T Nation

Medial Epicondylitis (Golfer's Elbow)


I don't golf but I have it. Left elbow, on the inside. Have been told the only way to get rid of it is to stop doing anything that bothers it. I ice it after workouts and take OTC meds for inflamation. I am considering a cortisone shot. Anyone have any experience with this? There is a lot of information on tennis elbow (lateral) out there but less on golfer's.
In particular looking to see if any remidial exercise protocal did anything to help.

Thanks in advance for any suggestions.


What are you doing that bothers it? I assume some form of lifting/exercise since you're here, but it might help to know a little more about the background that lead to this.


After about 9 months of hard powerlifting training, I had it on both sides. I didn't get a cortisone shot, but I tried my usual stuff - rest, ice, ibuprofen, avoiding the worst-offending movements. The left one got mostly better, but I still had pain in the right elbow after a year and a half.
Based on a recommendation in an Eric Cressey article, I just got some ART (Active Release Technique)therapy. After five treatments and a lot of stretching, I am pretty much cured. Part of the diagnosis was tightness and nerve entrapment all the way from the neck, thru pec minor, biceps, forearm. I intend to carefully regain the lost strength and continue the stretching.


It started when I was trying to increase pull up rep max. The goal was to try to get back to 20 reps. Volume apparently got too high. This seems to be the only thing that had changed substantially in my workout when it started to become a problem. Grip was pronated with hands slightly wider than shoulder width. Reps were all submaximal but set were as high as 8 per workout. I actually started to feel it in both elbows but the right one has recovered. It has been several months now and the left seems to be only getting worse.


Its tendonitis and with this condition you have two choices.
1. Stop doing whatever lift is pissing it off, until it stops hurting.
2. Get long acting depomedrol (steroid) shot, which is a temporary fix.
3. Not an option in my opinion, surgery.

I take it posting in this forum you are not a spring chicken, your body is telling you that you are doing something to piss it off. It sucks but not much else you can do. I have had it and I also have had patients that had it so take my advise as you see fit. Good luck.


Oh...this bitch. I had this for 9-12 months (maybe longer). I can still feel it sometimes now 2 years later. The cause was chins...too heavy and too often. Similar to your situation, I was pushing hard to improve my numbers while ignoring the complaints coming from my body.

As JDHT mentioned, I had to completely eliminate any exercise that aggravated it. I trained around it but that sucked. Squats sucked because of the tension on the inside of the elbow. Some back exercises were OK. Bicep training was out of the question for a long time. I did some soft tissue work with a ball and wore a compression elbow sleeve which seemed to help with discomfort.

Rightly or wrongly, I didn't go for an injection.


I should have mentioned that I did a lot of stretching. And if I had been smart about it I would have investigated ART therapy.


You did the right thing I have a couple of orthopaedic surgeon friends. They only do the shots to get more money, they know it is a temporary fix. Surgery will put you out for a year minimum for full recovery. It sucks to stop doing certain lifts, but here is my other two cents.

You are probably doing it on something you are really good at and you do a lot. Just take a break for a few months, work on something that you do not do a lot of. Work on another weakness not getting a stronger lift better. Again just my free medical lifting advice.


Sorry, I should have been clearer. I had it previously but have been pain-free for 2 years. It was a long road though.


I've been suffering with this for the last 9 months in both elbows. It seemed to come on suddenly and at its worst was so bad that I had to use two hands to take the milk out the fridge. I got some strong anti-inflammatories (diclofenac then voltarol and then naproxen) from the doctors and was on them for 3 months or so.

I stopped all upperbody training completely until the pain went away and then gradually introduced some body weight dips and some light curls. I introduced some overhead pressing and chins last week and so far things are o.k. I think the main culprit for me was weighted chin ups (supinated grip). I would consider a cortisone inj only as a very last resort. My wife had one in her achilles tendon and had to be put in plaster as the chances of a rupture are much increased. What I do know is that it wont go away if you keep training on it! Good luck.


Weighted chin-ups. Seems to be a pattern forming.
I did my first weighted chin in 2 years last week. No elbow discomfort.


I should have been clearer also, my comments were to the OP. I figured you had fixed yours with your comments.


OK - Good advice. I am no spring chicken. 50 and have been training for 35 of those years. I am expecting some of my parts to start to wear a little and my body has'nt disappointed me.
The plan:
1. Stop all exercises that aggravate the problem.
2. Keep up the anti-inflammation meds.
3. Look into ART.
4. Last ditch - shot
5. No to any suggestion of surgery.
6. When recovered, reevaluate my need for pull ups in the program.

Thanks everyone.


And the last thing I do is a shot of whiskey and get the wife to rub it (the hurt body part). Good luck man.