Experiencing pain at the inner elbow can really interfere with your daily life. This condition, also known as golfer’s elbow, is a common one that affects many people. This kind of pain begins at the bony knob on the inside of the elbow and may radiate outward through the forearm. You may also experience weakness, especially when using your wrists; the pain may get worse with certain movements involving the hand or wrist.
Golfer’s elbow is caused by swelling and inflammation of the tendons on the inner side of the arm, the ones which connect the elbow to the forearm. This inflammation is the result of overuse or strain to the tendons from a repetitive motion. The name can be misleading, since it doesn’t only affect golfers; another name for it pitcher’s elbow, but that can also be too specific. People who play sports that rely on the forearm to grip, rotate, and flex at the wrist – such as baseball, bowling, golf, and tennis – are at risk, as are those who practice certain hobbies like painting and gardening. Your line of work may also be responsible: people who use tools such as screwdrivers, hammers, and rakes may be more likely to develop inner elbow pain.
If left untreated, inner elbow pain can become chronic or limit range of motion. Fortunately, this condition is pretty easy to treat at home: rest is the first, and most necessary, step. You’ll have to refrain from repetitive activities that strain the forearm and elbow; depending on the severity of the pain, this may be anywhere from a few days to a couple of weeks. When you do pick them up again, do so gradually. Over the counter pain medications are sufficient to help manage pain, and apply ice to the area regularly to help reduce swelling. You might also consider wearing a brace to reduce tension in the area.
Golfer’s elbow is rarely serious enough to require surgery or other extreme measures, but if pain is severe or lasts more than a few weeks, see your doctor.