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Golfer’s Elbow / Common Flexor Tendinopathy

Home / Conditions / Golfer’s Elbow / Common Flexor Tendinopathy

Introduction

Often mistaken for tennis elbow (Lateral Epicondylitis/Common Extensor Tendinopathy), Golfers elbow (Medial Epicondylitis/ Common Flexor Tendinopathy) affects the other side of the elbow, causing pain at the inside of the elbow where the wrist flexor muscles originate. These work to pull the wrist back towards the forearm.  

Information Video

Signs & Symptoms

  • Pain when palpating the inside elbow soft tissue and bony point (medial epicondyle).
  • Pain on inside of elbow which can radiate down the ulna and into the little finger. 
  • Reduced wrist movement and strength, specifically flexion and supination of the wrist (turning palm towards the ceiling).
  • Numbness or tingling.
  • Morning stiffness and pain which improves with gentle movement.
  • Pain with aggravating activity such as golf, gripping and repetitive movements. 

Causes

The most common causes of this condition are acute overload caused by an increase in activity in a short space of time or chronic one-sided overload from a high volume of repeated contraction which stresses the tendon. Risk factors include the following: Performing repetitive activity for >2 hours, ages between 35-50, obesity and smoking.  

Prevalence

It is not as common as tennis elbow, but golfers’ elbow does contribute to around 9-20% of all epicondylopathies. It is common in sports people such as golfers and baseball players due to the biomechanics involved during the action. However, it also affects those with manual jobs which involve lots of heavy liftinand carrying, such as those factory workers and those in delivery or furniture removal.  

Assessment & Diagnosis

At Pure Physiotherapy, your clinician will take a detailed history of the issue and how it is impacting your life followed by a thorough physical examination of the elbow to help provide you with an accurate diagnosis and to rule out other conditions which may masquerade as the symptoms reported. By providing our patients with a fast and decisive diagnosis, this allows effective treatment and management to be immediately implemented so that the best possible outcomes can be achieved. 

Self-Management

Upon confirming your diagnosis of common flexor tendinopathy, your skilled and experienced clinician at Pure Physiotherapy can provide you with a tailored step by step plan in order to alleviate your symptoms and return you back to where you want to be. Your individualised self-management plan will comprise of graded return to activity, advice, education and coping strategies. We put your goals at the centre of your treatment plan so that you have clear goals to aim towards. Remaining at work is more important than ever and your Physiotherapist can also suggest methods that can help you perform your normal activities in ways that prevent irritation of your symptoms. We may also recommend taping or a brace, dependent upon patient circumstances.  

Physiotherapy

Your Physiotherapist will create a bespoke and progressive strengthening plan that will help increase the resilience and strength of the associated structures. This will increase the capacity for those structures to manage the loads they are subjected to and will help achieve recovery. Through regular re-assessment, your Physiotherapist will ensure you are making progress towards your goals and will make necessary adjustments to facilitate optimal adaptation. We also emphasise proving ongoing advice and support to prevent future occurrence.

 

Please find the patient resources section of our website where we have created a series of recommended exercise programmes for this condition. We advise consulting with your Physiotherapist prior to trying any of these exercises.

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