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Pain Treatments

Golfer’s Elbow (Medial Epicondylitis) Injection

Golfer’s Elbow (Medial Epicondylitis) Injection

The muscles on the front of the forearm (palm side) originate at the inner elbow and attach to the fingers on the palm side to help close the fingers into a fist. Activities that require repeated and forceful contraction of these muscles can cause trauma to the tendon at the site of origin. This overload can lead to tendonitis. While there can be many causes for this tendon injury, it is best known for the association with golf.

The doctor will numb the skin above the tendon at the inner elbow. Then, guided by feel or ultrasound, he will:

  • Insert a thin needle into the tendon using a technique called “peppering”, which is where the needle is moved rapidly and around the inside tendon.
  • Inject a mixture of anesthetic (for temporary pain relief) and steroid or platelet rich plasma (for long term pain relief)

The medicines help to block the pain signal, like turning off a light switch. Usually, the procedure takes less than five minutes and you can go home the same day.

Some patients report pain relief within the first few hours after the injection, but pain may return later that day as the local anesthetic wears off. Longer-term relief is obtained with use of a corticosteroid or platelet rich plasma.

How long the pain relief lasts varies person to person. For some, the relief lasts several months or longer. If the treatment works for you, you can have periodic injections to stay pain-free. It is typically our recommendation that repeat injections be performed with platelet rich plasma.

The risk of a complication from tendon injections is very low. Rarely, complications include bleeding or infection at the injection site, which is unusual for a tendon injection. Most of the time, these effects resolve within a few hours. There are reports in the medical literature of tendon rupture regarding repeat or long-term use of corticosteroids for this kind of injury.

Do not do any rigorous activity for the first day after your tendon injection. Take it easy. You can return to your normal activities the next day that do not involve a forceful hand grip. Do not drive the day of the injection if you have had any form of anesthesia.

You may continue your regular diet and medications immediately.

In some cases, it may take several injections to achieve the desired results. If you don’t feel better within the first two weeks, see your doctor to discuss different treatment options.

Not sure what treatment options are best for you?  Contact us today to see how we can help you.

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