Depending on the severity of the condition, golfer’s elbow takes about 3-6 months to heal with nonsurgical management.
In minor cases, symptoms may improve with rest, pain medications, and home remedies such as ice application. If symptoms do not improve even after 6 months, surgery may be required. It may take another 3-6 months after surgery to fully recover from golfer’s elbow.
What is golfer’s elbow?
Golfer’s elbow, also called medial epicondylitis, is a condition caused by damage to the tendons on the inner side of the elbow. Tendons are fibrous tissue structures that look like cords and connect muscles to bones, allowing movement and helping prevent injuries by taking some of the force of muscles during movement.
The tendon on the inner side of the elbow connects the muscles that enable elbow movements (such as flexion) to a bony structure called the medial epicondyle. Repeated elbow movements or heavy weight lifting can cause tears in this tendon, leading to inflammation.
Golfer’s elbow is often seen in people who play sports such as golf, baseball, bowling, and archery as well as those who regularly lift weights. However, over 90% of cases of golfer’s elbow are not sports-related. Golfer’s elbow also affects people whose work involves repetitive twisting movements at the wrist, such as cooks, painters, plumbers, carpenters, and construction workers.
What are the symptoms of golfer’s elbow?
Signs and symptoms of golfer’s elbow may take weeks to months to develop. Often, the first symptom is pain on the inner side of the elbow that is worse right after you wake up. Pain typically extends from the elbow to the wrist.
Common symptoms of golfer’s elbow include:
- Pain or tenderness along the inner side of the forearm
- Pain on making a fist
- Reduced grip strength
- Numbness in the forearm and hand (typically the ring and little fingers)
- Tingling sensation that extends from the elbow to the hand (typically the ring and little fingers)
- Pain when flexing the wrist with the palm facing down
- Pain during a handshake
Certain symptoms may require urgent medical attention, including:
How do you treat golfer’s elbow?
Treatment of golfer’s elbow mainly depends on the severity of symptoms. Most cases are managed without surgery.
- Rest helps relieve pain, along with cessation of any activity that may worsen the symptoms such as painting, playing sports, or weight lifting. If you cannot completely avoid certain activities, you should at least reduce their intensity and frequency.
- Ice packs may help relieve pain and swelling. Do not apply ice packs for more than 20 minutes at a time.
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and acetaminophen may help reduce pain and inflammation.
- Topical nitroglycerin patches may be prescribed to provide relief.
- Physical therapy can help reduce symptoms, increase strength, and regain elbow function.
- Bracing, elbow taping, and night splinting may provide relief.
- Steroid injections in the elbow may be prescribed in severe cases.
- Ultrasound-guided percutaneous tenotomy may be performed before planning surgery. The procedure involves passing a needle under ultrasound guidance into the tendon to promote healing.
- Surgery may be done in severe cases, although it is typically not needed.
Health Solutions From Our Sponsors
Top How Long Does Golfer's Elbow Last Related Articles
Elbow PainElbow pain is most often the result of tendinitis, which can affect the inner or outer elbow. Treatment includes ice, rest, and medication for inflammation. Inflammation, redness, warmth, swelling, tenderness, and decreased range of motion are other symptoms associated with elbow pain. Treatment for elbow pain depends upon the nature of the patient's underlying disease or condition.
Hip BursitisBursitis of the hip results when the fluid-filled sac (bursa) near the hip becomes inflamed due to localized soft tissue trauma or strain. Symptoms include stiffness and pain around the hip joint. If the hip bursa is not infected, hip bursitis can be treated with ice compresses, rest, and anti-inflammatory and pain medications.
How Do You Fix Medial Epicondylitis?Medial epicondylitis, or golfer’s elbow, can be fixed if identified and treated early. Learn about treatment and exercises for golfer’s elbow.
How Do You Treat Tendonitis in the Elbow?Learn what medical treatments can help ease your elbow tendonitis symptoms and help you manage tendonitis in the elbow.
How Long Does It Take for Repetitive Strain Injury to Heal?A repetitive strain injury (RSI) can heal within a few weeks to six months depending on the severity of the injury and available medical treatment.
15 Ways to Reduce PainChronic pain can be a symptom of many conditions, including arthritis, headaches, and others. Comprehensive chronic pain management therapy may include physical therapy, lifestyle strategies such as exercise, diet changes, meditation, journaling, medications, and avoiding alcohol and tobacco use. Make helpful changes to manage your chronic condition.
Tendinitis CausesIf your tendons get irritated and swollen, you might have tendinitis. Learn the symptoms and find out how you can prevent and treat the condition.
What Is a Posterior Elbow Splint?A posterior elbow splint is affixed to the arm to stabilize a dislocated elbow. A splint is a type of a medical tool made of rigid material to immobilize a fractured or dislocated bone. A splint usually helps to maintain any part of the body in a fixed position. The most common use of splints is in emergency settings to keep a broken bone in position until it heals or until a doctor can set it with a more comprehensive procedure.
What Is Elbow Arthrocentesis?Elbow arthrocentesis is a minor procedure that involves removing the fluid (synovial fluid) from the elbow joint cavity through a needle (aspiration) The aspirated fluid is then sent to a lab for further analysis. This aspirated fluid helps to diagnose the cause of elbow swelling and underlying diseases. The procedure is usually done under local anesthesia and causes mild pain. Patients are usually discharged on the same day.
What Is the Best Treatment for Golfer's Elbow?Treatment for golfer’s elbow can include rest, wearing an elbow brace and electrotherapy. For more severe cases, medication and surgery may be required.
What Is the Best Treatment for Tendonitis?If you have tendonitis/tendinitis symptoms, the best treatment is RICE protocol. It means that you should immediately follow rest, ice, compression, and elevation.