Inflammation of the medial epicondyle of the humerus
Inflammation of the medial epicondyle of the humerus (enthesopathia epicondyli medialis humeri) is also called the golfer's elbow or, less frequently, the javelin’s elbow, or climber’s elbow. It is the pain syndrome of soft tissues located in the medial area of the elbow joint, the medial epicondyle of the elbow. This condition is usually caused by a microdamages emerging due to the overload.
They lead to the damage of tendons of the flexor muscles attached to the medial epicondyle of the humerus (mostly the pronator teres muscle and the flexor carpi radialis muscle). The inflammation of the medial epicondylitis of the humerus most commonly affects people who frequently perform the repetitive movements of the wrist against resistance, for example, in such occupations as:
- the golf
- squash players
Sometimes the disease also develops in people who have suffered from other injuries in the upper limb. This condition mainly affects people between 45 and 60 years of age and occurs more frequently among men than women.
THE GOLFER’S ELBOW
The main symptom of golfer's elbow is pain that appears in the medial part of the elbow joint, especially while bending the wrist and during the forearm pronation. During the period of progression of the disease, the pain also occurs at rest and is accompanied by a significant decrease of the muscle strength. In 60% of cases, these symptoms refer to the dominant hand.
The onset of the disease:
- in 30% is sharp and sudden, occurring in response to the single effort leading to microscopic tearing of tendons
- in the remaining 70% of cases the onset is slow, occurring as a result of accumulated microtraumas and overloading of the tendon attachment to the medial epicondyle of the humerus
These changes lead to occurrence of calcification, the local necrosis , as well as the inflammatory and degenerative changes. In case of the occurrence of the typical golfer's elbow symptoms , the rest is recommended, as well as the avoidance of further overloading (especially the kind of movements that cause pain), reduction of the physical activity, followed by the improvement in playing technique and full rehabilitation aimed at strengthening the muscles.
Due to the fact that just underneath the medial epicondyle of the humerus there is the area where the ulnar nerve runs, half of the patients with golfer's elbow also suffer from the coexistent neuropathy of this nerve.
- Athletes should pay attention to the technique of motion. A bad technique can cause overload or pain.
- People who perform work that engage forearm flexors and pronation muscles are advised to do more breaks.
- The workplace should be adjusted to ergonomic requirements: while working in front of the computer, ensure support for wrists and shoulders so that they do not remain in a forced position.
- Caring for flexibility and muscle strength, and proper movement is not only beneficial for the joints. The muscles support the entire skeleton structure, so their strength and flexibility are key in prevention.