Stretching/Warming Up: Golfer’s Elbow
Prevention, symptoms and treatment advice for one of golf’s most-common ailments
Golfer’s elbow, also known as medial epicondylitis, causes pain and inflammation in the tendons that connect the forearm muscles to the bone found on the inside of the elbow. Golfer’s elbow is often compared with tennis elbow. Although the injuries are similar, golfer’s elbow occurs on the inside of the elbow while tennis elbow affects the outside of the elbow.
What is Golfer’s Elbow?
Golfer’s elbow is less common than tennis elbow, however, both are a form of tendonitis. Similar to many golf injuries, golfer’s elbow is typically the result of overuse. However, anyone who creates a repetitive motion with their wrists or clench their fingers is susceptible to developing golfer’s elbow.
Examples of everyday activities include: writing, typing, hammering, painting and wrist curls at the gym. The pain associated from golfer’s elbow can last anywhere from a week, month or even a year depending on the severity of the injury. Healing time is compromised without the proper amount of rest. In addition to overuse, golfer’s elbow is also stems from poor strength and flexibility. Limited flexibility often prohibits the wrist from moving in a 90-degree motion, increasing the likelihood of injury.
Several symptoms are common with golfers elbow. Pain, tenderness and weakness occur on the inside of the elbow and extend down the forearm. Stiffness is generally common and pain extends into the wrist, hand and inability to clench a fist. Pain is worse through gripping activities. Swelling often occurs with a numbness and tingling sensation that extends down the forearm, hands and fingers.
Swelling is a common reaction to golfer’s elbow. Therefore, anti-inflammatory medications are used to control pain and inflammation. Regularly applying ice is recommended to help control pain and inflammation. In some cases, cortisone injections are used to alleviate pain. Stretching and exercise are beneficial to help control symptoms of golfer’s elbow. However, make sure the injury is healed, if you are still experiencing pain there is a chance to aggravate the injury and prolong recovery time. Applying pressure and deep massage to the specific area will help improve circulation.
Although golfer’s elbow is relatively easy to diagnose, people should seek medical attention. Rest and ice help give the injury time to heal. Many opt to use a brace to help alleviate pain surrounding their elbow. The brace will apply pressure on the muscles below the elbow and help relieve the pain caused by golfer’s elbow. There are several different brace that will help reduce the pain and not affect range of motion.
Strengthening the forearm muscles is a common method used to help prevent golfer’s elbow. The repetitive motion of gripping the club too tight or the club striking ground can aggravate the injury. Two simple exercises such as squeezing a ball or wrist curls can help strengthen the forearm muscles and prevent injury. Squeezing a ball will help build forearm strength and can be done from the comfort of your home with nearly any kind of ball that will easily fit in your hand. Switch hands after a few minutes. Wrist curls will also strengthen the forearm muscles. Use lightweight dumbbells to avoid creating an injury.