Golfers Elbow

Golfer’s elbow, or medial epicondylitis, is a clinical condition characterised by pain and tenderness at the medial epicondyle of the elbow, commonly resulting from overuse or repetitive strain on the flexor-pronator muscle group of the forearm; it’s frequently associated with activities requiring repeated wrist bending, or forceful gripping.

Golfer’s elbow (medial epicondylitis) is a condition associated with pain in the tendons that connect the forearm muscles to the inside of the elbow. It may be related to or occur in conjunction with other conditions:

  1. Tennis Elbow (Lateral Epicondylitis): Similar to golfer’s elbow, but affects the tendons on the outside of the elbow.
  2. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome: Both conditions may stem from repetitive hand and wrist movements.
  3. Cubital Tunnel Syndrome: Compression or irritation of the ulnar nerve near the elbow can be related to similar repetitive movements.
  4. Ulnar Collateral Ligament Injury: The ulnar collateral ligament is close to the area affected by golfer’s elbow and can sometimes be involved.
  5. Neck or Shoulder Problems: These issues can sometimes lead to symptoms in the arm that mimic golfer’s elbow.
  6. Arthritis: Osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis in the elbow joint may exacerbate or be exacerbated by golfer’s elbow.
  7. Nerve Entrapment: Compression or entrapment of the nerves near the elbow can sometimes coexist with or be confused with golfer’s elbow.
  8. Occupational Injuries: People in certain professions that require repetitive arm or wrist movements are at higher risk for golfer’s elbow and related conditions.
  9. Tendinopathy: Chronic tendinopathy in other parts of the body might indicate a predisposition to golfer’s elbow.

The symptoms of golfer’s elbow, or medial epicondylitis, are primarily localised to the inside of the elbow and may include:

  1. Pain and Tenderness: Pain usually concentrates on the inside of the elbow and can radiate down the forearm, particularly during wrist movements or gripping activities.
  2. Stiffness: Stiffness in the elbow, especially upon waking or after periods of inactivity.
  3. Weakness: Weakness in the forearm and hand may affect daily tasks like lifting objects or gripping tools.
  4. Numbness or Tingling: In some cases, tingling or numbness in the fingers, particularly the ring and little fingers, may be felt.
  5. Swelling: Although less common, swelling or inflammation in the area may occur.

Golfer’s elbow, or medial epicondylitis, is typically caused by overuse or repetitive strain on the tendons and muscles that control wrist and finger movement. The main causes include:

  1. Repetitive Activities: Actions that involve frequent and forceful wrist flexion, gripping, or pronation can lead to small tears and inflammation in the tendons.
  2. Improper Technique or Equipment: In sports like golf or in occupations requiring specific hand and wrist movements, improper techniques or ill-fitted equipment can contribute to the condition.
  3. Sudden Increase in Activity: Jumping into an intense level of activity without proper conditioning or warm-up can strain the tendons.
  4. Occupations Requiring Repetitive Movement: Jobs involving frequent wrist and hand movements, such as assembly line work, carpentry, painting, and typing, can increase the risk.
  5. Certain Sports: Besides golf, other sports like tennis, baseball, and weightlifting, where repetitive wrist movements are common, can contribute to golfer’s elbow.
  6. Age and Degeneration: The tendons may weaken with age, and wear and tear can make them more susceptible to injury.
  7. Underlying Health Conditions: Conditions like rheumatoid arthritis or nerve entrapment might predispose someone to develop golfer’s elbow.
  8. Trauma: Rarely, a direct blow or sudden force to the area can cause golfer’s elbow.

Evidence-based treatment for golfer’s elbow, or medial epicondylitis, often involves a multifaceted approach that is tailored to the severity and cause of the individual’s condition. Treatment typically includes:

  1. Relative Rest: Avoiding activities that aggravate the condition 
  2. Physiotherapy: Targeted exercises and stretches, guided by a physiotherapist, can strengthen the affected muscles and tendons and promote flexibility, aiding in recovery and preventing recurrence.
  3. Pain Management: Over-the-counter pain relievers like ibuprofen or naproxen can help alleviate pain and reduce inflammation.
  4. Bracing: Wearing a counterforce brace or strap can reduce strain on the tendons, providing support and aiding in healing.
  5. Corticosteroid Injections: In some cases, corticosteroid injections may be used to reduce severe inflammation. The effectiveness of this treatment can vary, and it is generally considered for short-term relief.
  6. Surgical Intervention: If conservative treatments fail to provide relief after an extended period (usually several months), surgery to remove damaged tissue and repair the tendons may be considered. Surgery is generally reserved for chronic, severe cases.
  7. Patient Education: Teaching patients proper techniques, ergonomic principles, and self-care strategies is crucial in preventing recurrence and promoting long-term recovery.

A healthcare provider specialising in musculoskeletal conditions, such as an orthopaedic surgeon or a sports medicine specialist, will usually determine the best treatment plan. This plan is often individualised based on the specific needs and lifestyle of the patient, and a combination of these strategies is frequently the most effective approach. The evidence supports conservative measures initially, with surgical options considered if other methods prove unsuccessful.

A physiotherapist is best place to help you fix golfers elbow. They will be able to aid recovery through an exercise program and get you back to your hobbies and sports. 

Yes, exercise can be beneficial for golfer’s elbow when done correctly. Targeted strengthening exercises, designed by a physiotherapist, help rehabilitate the affected muscles and tendons, improve flexibility, and prevent recurrence.

