Medial Epicondylitis Part 2
In part one, we talked about how medial epicondylitis, or golfer’s elbow, is a common condition which affects the inside of the elbow around the ‘funny bone’ area. We know it is not something specific to golfers but usually affects anyone who has done lots of gripping or carrying activities in a short period of time. It is at its most basic, an overload and capacity problem for the common tendon of the wrist and finger flexors. Treatment for golfers elbow is multi-faceted and includes pain modifying interventions, education, and building up the capacity of the area.
Initially with Golfer’s elbow we want to try to reduce the intensity of pain and we can do that via a number of different methods. A combination of manual therapy, taping, ice and/or anti-inflammatory drugs can help to lower pain levels, although it may only be for a short period of time and they are only used or recommended if indicated.
Pivotal to the initial treatment, but also successful long term management of Golfer’s elbow is education regarding the causative factors of the current pathology, and advice on activity modifications to avoid aggravation. Load management principles should always be central to an overload issue and so this is an important factor that should be addressed in your treatment plan.
Once these facets of treatment have been addressed, the goal is to slowly build capacity and ‘robustness’ in the common flexor tendon area and this can only be done via a graded strengthening program. As Golfer’s elbow can present as a result of a weakness in another area of the body (e.g. shoulder weakness placing excess load on the forearm muscles and tendons), this tailored program should target not only the forearm and elbow muscles, but the whole upper limb and trunk. For those athletes or gym-goers, successful treatment may also require modifications addressing mechanical issues which may have been involved in the development of the pathology.
This is a brief overview of what treatment for Golfer’s elbow may entail. Of course, treatment for any issue must be tailored to the specific person and pathology, so this list is not exhaustive or to be seen as a recipe for successful management of this issue. If you are suffering with Golfer’s elbow, book in to see one of our physiotherapists at BeFit Training Physio for a thorough assessment and treatment plan.