Baseball elbow; Suitcase elbow
The part of the muscle that attaches to a bone is called a tendon. Some of the muscles in your forearm attach to the bone on the inside of your elbow.
When you use these muscles over and over again, small tears develop in the tendons. Over time, this leads to irritation and pain where the tendon is attached to the bone.
The injury can occur from using poor form or overdoing certain sports, such as:
Repeated twisting of the wrist (such as when using a screwdriver) can lead to golfer's elbow. People in certain jobs may be more likely to develop it, such as:
Medial epicondylitis is soreness or pain on the inside of the lower arm near the elbow. It is commonly called golfer’s elbow.
Your health care provider will examine you and have you move your fingers, hand, and wrist. The exam may show:
Elbow pain usually gets better without surgery. However, most people who have surgery have full use of their forearm and elbow afterwards.
Symptoms of golfer's elbow include:
Pain may occur gradually or suddenly. It gets worse when you grasp things or flex your wrist.
The first step is to rest your arm and avoid the activity that causes your symptoms for at least 2 to 3 weeks or longer, until the pain goes away. You may also want to:
If your golfer's elbow is due to a sports activity, you may want to:
Your provider may inject cortisone and a numbing medicine around the area where the tendon attaches to the bone. This may help decrease the swelling and pain.
If the pain continues after 6 to 12 months of rest and treatment, surgery may be recommended. Talk with your surgeon about the risks, and ask if surgery might help.
Call for an appointment with your provider if:
Adams JE, Steinmann SP. Elbow tendinopathies and tendon ruptures. In: Wolfe SW, Hotchkiss RN, Pederson WC, Kozin SH, Cohen MS, eds. Green's Operative Hand Surgery. 7th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2017:chap 25.
Miller RH, Azar FM, Throckmorton TW. Shoulder and elbow injuries. In: Azar FM, Beaty JH, Canale ST, eds. Campbell's Operative Orthopaedics. 13th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2017:chap 46.
Review Date: 11/20/2017
Reviewed By: C. Benjamin Ma, MD, Professor, Chief, Sports Medicine and Shoulder Service, UCSF Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, San Francisco, CA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
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