Medial epicondylalgia, also referred to as golfers elbow, is an overuse injury affecting the flexor-pronator muscles of the forearm. It is the most common cause of inside elbow pain that we see at PHYSIO4ALL.
When patients damage their flexor tendons they complain of pain around the inside of the elbow, sometimes radiating into their forearm. Activities that use the flexor muscles in a bending or grasping motion will often exacerbate their symptoms, as sports like baseball and golf.
Medial epycondyligia most commonly results from overuse of the wrist flexor muscles, creating small tears in the tendon. This causes inflammation and pain. Less commonly, a single incident that overloads the tendon may cause medial epicondyligia.
Early management of medial epicondylagia includes ice, avoidance from activities that cause pain, acupuncture, gentle stretching and taping or bracing. As pain begins to settle specific eccentric strengthening exercises are performed to help accelerate healing.
If you are experiencing medial epicondylalgia you will have to decrease activities that cause pain in order to reduce the stress on the tendon. The duration of this rest period varies according to how long you have been experiencing the symptoms and how easily they are provoked. During this period you may also be given a brace to reduce the pain associated with some tasks. The nature of tendon injuries is that they heal at a slower rate than other tissues, with complete rehabilitation of degenerated tissue taking 6 -12 weeks depending on severity. Return to pre-injury function needs to be progressed carefully and time periods will depend on condition severity and the nature of your sport or activities.
To eccentrically strengthen your wrist flexor tendon, rest your forearm on a table with your hand hanging off the edge, and palm facing upward. Flex your wrist back (bring palm toward you) and take a light weight (less than 1.5kg) in your hand. Slowly lower your wrist down (take approximately 5 seconds). Now transfer the weight into the uninjured hand and lift your hand of the injured arm back up. Repeat the process 15 times, and do 3 sets.
This exercise can be viewed as a video at the following link: https://www.physio4all.com.au/exercise-medial-epicondylagia/.
Another stretch for Medial Epicondylagia can be viewed on the following link: