Medial Epicondylitis

Medial epicondylitis is pain over the bone on the inner side of the elbow. The piece of bone that can be felt on the inner side of the elbow is called the medial epicondyle. When the tendons attached to this bone are overstretched or torn, they can become painful. This is called tendinopathy . Medial epicondylitis is commonly called golfer's elbow, but it is not restricted to people who play golf. It can occur in tennis players and other people who repeatedly grip objects tightly.

  • Causes

    Golfer's elbow is caused by overusing the flexor muscles of the forearms. Overusing these muscles can stretch or tear the tendons attached to the medial epicondyle.


    Causes include:

    • Improper golf swing technique or grip of golf clubs
    • Wrong model of golf clubs
    • Improper technique for hitting a tennis ball
    • Improper size of tennis racquet or tension of racquet strings
    • Doing certain arm motions too much, such as:
      • Golf swings
      • Tennis strokes (forehand or serve)
      • Painting
      • Raking
      • Pitching
      • Rowing
      • Using a hammer or screwdriver

  • Definition

    Medial epicondylitis is pain over the bone on the inner side of the elbow. The piece of bone that can be felt on the inner side of the elbow is called the medial epicondyle. When the tendons attached to this bone are overstretched or torn, they can become painful. This is called tendinopathy.


    Medial epicondylitis is commonly called golfer's elbow, but it is not restricted to people who play golf. It can occur in tennis players and other people who repeatedly grip objects tightly.

    Medial Epicondylitis
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  • Diagnosis

    The doctor will ask about your symptoms, medical history, recent physical activity, and how the injury occurred. You may not remember the event that caused the injury because golfer's elbow pain develops over time. The doctor will examine your elbow for:


    • Pain on the inner side of the elbow when:
      • Doing certain arm motions
      • Pressing on the medial epicondyle
    • Stiffness of elbow and pain with wrist movement

    X-rays are not usually necessary, but the doctor may decide to x-ray your elbow to:

    • Make sure the bones of the elbow are normal
    • Look for a calcium deposit in the injured tendons

    MRI is occasionally used for diagnosis, but there is only limited evidence supporting this use.

  • Prevention

    Take these steps to reduce your risk of getting golfer's elbow:

    • Keep your arm muscles strong so they can absorb the energy of sudden physical stress.
    • After a short warm-up period, stretch your arm muscles before physical activity.
    • Learn the proper technique for activities that require forearm motion.
    • If you play golf, ask a golf specialist to check your:
      • Swing technique
      • Grip
      • Model of golf clubs
    • If you play tennis, ask a tennis specialist to check your:
      • Technique for hitting a forehand
      • Racket size and tension of racket strings

  • Risk Factors

    A risk factor is something that increases your chance of getting a disease, condition, or injury.
    Risk factors for medial epicondylitis include:

    • Playing golf or tennis
    • Work that requires repetitive gripping or clenching of the fingers (especially when the hand is bent up or down at the wrist)
    • Muscle imbalance
    • Decreased flexibility
    • Advancing age

  • Symptoms

    Symptoms include:

    • Pain or tenderness on the inner side of the elbow
    • Pain increases when:
      • Shaking hands
      • Turning doorknobs
      • Picking up objects with your palm down
      • Hitting a forehand in tennis
      • Swinging a golf club
      • Applying pressure to this area
    • Possibly pain extending down the forearm
    • Tightness of forearm muscles
    • Stiffness or trouble moving the elbow or hand

  • Treatment

    Treatment includes: