Julian Carlo, MD - Hand & Upper Extremity Surgeon

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diagram explaining golfer's elbow

Medial epicondylitis (Golfer's Elbow)

What is it?

Medial epicondylitis, or golfer’s elbow, is a common overuse condition of the elbow that results in pain on the inside of the elbow.

What causes it?

Overuse of the muscles that originate on the elbow and flex the wrist, fingers, or rotate the forearm from repetitive activities can result in degeneration of the muscles’ tendon origins.  When the tendon is not given sufficient time to heal, the tissue becomes abnormal and pain-generating. 

What are the symptoms?

Pain over the inside of the elbow is the hallmark of this condition. Several activities, such as gripping, lifting, squeezing can cause symptoms. The condition typically affects middle age individuals. You don’t have to be a golfer to get golfer’s elbow.


Medial epicondylitis is diagnosed by eliciting tenderness on palpation of the inside of the elbow. Pain with grip or resisted wrist flexion and pronation also suggest the condition. X-rays are usually normal.


Conservative treatment of golfer’s elbow has a very high chance of success.  Activity modification and rest are the mainstays of treatment. NSAIDS, splinting, physical therapy, and steroid injections can also be helpful.  When conservative management fails to improve symptoms, surgery is an option. In surgery an incision is made over the medial epicondyle. The tendon origin is exposed on the epicondyle and the abnormal portions of the tendon are identified and debrided. The wound is then closed.

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