Golfer’s Elbow and Baseball Elbow, Medial Epicondylitis
Dr. Howard Liss treats disorders that cause pain and disability by providing consultative services and soft tissue and joint injections when needed. When medically appropriate, he makes specific referrals for diagnostic testing (lab work, imaging, electrodiagnosis), physical and occupational therapy, interventional procedures (epidurals and facet joint injections), and surgery.
When the tendon responsible for bending the wrist toward the palm becomes damaged, individuals experience pain. This pain can extend from the inside of the elbow to the inside of the wrist. Often referred to as golfer’s elbow or baseball elbow (as well as suitcase elbow and forehand tennis elbow), medial epicondylitis is the medical term describing pain felt on the medial side of the elbow and wrist.
As one may assume, in the case of golfer’s elbow or baseball elbow, medical epicondylitis is caused by repeated, excessive force that is used to swing a golf club or pitch a baseball. Even so, there are other potential causes of medial epicondylitis including:
- Serving in tennis (or using a spin serve)
- Weak wrist or shoulder muscles
- Using a tennis racket that is too heavy, short or too tightly strung
- Javelin throw
- Carrying a heavy suitcase
- Chopping wood
- Working a chainsaw
For individuals with medial epicondylitis, the primary symptom is pain. Yet, the pain is felt specifically in the innermost part of the elbow, and it often extends towards the hand on the side of the smallest finger. Individuals may also experience muscle weakness.
Treatment and Rehabilitation for Medial Epicondylitis
When it comes to treatment and rehabilitation for tendon injuries, including medial epicondylitis, physiatrists are in a unique position to assess and organize comprehensive therapy. This therapy focuses on the whole person, not one particular area or symptom. With education and training across multiple disciplines, physiatrists understand how a number of conditions affect the nerves, bones, joints, ligaments, muscles and tendons.
Physiatrists optimize patient care with a conservative combination of therapies and assistive devices. For patients with medial epicondylitis, treatment begins with rest, ice and compression (using an elbow splint) as a means to reduce pain and inflammation. Once pain and inflammation are at bay, gentle rehabilitation may begin. Under the direction of the physiatrist, occupational therapists tailor specific isometric and eccentric exercises for muscle and tendon conditioning. This is as well as patient education regarding prevention and re-injury. Other forms of therapy may include ultrasound, electrical nerve stimulation, steroid injections and low energy shock-wave therapy.
At the Howard Liss, M.D. Rehabilitation Institute in Tenafly, patients can rely on Dr. Liss to put together the right treatment, therapy and rehabilitation plan to ensure the most optimal outcome. Dr. Liss works closely with other specialists required to rehabilitate patients suffering from chronic pain or serious injuries, and Dr. Liss will refer patients as needed to ensure appropriate treatment. With extensive education and exposure to a variety of conditions that affect the cervical and lumbar spine, bones, nerves, joints, ligaments, tendons, muscles, brain, and spinal cord, Dr. Liss is uniquely positioned to help patients manage their pain and maximize their functioning.
If you are experiencing pain due to golfer’s or baseball elbow, and you believe that it could be medial epicondylitis, contact the Howard Liss, M.D. Rehabilitation Institute today.