Golfer's elbow, also known as medial epicondylitis, is caused by damage to the muscles and tendons that control your wrist and fingers. The damage is typically related to excess or repeated stress — especially forceful wrist and finger motions. Improper lifting, throwing or hitting, as well as too little warm-up or poor conditioning, also can contribute to golfer's elbow.

Many activities can lead to golfer's elbow, including:

  • Golf. Gripping or swinging clubs incorrectly or too forcefully can take a toll on your muscles and tendons.
  • Racket sports. Excessive topspin can hurt your elbow. Using a racket that's too small or heavy also can lead to injury.
  • Throwing sports. Improper pitching technique in baseball or softball can be another culprit. Football, archery and javelin throwing also can cause golfer's elbow.
  • Weight training. Lifting weights using improper technique, such as curling the wrists during a biceps exercise, can overload the elbow muscles and tendons.

In addition, any activity that requires repeatedly bending and straightening your elbow can cause golfer's elbow. This includes painting, raking, hammering, chopping wood, using a computer, doing assembly-line work and cooking. A day or two of yardwork or cooking for company usually won't cause golfer's elbow, though. The activity generally needs to be done for more than an hour a day on many days to cause a problem.

Aug. 25, 2015