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Inner Elbow Pain – Golfer’s elbow

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Inner Elbow Pain is known as Medial Epicondylitis (Golfer’s Elbow) and is the most common undiagnosed injury in tennis players.

Golfer’s elbow is a repetitive motion disorder where repetitive forearm pronation and wrist flexion and extension movements creates intense forces on the inside of the elbow joint and tendons. There is local tenderness on the anterior aspect of the medial epicondyle and around the origins of the tendons of the forearm flexor muscle group.

golfer's elbow pain

In golfers, this inner elbow pain cause is attributed to when the club is “thrown” from the apex of the backswing down towards the ball, better known as, “hitting from the top” with the dominant arm. The condition is also found in throwing sports and tennis (note: the tennis serve is essentially a throw). In baseball pitchers, during the late “cocking phase” of the throw, forces are transmitted initially to the flexor pronator group, and then to the deeper medial collateral ligament.

Medial Epicondylitis
Baseball pitcher throwing the ball off mound

EMG evaluation of the tennis serve showed the highest muscular activity in the flexor-pronator group and mostly in the pronator teres muscle (1). It is during the racket drop phase of the serve, that the wrist is fully extended and there are high “deceleration forces experienced at the elbow. This combination creates high stress on the common forearm flexors.

inner elbow pain

The modern day forehand is another stroke than can influence the development of golfer’s elbow. Moments prior to hitting a topspin forehand, the wrist is [should be] again fully extended, and upon impact with the ball, the common flexor tendons experience what would be a millisecond stretch-contract response at the elbow joint. Multiply this event by the number of times you have hit a forehand and a serve, in a given time frame, and you should be able to tell for yourself whether you have a repetitive motion disorder or not.

Inner Elbow Pain

Treatment for golfer’s elbow is similar to that of lateral epicondylitis (tennis elbow) except that the exercises and stretches are directed towards the wrist flexors. Treatment should include joint manipulation or mobilisation, soft tissue techniques (ART is particularly effective), and home stretches and exercises.

More importantly however, your health practitioner should be able to
help you prevent this injury from occurring in the first place. In
tennis players for example, potential causes could be to do with
technique flaws, racket and string setup, or physical health issues such
as muscle imbalances. It is usually a combination of all of these

Given the high incidence of golfer’s elbow in tennis players, these
people would be best to see a (tennis
who will not only be skilled in the application of physical therapy,
but will also be able to offer sound technical advice as means for
preventative care.

A word of caution, golfer’s elbow is a repetitive motion disorder,
which if left untreated will continue to get worse. Whilst rest will
help, upon return to activity, the condition often flairs up again. If
you”re suffering this condition, (seek advice
so that you may at least be shown effective means of self-management.

(1) Morris M, Jobe FW, Perry J. Electromyogrphic analysis of elbow function in tennis players. AM J Sports Med. 1989;17:241-247.

*DISCLAIMER: This discussion does not provide medical advice. The
information, including but not limited to, text, graphics, images and
other material contained in this discussion are for informational
purposes only. The purpose of this discussion is to promote broad
consumer understanding and knowledge of various health topics. It is not
intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis
or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other
qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding
a medical condition or treatment and before undertaking a new health
care regimen, and never disregard professional medical advice or delay
in seeking it because of something you have read in this blog.

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