Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine

Elbow FAQ

Question:

Have you ever heard of a nine-year-old having golfer's elbow? Our daughter has been complaining about elbow pain for months. We finally took her into see the pediatric orthopedic specialist and that's the diagnosis. She doesn't even play golf!

Answer:

Elbow, wrist, thumb, and hand problems are fairly common -- and they affect people of all ages from young to old. Many are the result of overuse syndromes. Overuse syndromes refers to pain, tenderness, and dysfunction from tissue damage caused by repetitive, prolonged, or forceful use of the thumb, hand, wrist, or elbow. Additionally, assuming awkward positions repeatedly can also contribute to the problem. Just in the last five years, there has been an increase in the number of children affected by overuse syndromes. Increased participation in organized sports seems to be at the center of this phenomenon. Primary care physicians report that up to half of the sports injuries they see in children and adolescents are from overuse. Even if your daughter isn't playing golf, there may be some other activity she is involved in that could create similar problems at the elbow. Folf (a combination of golf and frisbee), also referred to as disc golf or even just playing frisbee could be a potential source of problems. Participating in musical endeavors involving the repetitive use of the arm and especially elbow may be a factor. It would be a good idea to review her daily activities and look for any kind of motion that is repeated over and over. Check on her sleep pattern. Does she rest her head on her arm while watching television or while sleeping? Any awkward position or prolonged posture could be a major factor. Finding the underlying cause will be important in reducing the symptoms. Activity modification is important in the management of this problem. Arthur C. Rettig, MD. Tests and Treatments of Overuse Syndromes: 20 Clinical Pearls. In The Journal of Musculoskeletal Medicine. July 2009. Vol. 26. No. 7. Pp. 263-271.

*Disclaimer:* The information contained herein is compiled from a variety of sources. It may not be complete or timely. It does not cover all diseases, physical conditions, ailments or treatments. The information should NOT be used in place of visit with your healthcare provider, nor should you disregard the advice of your health care provider because of any information you read in this topic.
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