Is Golfer’s Elbow Serious?

Golfer’s elbow, like so many other ailments of the elbow, can start out mild but quickly escalate into debilitating pain. Most people begin with rest, ice, and possibly analgesics, but when the pain lingers past the point where self-care is no longer working, then it’s time to see an elbow pain doctor here in San Diego.

Golfer’s elbow is technically known as medial epicondylitis. It arises from overuse – too much swinging, pulling, lifting, and otherwise stressing the muscles and tendons in your elbow. When that overuse becomes longstanding or chronic, the pain may be proportionally persistent.

Visiting an elbow pain specialist in San Diego for golfer’s elbow will typically leave you fitted with a brace. You may also receive some stronger pain management medications, and possibly platelet rich plasma injections, which involve spinning out your own blood and re-injecting it at the site to promote faster healing.

If all else fails, there’s elbow surgery. This is typically a last resort, but it can also be effective. When swelling or damage gets too great to clear on its own, a San Diego elbow surgeon can help to create more room in the joint, and possibly replace damaged tissue.

For more information how to treat golfer’s elbow, call us anytime.

Relieve Elbow Pain Here in San Diego

Muscle and tendon pain in the elbow is typically given one of two names: tennis elbow for the outside of the joint, and golfer’s elbow for the inside. Both injuries are related: when repetitive movements stress the tendons anywhere past their limit, the resulting pain can be persistent and difficult to treat.

This article takes a look at an escalating series of options for resolving elbow pain, from rest and anti-inflammatories to steroids and surgery. Of that last option, the author notes that although it is generally a last resort, it also may be necessary:

“The last resort is surgery, an arthroscopic tendon release,” Suppiah says. “But it might be necessary if you suffer from repeated issues with the tendons — tendinosis — and nothing else works.”

The first step in resolving your elbow pain is to visit an orthopedic surgeon in San Diego. When you speak with the professionals in my office, you can expect the gold standard in diagnosis and care. If elbow surgery is required, I can speak with you about the best options right away.

When to Worry About Everyday Elbow Pain

Most of us experience elbow pain at some point in our lives. Whether it’s an ulnar nerve bang or the strain of heavy lifting, these pains typically go away on their own.

But as people grow older and engage in more intensive activities such as exercise and yard work, they may discover that the pain tends to linger longer and longer. Symptoms such as tennis elbow no longer require a racket or ball to make an appearance; many people feel the same aching soreness because of simple household tasks.

So when is it time to visit an elbow pain specialist in San Diego? This article describes what you need to know:

Applying ice and taking an over-the-counter pain medication can help. If simple at-home measures don’t work, your doctor can prescribe a brace or a special type of strap can be worn around the arm to avoid aggravating the tendonitis.

And if that doesn’t work?

If you’ve suffered with tennis elbow for 6 weeks or longer, your case may be on the tougher side and it’s a good idea to talk to your doctor.

To speak with the best orthopedic surgeons in San Diego about some conservative options today, contact the elbow pain experts here.

Better Imaging for Pediatric Elbow Pain

Elbow pain is a common complaints among young athletes , especially those who get involved in rigorous sports. Although many of these complaints arise from chronic overuse, some elbow pain originate with an injury on the field, the court, or in the gym.

In my field of orthopedic surgery, imaging remains the key to successful intervention. Properly visualizing and diagnosing elbow pain is essential element of orthopedic care, and the only way to ensure your surgeon can work effectively to relieve the pain.

This recent article looked at the rapidly evolving landscape for imaging and understanding elbow pain, covering everything from radiography to sonography, CT and MRI. Issues under review include tennis elbow, pitcher’s elbow, golf elbow and cubital tunnel.

The conclusion comes with a solid guide:

Imaging plays an important role in the evaluation of athletes with elbow soft tissue and/or osseous trauma. Tendinosis and tendon tears of the common extensor tendon origin occurring in tennis players are far more common than injuries involving the common flexor-pronator tendon origin of golfers and pitchers. Concomitant lateral and medial collateral ligament injuries should be sought with MR imaging or sonography in patients with recalcitrant elbow pain in order to address underlying sources of instability.

If you’ve been having chronic elbow pain in San Diego and want to speak with an expert orthopedic surgeon today, please contact my offices for a full diagnostic visit.

Understanding Elbow Surgery

As a San Diego orthopedic surgeon who treats kids alongside adults, I spend a lot of time talking to athletes about how to extend their active careers.

Baseball is an evergreen topic when it comes to sports medicine, especially the various burdens that pitchers place on their shoulders and elbows. Many of these conversations focus on the pros and cons of a common elbow surgery procedure known as Tommy John surgery. At one end of the spectrum I see rising pitchers who wonder when they might require a Tommy John procedure, while at the other I field questions from seasoned pitchers who have had the procedure and wonder what to expect as they ease out of their competitive years.

The answers to such questions typically depend on each patient’s individual history, genetics and lifestyle, but they all start with an understanding of the process. This article covers the basics of Tommy John surgery in simple language, including this key passage about a wrist tendon known as the palmaris:

Once the tendon is harvested, the doctor will have the tendon cleaned and cut to size while he goes back into the elbow. Holes are drilled through the bones of the upper and lower arm, angled to allow the tendon to loop through and be placed in as near an identical position as the damaged ligament. In some cases the doctor will leave the damaged tendon in place, but most dissect it away.

The donor tendon is then looped through two or three times and locked into place. The doctor will then check that the ulnar nerve (“funny bone”), which runs through the same area, is not entrapped. Some doctors will move (transpose) the nerve as a matter of course, while others leave it in place. Nerve entrapment is one of the most common complications of the surgery. Tommy John himself suffered from the issue.

Recovery is often rapid, and research shows that this kind of elbow surgery is surprisingly durable and resilient. It’s not a magic bullet, however, and pitchers should be disabused of the notion that it will result in superhuman improvement. Like anything else, the mechanics of Tommy John surgery don’t hold up forever, and revision or followup appointments may be required.

Bottom line: if you’re experiencing elbow pain already, it’s wise to speak with an orthopedic surgeon about your options for surgery, recovery, and aftercare. To learn more, contact the San Diego elbow surgery experts here today.