Diagnosing Golfers Elbow
Diagnosis of the condition known as golfer’s elbow
is generally a clinical one. Meaning your physiotherapist, doctor or appropriately skilled practitioner following listening to the history and behavior of the complaint and having performed some appropriate physical assessments can confidently confirm the source of the patient’s medial elbow pain. Doing so, without the need for any diagnostic investigations such as X-rays, ultrasound scans, or MRI… Investigations are occasionally used with medial elbow pain should assistance be required in making an accurate diagnosis, grade the severity of the injury and rule out potential coexisting causes of pain that could impact treatment. Again, this is normally unnecessary, and likely only to be unitized should conservative management fail to progress as planned, or an exact diagnosis of the cause of medial elbow pain is proving challenging.
Treatment Of Medial Elbow Pain
Physiotherapy is widely considered an effective conservative approach to managing golfers elbow and is commonly adopted as first line treatment for medial elbow pain and other soft tissue complaints at the elbow, including tennis elbow. Physiotherapy treatment aims to bring about a reduction in symptoms and restoration of function. Achieved through facilitating tissue repair and restoring tissue strength and mobility where necessary.
Golfers elbow can be an extremely frustrating condition for some patients, where it is not uncommon for a medial elbow pain from golfers elbow complaint to persist for months or even a year, or two. Physiotherapy treatment can be effective in helping patients in both the acute and chronic setting. Depending on the stage of healing and the severity of functional limitation and symptoms so of the possible treatment options we use a physiotherapist at our Randwick practice include:
- manual therapy
- advice regarding activity modification and/or technique adjustments
- strengthening exercises, commonly prescribing eccentric loading exercises
- counterforce bracing, or taping techniques
- dry needling
- Shockwave therapy
Your physiotherapist will likely prescribe take home exercises for you to continue the management of the condition once you leave the practice. Take home exercises regularly include loading exercises like eccentric strengthening. However, it may also be the view that your golfers elbow has contributing factors beyond exclusively being a local tendinopathy
. or neural mobility exercises. Meaning you may also be prescribed neck, upper back or neural mobility exercises, as well as postural training activities as deemed necessary.
Similarly, to treating lateral elbow tendinopathies the use of offloading supports often referred to as “tennis elbow straps
” are an effective addition to golfers elbow management. Your physio can help assess for the appropriateness of bracing options in your situation and guide you around the desired use in sport, daily life. Offloading straps function as a counter force brace to unload irritated structures dissipating stressful gripping forces away from the painful area.
When Possible Always Look To Address Tendinopathies Early
It holds true with most conditions, the sooner you visit your physio and engage in treatment the better and managing medial elbow pain is no different. Initiating treatment sooner rather than later means you are more likely you achieve a good result and resume pre-injury activities sooner. Ideally most people wish to avoiding the need for any minimally invasive treatment approaches like corticosteroid injections and platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injections. Both treatment options for stubborn tennis and golfers elbow complaints. However at the Movement Centre we like to thing that the majority of people get better with a touch of rest and/or modification of aggravating activities and the appropriate physiotherapy treatment.
Referred Pain And The Elbow
Worth noting is that the cervical spine can refer pain into the upper limb, including the inside of the elbow, sometimes mimicking the pain of golfers elbow. It is therefore relevant to mention any neck discomfort to your physio, regardless of how irrelevant it may seem to you. Local elbow treatment will be fruitless if the nature of the pain is that is referred from the neck.