Golfer’s elbow, or medial epicondylitis, is a common form of forearm tendonitis that affects many people, not just golfers. Medial epicondylitis is treated by Dr. Peter G. Fitzgibbons, MD at The Centers for Advanced Orthopaedics: Maryland Orthopedic Specialists Division. Dr. Fitzgibbons performed fellowship-training in hand, wrist, and elbow surgery through the Harvard Hand & Upper Extremity Fellowship based at Brigham & Women’s Hospital in Boston. With locations in both Germantown and Bethesda, Maryland, he and a team of orthopaedists, hand therapists, and physical therapists offer a comprehensive range of services covering the diagnosis and treatment of medial epicondylitis.
The medial epicondyle is the boney prominence on the inside of the elbow and is an attachment point for the forearm muscles that flex the wrist and rotate the forearm into a palm down position. It is a common spot for the tendon to develop degenerative changes which are essentially small tears at the attachment point that cause pain. The natural history of medial epicondylitis is that it resolves in the vast majority of patients on its own over time.
Initial treatment for medial epicondylitis is usually self-administered physical therapy exercises, activity modification, and over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications. Occasionally cortisone injections are used to help relieve symptoms. In a small number of patients, symptoms sometimes persist for a prolonged period of time in which case surgical debridement (removing degenerative tendon tissue) can be an option.
Surgery for medial epicondylitis is performed as an outpatient procedure and is usually done with general anesthesia. During the surgery, the degenerative tendon tissue is removed and tendon defect repaired. Dr. Fitzgibbons performs most of these procedures at the Massachusetts Avenue Surgery Center, an outpatient surgery center that provides a safe, patient-oriented experience in a friendly and comfortable environment.