There is nothing like a round of golf on a beautiful Saturday morning, the smell of freshly cut grass, birds chirping and the sun rising. When you suffer a sporting injury such as golfers elbow however; the joy of golf can turn into less than a joyful experience.
Known medically as medial epicondylitis, golfers elbow causes pain and discomfort at the inner elbow joint, spreading to the forearm and wrist.
Golfers elbow is not limited to golfers. Many activities can lead to golfers elbow including racket and throwing sports.
Similar to tennis elbow (or lateral epicondylitis), golfers elbow is related to excessive or repetitive stress, especially forceful wrist and finger motions, setting up an inflammatory response in the muscles and tendons that control your wrist and fingers.
Symptoms of Golfers Elbow
Symptoms can include stiffness in the elbow, a weakness in the hand and wrists, numbness or a tingling sensation into the hand. If left untreated golfers elbow can lead to persistent elbow pain.
Most common in men aged 29 to 40, golfers elbow can appear suddenly or gradually and may get worse when you:
- swing a club or raquet
- squeeze or throw a ball
- shake hands'
- turn a door knob
- pick up an object with your palm down
- flex your wrist toward your forearm
Treatment of Golfers Elbow
Put your golf game or other repetitive activities on hold until the pain is gone. If you return to activity too soon, you can worsen your condition.
2. Ice the affected area.
Apply ice packs to your elbow for 15 to 20 minutes at a time, three to four times a day for several days. To protect your skin, wrap the ice packs in a thin towel. It might help to massage your inner elbow with ice for five minutes at a time, two to three times a day.
3. Use a brace. Your doctor or physiotherapist might recommend that you wear a counterforce brace on your affected arm, which might reduce tendon and muscle strain. We fit and sell these at MTM Physiotherapy Subiaco.
4. Stretch and strengthen the affected area. Your doctor or Physiotherapist might suggest exercises for stretching and strengthening. Progressive loading of the tendon with specific strength training exercises has been shown to be especially effective.
5. Gradual return to the aggravating activity
Gradually return to your usual activities. When your pain is gone, practice the arm motions of your sport or activity. Review your golf swing with a Physiotherapist to ensure that your technique is correct, and make adjustments if needed.
Most people will get better with rest, ice and pain relievers. Depending on the severity of your condition, the pain might linger for months to years — so it is best to seek professional advice early to prevent your condition becoming chronic.
If you would like further information on the treatment of golfers elbow or took an appointment to see one of our Physiotherapist, please contact MTM Physiotherapy Subiaco.