What is a medial epicondylitis (“golfers elbow”)?
It involves the tendons of the muscles in your forearm that flex your wrist and fingers. Your forearm tendons attach these muscles to a bone on the inside of the elbow. The tendons and muscles usually involved are called the Flexor Carpi Radialis and the Pronator Teres. The tendons may become damaged from overuse and can develop tiny tears which cause inflammation, swelling, and pain. About half of those with medial epicondylitis develop numbness in their ring and small finger on the same side.
It is more common in people who golf, pitch baseball, bowl, lift heavy suitcases, chop wood, and use chain saws regularly.
It is more common in men and 30-50 year olds.
What are the symptoms?
- Pain or burning on the inner elbow that radiates to the wrist
- Weakness and/or pain with grip
- The dominant arm is most often affected
What medical tests will I need?
- X-Rays: to rule out any abnormal bone structures that might be causing your symptoms.
- MRI: to see if the tendons or muscles are damaged.
How is it treated?
- Anti-inflammatory Medicine: controls swelling in the elbow. These include naproxen, ibuprofen, and meloxicam.
- Steroid injections: anti-inflammatories injected into the side of the elbow. This can be repeated every 3 months.
- Physical /Occupational Therapy: to strengthen, stretch, and increase your range of motion..
- Surgical release: the damaged tendon is removed and the bone is scraped to encourage healing
What do I need to know about surgery?
- You will be contacted within 2 weeks of your pre-op appointment for pricing and scheduling.
- The surgery will last less than 45 minutes and you will go home the same day.
- Your surgeon will make an incision at the inner elbow and remove the damaged tissue.
- You will have a splint for 2 weeks that will keep your elbow from moving.
- You will not be able to lift anything with the affected arm for 4 weeks.
- At your 2 week follow up visit, the sutures and bandage will be removed, and you will begin scar massage. If you are having symptoms in the other arm, you will be given the option to have surgery at your 4 week follow up