Injured golfer holding elbow in pain

Golfer’s Elbow is caused by repetitive motion of the wrist resulting in inflammation. The forearm contains several muscles that are used to flex the fingers and thumb as well as flex and turn the wrist. The tendons of these muscles come together at the elbow joint. In response to injury, or sometimes for no obvious reason, this point of insertion becomes inflamed. 

The first line of treatment will often be rest, ice, compression and elevation (R.I.C.E. method) although physical therapy can also be very helpful. Rest helps to decrease the pain and inflammation. The patient can also use a tennis elbow splint for compression. 

Therapy will include a variety of exercises for muscle/tendon reconditioning, starting with stretching and gradual strengthening of the flexor-pronator muscles. Strengthening will slowly begin with isometrics and progresses to eccentric exercises helping to extend the range of motion back to where it once was. After the strengthening exercises, it is common for the patient to ice the area. 

Simple analgesic medication has a place, as does more specific treatment with oral anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs). The overall prognosis is good. Few patients will need to progress to steroid injection and even fewer, and less than 10% will need surgical intervention. 

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