Golfers elbow also known as medial epicondylitis is where there is pain on the inside of the elbow, and not outside as seen in tennis elbow. It can commonly occur from playing golf but is also caused by racket sports such as badminton, throwing sports like baseball, and can even be caused from repetitive work such as typing. Weight lifters and body builders are also prone to this injury if the wrists are curled during biceps muscle strengthening training regimes.
Research has already confirmed that acupuncture is beneficial for tennis elbow and in New Zealand the Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC) covers the cost of treatment for lateral and medial epicondylitis.
Symptoms of golfers elbow can start soon after a sudden force to the elbow or wrist or it can gradually develop.
The main symptoms are:
- Pain on the inside of the elbow
- Stiffness of elbow joint
- Inability to make a strong fist
- Weakness in hands and wrists
- Numbness in ring and little fingers
For most sports people there is difficulty in resuming their sport because there is difficulty in swinging a racket or golf club and experience weakness when trying to squeeze their wrists.
Inflammation accompanied with a feeling of heat inside the elbow is commonly seen in golfers elbow. Ironically, in Chinese medicinal treatment, the application of heat in the form of moxibustion is used to help hasten the recovery of the injury.
Matt Callison, well known US Sports Medicine Acupuncture educator and author has mapped out specific motor points that can be used in golfers elbow and that can accelerate treatment progress.
A number of well known golfers such as Freddy Couples, Paul Casey and Michelle Wie are regular patients of acupuncture and it has been well publicized in US tabloids. Korean born and now New Zealand citizen, Danny Lee, is also a fan of acupuncture and recently became involved in a sponsorship deal with an acupuncture clinic in Los Angeles. Danny Lee attended Rotorua Boy’s High School and became the youngest ever winner of the US Amateur Championship in 2008.