Golf can be a pain in the elbow
Golfer’s elbow is pain and inflammation on the inner side of your elbow, where the tendons of your forearm muscles attach to the bony bump on the inside of your elbow.
Golfer’s elbow, or medial epicondylitis, is similar to its counterpart, tennis elbow. The primary differences between these conditions are the location of the pain and the activity that leads to injury. Golfers elbow occurs on the inside of the elbow, not the outside. However, both conditions are caused by overuse of the muscles and tendons of the forearm. This leads to tendonitis, or aggravation of the tendon where it attaches to the bone. The pain of golfer’s elbow is usually at the elbow joint on the inside of the arm; a shooting sensation down the forearm is also common while gripping objects. Golfers elbow can be caused by a single violent action, or more commonly by repetitive strain injury. This is where an action is performed repeatedly and pain gradually develops. No one is immune from these injuries, but they are most common at the beginning of the golf season, or when the offending activity is increased in intensity or duration. Golf is one common cause of these symptoms, but many other sport- and work-related activities can cause the same problem.
Many activities can lead to golfer’s elbow, including golfing: Gripping or swinging the clubs incorrectly can take a toll on your muscles and tendons. Racquet sports: Excessive topspin can hurt your elbow. Using a racket that’s too small, heavy or tightly strung also can lead to injury. Throwing sports: Improper pitching technique in baseball or softball can be another culprit. Other daily activities such as painting, raking, hammering, chopping wood, typing and other repetitive wrist, hand or arm movements can result in golfer’s elbow as well. There are some things you can do to prevent golfers elbow.
Doing some wrist and forearm strengthening before you start your chosen sport or activity can help to increase the strength of the muscles and reduce the stress on the attachment points of the tendon. If you start to have trouble with pain in your elbow get your technique assessed by a coach to ensure that you are not putting too much stress through your elbow. It’s also important to know when to rest. At the first sign of elbow pain, take a break. Often, a bit of rest at the right time is all that is needed to reduce the symptoms and get back to your sport. Treatments for golfers elbow include: exercises to re-strengthen the forearm muscles, anti-inflammatory medications, cortisone shots, and rest.
Often, taking a rest from whatever activity is causing the problem, changing technique slightly and doing some exercise to rehabilitate the problem will be enough to reduce the symptoms in your elbow.
If you think that you may be getting a golfer’s or tennis elbow, get it checked early, so that it doesn’t turn into a long term condition which is difficult to fix.