Surgery for golfer’s elbow is typically considered a last resort and is only pursued if conservative treatments like modified activity and physiotherapy fail to provide relief after several months.

Chews Health Top Tip for golfers elbow

The top tip for managing golfer’s elbow is to modified activity levels and engage in targeted physiotherapy exercises under our help, along with using proper techniques and ergonomics in sports or work to prevent overuse and strain.

Our Specialists

Melanie Clarke
Melanie Clarke
We’ll be forever grateful to Chews, the guys are the absolute BEST IN CLASS when it comes to a fully tailored recovery plan. Our son is a young elite competitive acrobatic gymnast who sadly had a high impact fall at gymnastics dislocating and fracturing his elbow and needed surgery, for a gymnast that trains many hours over 4 days week it was devastating blow, especially with GB competitions coming up. Once out of cast (wk 4 post opp) we started 2 x weekly physio sessions with Richard Saxton (who specialises in child’s physio), he was thorough, diligent and his amazing assessments fully supported the coaches at our sons gym to help build a safe recovery plan. The sessions with Richard and Sanford were fun, engaging and they took great care to help improve full mobility and strength. At week 7 post op our son was doing skills we thought would have taken 4mths to achieve, by week 10 he was back to full impact training, even our hospital follow up with the senior elbow consultant was blown away by the physio support we’d had and the rapid recovery. If it wasn’t for Chews we 100% would not be back training this quickly and not have had the reassurances it was safe to do so…..we’ve definitely found a physio for life. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts Team Chews. From Mel & JJ x x
Ruth Shearn
Ruth Shearn
Have waited a few months post-treatment to write a review - just to be certain! Quite simply, I can't recommend these guys highly enough. I went to them with two badly damaged knees (miniscus tears). Having had three arthroscopes over the years, I was completely resigned to needing surgical intervention again. The Chews team had different ideas. After showing me the latest research findings, they assured me my knees could be rehabilitated without a scalpel. I had just a handful of sessions with them and am delighted to report that, six months on, my knees are great! I'm running 5k twice a week (don't laugh, I loathe running and am no spring chicken) without any pain and have taken up tennis. Everyone at Chews is passionate about their subject, knowledgeable, reassuring and friendly. I wouldn't go anywhere else.
Dave Stuart
Dave Stuart
I have had a chronic back condition to varying degrees for many years which more recently has forced me to have weeks off work at a time. I was recommended Chews Health by a colleague having tried other physios in the past. However, I always felt that something was missing from the plan. My back muscles would on occasion go into spasm, or my disk to impinge on my nerve, affecting my mobility and effectively setting me back to square one. I came to Chews health a bit wary and was considering surgery due to how much my back was affecting my quality of life and mental health. It has not been a straight forward recovery, but i have made significant progress through having a thorough history taken, my ongoing concerns listened to, and being provided with a clear explanation of not only the exercise plan but additionally explaining why my body was responding in varying ways. This has educated about my condition and provided me with the tools to self manage my condition more effectively should it deteriorate again.. It has not been plain sailing, but I have absolute faith in Jack and his team.
I had to attend Chews Health for help with pain in my elbow and they have been a fantastic help. I am now back to 100%.
The S
The S
I can thoroughly recommend Chews Health physio. Sessions from diagnosis to rehabilitation are stimulating as well as therapeutic. Jack’s holistic, insightful approach goes beyond fixing the initial problem - he builds the confidence and self-knowledge to help maintain fitness and avoid strains and niggling injuries in the future. His message that the body needs exposure to regular challenges has inspired my journey towards optimum health.
Sam Butler
Sam Butler
Excellent physiotherapy. After ACL and meniscus surgery I contacted Chews Health to find out about how they could help me feel more confident about returning to more intense sport after my injury. I felt listened to and we worked on a series of different of exercises that tested my knee. Very helpful and I now feel much more confident in my abilities.
feralie Bennett
feralie Bennett
I saw Richard Saxton for a chronic pain in my achillies. 2 visits, with massage and exercises: clear concise instruction, both written and verbal to do at home were realistic & adapted for my ability - I now no longer require pain relief & can walk the dogs pain free & even manage a few hills. A follow up call to review my progress was also appreciated. The clinic was clean & well equipped. Would highly recommend.
Philip Conroy
Philip Conroy
When I had severe back pain I was seen within 24 hours. The problem was resolved after 3 weeks of physiotherapy and exercises. I subsequently took up the annual gym membership package which includes regular reviews by the Physiotherapists. I feel this has benefitted me greatly as I had no previous experience of gyms and ensured I was using the equipment in the correct manner. At all times the staff have been very friendly and professional.
Maureen Morris
Maureen Morris
Helped me tremendously. Lovely people - everyone very very supportive.
Cecilia Wright
Cecilia Wright
I had been suffering from plantar fasciitis for some months and went Chews Health in the summer for shockwave treatment, after my podiatrist said she had heard good reports about it. Until then I had been resting, exercising it, icing it, using insoles etc., none of which had made much difference. I booked six treatments at the start (recommended) and by the time of the last treatment It was hardly noticeable, so much better! I’ve had two further treatments over the last month, just to be on the safe side, and I’m doing some exercises now to build up the strength in my calf and foot. Chews Health comes with heartfelt recommendations from me, they are friendly, very knowledgeable and best of all - they have fixed my sore foot!