Golfer’s elbow is also known as medial epicondylitis. It is an injury caused by overuse and affects the inside portion of the elbow. Pain is often described as a dull ache at rest, pain with making a fist, soreness along the inside of the elbow, or difficulty and pain with grasping objects with an outstretched arm. Even though it is commonly known as a golfer’s elbow, it can affect anyone with repetitive stress on the tendons on the inside of the elbow.
medial epicondylitis Causes:
Repetitive stress on the medial elbow can be caused by a variety of activities. Four examples are:
- Golfing: Technique can play a role in irritating the elbow in this case. If you have poor swing mechanics or are using excessive force during your swing, this can lead to irritation at the medial elbow.
- Tennis: Frequently using a backhand stroke can put you at higher risk of developing a golfer’s elbow.
- Weightlifting: Excess repetition of wrist and forearm exercises may aggravate, especially if poor form is used during these workouts.
- Painting: Over extended periods this can aggravate the elbow due to the reaching and twisting motions.
Golfer’s elbow Prevention:
Avoiding overuse of the forearm muscles is key to prevention. Here are our 4 tips to help prevent this injury:
- Warm-up properly. When doing activities that require repetitive wrist and elbow movements, it’s important to make sure the muscles and joints are warmed up and mobile just like you warm up any body part before exercise. Moving your wrists and elbows through their ranges of motion can be helpful before jumping into an activity or exercise.
- Technique and equipment. Using the right tools for the job or equipment for a sport is essential for any activity. Using ill-fitting or inappropriate equipment can lead to poor technique and thus injury. Your technique can also suffer if you become too fatigued or unfocused on the activity. This too can lead to injury.
- Gradual exercise increase is best. Allow your body to adapt to an increased load and strain on it. This can be done by gradually increasing your activity level or weight. Jumping in with too much too soon can lead to an overuse injury. Your body needs time to build strength and endurance.
- Take breaks. Your body needs time and a chance to recover. Recovery will allow the tissues to adapt to new stresses put on them. Add a variety of activities to your routine so that your body isn’t continuously strained from the same activity.
Treatment options for golfer’s elbow can vary depending on the severity of the complaint. Typically, starting with conservative measures such as rest from the aggravating activity and ice can help alleviate symptoms and swelling. If symptoms are persistent, seeing a practitioner who can perform manual therapies such as a physiotherapist, chiropractor, or massage therapist can help to strengthen weak muscles, reduce swelling, relieve tension, and reduce irritation at the joint and surrounding soft tissue.
For more information on our healthcare providers and how we can help you, please visit our clinic websites at Byward and Glebe. If you are experiencing the mentioned symptoms of a golfer’s elbow and they are not improving with ice and rest, it’s best to seek help. Getting an assessment from your healthcare team can prevent the issue from becoming chronic and causing further damage to the tendons of the elbow.