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What is medial epicondylitis?

Medial epicondylitis (golfer’s elbow) is a type of tendinitis that affects the inside of the elbow. It develops where tendons in the forearm muscle connect to the bony part on the inside of the elbow.

Tendons attach muscles to bones. Due to injury or irritation, they can become swollen and painful. Although medial epicondylitis is referred to as golfer’s elbow, it doesn’t just affect golfers. It can occur from any activity involving the use of the arms or wrists.

What are the symptoms of medial epicondylitis?

Medial epicondylitis can occur suddenly or develop slowly over a period of time. Symptoms can range from mild to severe. If you have golfer’s elbow, you may experience any of the following:

  • pain on the inside of your elbow
  • elbow stiffness
  • hand and wrist weakness
  • tingling sensation or numbness in the fingers, especially the ring and little fingers
  • difficulty moving the elbow

It’s not unusual for elbow pain to radiate down the arm to the wrist. This makes it difficult to complete everyday activities, such as picking up items, opening a door, or giving a handshake. Typically, medial epicondylitis affects the dominant arm.

What are the causes of medial epicondylitis?

Medial epicondylitis is caused by repetitive motions, which is why this condition occurs among athletes. Golfers may develop this type of tendinitis from repeatedly swinging a golf club, whereas tennis players can develop it from repeatedly using their arms to swing a tennis racket. In both cases, overuse of the arms and wrist damages tendons and triggers pain, stiffness, and weakness.

Other risk factors for this type of tendinitis include playing baseball or softball, rowing, and weightlifting. Activities like playing an instrument and typing on the computer can also lead to medial epicondylitis.