Golfer’s or Pitcher’s Elbow

by Rachel Varga, Registered Physiotherapist

Most of us are probably familiar with, or have heard of, the classic elbow injury known as “Tennis Elbow.” However, did you know that there is another less common, yet equally bothersome injury known as “Golfer’s Elbow” or “Pitcher’s Elbow?” The two injuries are quite similar but are located in different areas and impact separate muscle groups in the forearm. Therefore, they require completely different interventions.

The purpose of this blog post is to elaborate on “Golfer’s/Pitcher’s Elbow”, otherwise known as Medial Epicondylitis. If you would like to learn more about “Tennis Elbow” (Lateral Epicondylalgia), please refer to Synergy Physiotherapist, Rebecca Watson’s blog post: Tennis Elbow Doesn’t Have to Cause a Racquet!

Medial Epicondylitis is an issue that presents as pain on the inside of the elbow at a part of the bone called the medial epicondyle, where the muscles involved attach. It can also sometimes cause tightness in these muscles located on the same side of the forearm as the palm of your hand. The primary muscles affected in this injury are the Flexor Carpi Radialis and the Pronator Teres.

 Flexor Carpi Radialis

 Pronator Teres

These muscles function to flex the wrist (bend the wrist down) and pronate the forearm (turn the forearm to have the palm face down).

Medial Epicondylitis is more often seen in men between the 4th and 6th decade and is caused by activities involving repetitive movement into wrist flexion and forearm pronation. The most common activities this injury occurs in include:

  • Sport: baseball, tennis and golf
  • Occupation: plumber and carpenter

One primary goal of physiotherapy in this type of injury is to work on progressive resistance training for the wrist flexor and forearm pronator muscle groups. Below, two exercises that address these areas are demonstrated.

Wrist Flexion with a Resistance Band

Position yourself in sitting with your forearm supported on a surface, palm facing up, and holding on to a resistance band that is anchored below. Slowly bend your wrist up against the resistance.

Perform 3 sets of 10 repetitions.

Forearm Pronation with a Hammer

Position yourself in sitting with your elbow at your side, arm bent to 90-degrees and holding on to a hammer, palm facing up. Slowly turn your forearm so that your palm faces down.

Perform 3 sets of 10 repetitions.

PLEASE NOTE: These are only general exercise examples and may not be appropriate for everyone. It will be dependent on the severity of the injury and the stage of healing. Therefore, if you are experiencing elbow pain and want to determine the best approach for you to take to heal it, book an appointment with our Registered Physiotherapist, Rachel Varga, at Synergy Sports Medicine East on the Danforth!

Rachel VargaRachel Varga

Physiotherapist – B.A. Hons (Kin), MSc.PT
Rachel Varga is a physiotherapist practicing at Synergy Sports Medicine, East End (2017 Danforth Avenue)


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