
  • Physical Therapy
  • Brace – Such as a counterforce brace for the forearm
  • Corticosteroid injections

Will I need surgery for medial epicondylitis or golfer’s elbow?

Surgery for medial epicondylitis is rare and is only recommended if the tendon has torn from the bone. The surgical procedure to reattach the tendon can be done arthroscopically; a minimally invasive surgery that involves a small camera and small, specialized instruments that complete the repair within the elbow.

For more information medial epicondylitis or golfer’s elbow, or if you would like to receive an expert consultation about your hand, wrist or elbow, please contact our specialists, by clicking on “Connect With a Doctor.” You will be connected to one of our orthopedic telemedicine experts through our state-of-the-art telemedicine platform.