Dealing with Golfer’s Elbow?
Here’s how we can help.
Golfer’s elbow, also known as medial epicondylitis, is caused by inflammation to the muscles and tendons that control your wrist and fingers. It is felt as pain or burning on the pinky side of the forearm.
The damage is typically related to excess or repeated stress — especially forceful wrist and finger motions – and often have nothing to do with golf. Improper lifting, throwing or hitting, as well as an improper warm-up or poor conditioning, can contribute to golfer’s elbow.
Besides golf, many activities and occupations can lead to golfer’s elbow, including:
- Racket sports. Improper technique with tennis strokes, especially the backhand, can cause injury to the tendon. Excessive use of topspin and using a racket that’s too small or heavy also can lead to injury.
- Throwing sports. Improper pitching technique in baseball or softball can be another culprit. Football, archery and javelin throwing also can cause golfer’s elbow.
- Weight training. Lifting weights using an improper technique, such as curling the wrists during a biceps exercise, can overload the elbow muscles and tendons.
- Forceful, repetitive occupational movements. These occur in fields such as construction, plumbing, and carpentry. It can also come from improper work ergonomics at the office.
To cause golfer’s elbow, the activity generally needs to be done repetitively, or frequently.
Prevention + Treatment
Golfer’s elbow is easily treatable and preventable.
- You can prevent golfer’s elbow by strengthening your forearm muscles. Use light weights or squeeze a stress ball. Even simple exercises can help your muscles absorb the energy of sudden physical stress.
- Engaging in active stretching before your activity can help your muscles warm up.
- Fix your form. Whatever your sport, ask an instructor to check your form to avoid overload on muscles.
- Use the right equipment such as lighter golf clubs, and size-appropriate tennis racket. A racket with a small grip or a heavy head may increase the risk of elbow problems.
- Pay attention to your wrists when you lift. When lifting anything — including free weights — keep your wrist rigid and stable (in a neutral position) to reduce the force to your elbow.
- Know when to rest. Try not to overuse your elbow. At the first sign of elbow pain, take a break.
A chiropractor can accurately diagnose the pain or injury and ensure proper function of the elbow and wrist joints to speed up recovery and minimize the risk of re-injury. Collaborative care between your chiropractor, physical therapist, and massage therapist can create the right formula to get you back to playing and working as you please.
Is your elbow causing you grief? If your elbow is in pain, know that relief is possible. Please contact us to book an appointment. You can reach our Byward clinic at 613.860.8600 and our Glebe clinic at 613.237.9000.