Fortunately, golfer’s elbow is rarely surgical and does not cause any long-term disability. In most cases, this condition is treated with the proper rest and rehabilitation.
- Lifestyle modification. If golfer’s elbow does not respond to rest and rehabilitation, then lifestyle modifications may be considered as an option for treatment. Generally with athletes, this problem can be resolved with a change in technique or swing mechanics.
- Altering swing mechanics. The athlete must be sure that the golf clubs are sized properly and the grip is appropriate. Proper swing mechanics must be assessed and modified if necessary. A golf professional or instructor will be able to provide an expert analysis.
- Anti-inflammatory medications. Inflammation and pain can be easily controlled through the use of oral medications.
- Stretching and exercises. Golfer’s elbow symptoms may also be controlled through simple stretches and exercises. It is important to note that these exercises should not be painful to perform, and if they are they should be avoided until the pain has subsided. By strengthening the tendons and muscles involved with golfer’s elbow, the patient can help keep the problem from returning.
- Cortisone injections. If other conservative treatments for golfer’s elbow fail, a cortisone (steroid) injection may be considered. However, if the individual has undergone two or more cortisone injections without adequate relief, it is unlikely that additional injections will benefit the patient
The treatment prescribed for an olecranon fracture depends entirely on the amount of displacement of the fracture fragments as well as the function of the triceps muscle. If the fracture is minimally displaced, or non-displaced, and the triceps muscle is still able to extend the elbow, then surgery may not be required. In such cases, rest and protected motion will usually heal the fracture over time.
There are several available treatments for tennis elbow. These usually start off conservatively, and work to more involved treatments. Nonoperative treatment is successful in over 90% of patients.
- Lifestyle Modification – Lifestyle modification is important if tennis elbow does not resolve or if it recurs. With athletes, often an improvement in technique (see below) can resolve the problem.
- Changing Stroke Mechanics and Racquet – Tennis racquets should be sized properly, including grip size. Higher stringing tensions may contribute to tennis elbow. Playing on harder surfaces also increases the risk of developing tennis elbow. Stroke mechanics should be evaluated to ensure patients are hitting the ball in the center of the racquet and players should not lead the racquet with a flexed elbow. See a tennis pro/instructor for a swing and racquet evaluation.
- Anti-inflammatory Medications– Anti-inflammatory medications are often used to help control pain and inflammation. The oral forms of these medications are easy to take, and often help control the inflammation as well as manage the pain associated with tennis elbow.
Cortisone Injections. If these conservative measures fail, a steroid (cortisone) injection is a reasonable option. If a person has tried more than three cortisone injections without relief, it is unlikely that additional injections will benefit the patient.
- Elbow Brace and Exercises – An elbow orthosis, called an elbow strap, can be worn. The theory behind using this elbow strap is that the brace will dampen or diminish the pull of injury muscles. Patients often find relief of pain when using the clasp during activities.
- Exercise. Some simple exercises can also be helpful in controlling the symptoms of tennis elbow. These exercises should not cause pain, and if they do the exercises should not be done until the pain resolves. By strengthening and strengthening the muscles and tendons involved with tennis elbow, you can help prevent the problem from returning.
The treatment of a radial head fracture is largely dependent on the appearance of the fracture on an X-ray. If the radial head fracture is not severely displaced, it can be managed by simply splinting the elbow for a relatively brief period of time.
Most treatment for injuries involving the throwing shoulder and elbow are nonoperative. When this fails, surgery may be indicated.
Nonoperative treatment is usually prescribed if the injury is:
- A direct result of overuse.
- The result of a sudden (acute) injury that does not have severe damage in the shoulder or elbow.
In most cases, injuries to the throwing shoulder and elbow will respond to ice, rest, a program of rehabilitation exercises, splints, and pain medication.
This type of injury usually requires approximately six to twelve months to heal completely.
Initial treatment includes rest from the sport or offending activity coupled with ice and anti-inflammatories (if your medical history allows it). A brace or supportive device may also allow functional motion without stressing the injured ligament.
Non-operative treatment may allow many non-athletes to return to routine activities. This often includes a structured physical therapy program to restore elbow range of motion and strength and return to sports over a three to four month period.