What is Thrower’s Elbow (Golfer’s Elbow)? Know Its Symptoms, Causes and Treatment Options!

What is Thrower’s Elbow?

Thrower’s Elbow which is also known as Golfer’s elbow or medial epicondylitis is a condition where there is inflammation of the medial epicondyle of the elbow. It is similar to tennis elbow. Thrower’s elbow frequently occurs in throwers and golfers hence the name Thrower’s or Golfer’s elbow. Individuals who perform repetitive movements of the wrist suffer more from this injury. Pain starts gradually on the medial side of the elbow. It is treated with rest and cold therapy. Anti-inflammatory medicines help in pain and inflammation. Sports massage and ultrasound treatments are also beneficial. A brace can be worn covering the upper forearm for support and faster healing. Wrist flexion strengthening exercises can be started after healing is complete. Corticosteroid injections may also be given for pain relief.

What is Thrower's Elbow?

Symptoms of Thrower’s Elbow

  • Pain at the medial epicondyle (bony part) on the inside of the elbow.
  • Wrist weakness.
  • Pain on the medial side of the elbow when gripping things strongly.
  • Pain upon bending the wrist (flexion).
  • Pain with pronation of the wrist against resistance.

Causes of Thrower’s Elbow

It is caused due to repeated wrist flexion such as occurring while playing golf or seen in certain occupations such as carpentry. It commonly occurs after a period of continuous wrist flexion. There is pain and inflammation in the wrist flexor muscles where they join the inner elbow.

Treatment of Thrower’s Elbow

  • Application of ice on the injury for a couple of days.
  • Rest is very important for healing.
  • After the acute phase has passed (48 hours), heat application can be done and also a heat retainer can be used.
  • A brace helps in decreasing the load on the elbow and helps with quicker healing.
  • Patient should see a sports injury professional for consultation.
  • Ultrasound or laser treatment is of benefit.
  • Antiinflammatory medicines like ibuprofen and naproxen help in pain relief and reducing the inflammation.
  • Use of sports massage techniques.
  • Steroid injections can be used if an individual does not find relief with conservative methods.

Stretching Exercises for Thrower’s Elbow (Golfer’s Elbow)

It is advised that the patient seek medical consultation before attempting any of the following exercises.

Wrist Flexor Stretch for Thrower’s Elbow

  • Stretching should begin as soon as the pain subsides and should be continued after the healing is complete.
  • Patient should stand opposite to a wall and keep the arms outstretched and palms facing upwards.
  • The fingers should be placed on the wall directed downwards.
  • Gradually the hand should be placed flat on the wall by stretching the wrist.
  • This position should be held for half a minute and repeated at least 5 times and a minimum of three times a day.

Strengthening Exercises for Thrower’s Elbow (Golfer’s Elbow or Medial Epicondylitis)

Static Exercises for Thrower’s Elbow

These exercises can be done as long as they are pain free. In case of pain, they should be stopped immediately.

  • The forearm should be placed on a flat surface with the palm facing up.
  • Keep the wrist in an extended position and the fingers directed downwards.
  • The wrist should be flexed and the other hand should be used to provide resistance.
  • Movement at the wrist should be avoided.
  • The contraction should be held for about 10 seconds.
  • Rest.
  • Repeat 5 to 10 times.
  • This contraction (static) should be increased gradually until 10 contractions of 10 seconds without pain can be done.

Dynamic Exercises for Thrower’s Elbow

When the static exercises can be done without causing any symptoms then dynamic exercises can be started. They should be stopped if they cause pain. These exercises can be done using small weights (around 1 kg) or a resistance band.

  • The arm should be placed on a flat surface.
  • The forearm and the palm should be facing downwards.
  • A fully flexed position with the hand pointing down should be adopted.
  • The wrist should be extended.
  • Initially 3 sets of 10 repetitions daily can be done and gradually increased to 3 sets of 30 reps.
  • The arm should be turned over and the palm should be facing upwards.
  • A fully extended position with the hand pointing down should be adopted.
  • The wrist should be flexed.
  • Initially 3 sets of 10 repetitions daily can be done and gradually increased to 3 sets of 30 reps.
Team PainAssist
Team PainAssist
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Team PainAssist, Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:June 11, 2018

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