Golfer’s elbow surgery

What is it?

You might require surgery if you suffer from golfer’s elbow (sometimes referred to as medial epicondylitis), which has not responded to non-operative treatment. Normally this is treated with physiotherapy and injection treatment. However if you have not responded to non-surgical treatment, a golfer's elbow operation will be advised.

Golfer’s elbow is most commonly caused by overuse of the muscles and tendons of the forearm and elbow. Repeating certain types of activities over and over again can put too much strain on the tendons around the bone that protrudes on the inside of the elbow. This will cause pain that radiates from the elbow into your forearm, stiffness in the elbow and occasionally causes tingling or pins and needles in the fingers.

Activities that bring about golfers elbow aren’t limited to golf and can also include swimming, gardening or manual work. Occasionally this comes on without any particular activity.

Diagnosis and treatment

Your specialist will examine you and ask you to demonstrate certain movements to check how well your elbow is working.

You might need some additional tests:

  • X-ray
  • Ultrasound scan
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan

The surgeon operates to clean up the scar tissue and inflammation around the tendon. In addition, any scar tissue or compression around the nerve which runs alongside the bone is removed to relieve pain.

The procedure is carried out under general anaesthetic, which means you are asleep for the procedure. The wounds will take approximately two weeks to heal and should be kept clean and dry during this time.

A phased return to day-to-day activity is recommended, with a return to work after two weeks and return to normal activities after eight weeks.

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