What is “golfer’s elbow” and how could be treated? 05.10.2021

Some of our patients might seem familiar to you.:) The former Czech national football team player Mr Horst Siegl has recently visited MY CLINIC. He was treated by MUDr. Robert Frei, Chief of Orthopedics, with a condition called “golfer’s elbow”.

If you are experiencing pain in your elbow even during common activities like turning a driving wheel or some DIY activities, you might be suffering from “golfer’s elbow”. It is a painful syndrome that affects the inside of the elbow. The pain manifests itself especially when the wrist is bent. This condition is caused by an acute or chronic overstraining of the muscles flexing the wrist and fingers.

Overstraining of the forearm muscle attachment, i.e. enthesopathy, occurs quite frequently and is rather annoying for the patient. Treatment is often difficult and long-term because upper limbs are used daily for common activities and therefore it is difficult to ensure a full resting mode.

There are several ways of treatment of the “golfer’s elbow” condition. These include physical therapy (healing ultrasound, LASER, shockwave) or physiotherapy based mainly on the stretching exercise, work with fascia or kinesiology taping. Sometimes local or general pharmacotherapy is used which basically means prescribing an anti-inflammation medication. Surgery might become necessary if problems persist and/or chronic degenerative changes occur.

As part of the treatment a therapy based on using Plasma Rich in Growth Factors could be used beneficially. What is it? Human blood consists of red and white blood cells and also platelets. Platelets are present in the blood plasma and they contain many “growth factors” (not to be confused with “growth hormones”) which support many body processes associated with the tissue regeneration and growth. However, these are normally available only in limited amount (in place and time).

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For the purpose of treatment a specific amount of the patient’s blood is taken from the vein directly into a special container which has a substance preventing blood clotting and a separation gel inside. After 5 minutes of centrifugation the blood is separated through the separation gel into individual parts. This way the blood plasma rich in growth factors is generated, possibly also in combination with hyaluronic acid which is beneficial in the treatment as well.

The generated blood plasma is then applied into the patient's affected area. The application itself is quite short and the patient can leave home shortly afterwards. Sports activity is not recommended for 1-2 days after the application. A therapeutical effect is achieved in several weeks. The application must be repeated 3-5 times following the indication. Time between applications is usually 1-2 weeks. The important point is that such treatment is actually supporting the healing capabilities of the body itself. We are not trying to stop the inflammation in particular body part but instead we support a natural healing process.

MUDr. Robert Frei, Chief of Orthopedics at MY CLINIC