Healing Golfers Elbow
Golfers 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. The pain may spread into your forearm and wrist.
Golfers elbow, also known as medial epicondylitis, is similar to tennis elbow. But it occurs on the inside, rather than the outside, of your elbow. And it is not limited to golfers. Tennis players and others who repeatedly use their wrists or clench their fingers also can develop golfers elbow. The pain of golfers elbow does not have to keep you off the course or away from your favorite activities. With rest and appropriate treatment, you can get back into the swing of things.
Golfers elbow is characterized by:
1) Pain and tenderness on the inner side of your elbow. Sometimes the pain extends along the inner side of your forearm.
2) Stiffness. Your elbow may feel stiff, and it may hurt to make a fist.
3) Weakness. You may have weakness in your hands and wrists.
4) Numbness or tingling. Many people with golfer's elbow experience numbness or a tingling sensation that radiates into one or more fingers, usually the ring and little fingers.
The pain of golfers elbow may appear suddenly or gradually. The pain may get worse when you:
1) Swing a golf club or racket
2) Squeeze or pitch a ball
3) Shake hands
4) Turn a doorknob
5) Pick up something with your palm down
6) Flex your wrist toward your forearm
Golfer;s elbow is caused by damage to the muscles and tendons that control your wrist and fingers. The damage is typically related to excess or repetitive stress, especially forceful wrist and finger motions. Sometimes golfers elbow begins after a sudden force to the elbow or wrist.
Many activities can lead to golfer's elbow, including:
1) Golf. Gripping or swinging the clubs incorrectly can take a toll on your muscles and tendons.
2) Racket sports. Excessive topspin can hurt your elbow. Using a racket that is too small, heavy or tightly strung also can lead to injury.
3) Throwing sports. Improper pitching technique in baseball or softball can be another culprit.
4) Weight training. Lifting weights using improper technique, such as curling the wrists during a biceps exercise, can lead to overload of the elbow muscles and tendons.
5) Other activities. Painting, raking, hammering, chopping wood, typing and other repetitive wrist, hand or arm movements can result in golfers elbow as well.
Western Medicine Treatment
The sooner you begin treatment, the sooner you'll be able to return to your usual activities.
1) Rest. Put your golf game or other repetitive activities on hold until the pain is gone. If you return to the links too soon, you may make it worse.
2) Ice the affected area. Apply ice packs to your elbow for 15 to 20 minutes at a time, four times a day for several days. To protect your skin, wrap the ice packs in a thin towel. It may also help to massage the inner elbow with ice for five minutes at a time, two to three times a day.
3) Stretch and strengthen the affected area. Your doctor may suggest specific stretching and strengthening exercises. Physical or occupational therapy can be helpful, too.
4) Reduce the load on your elbow. Wrap your elbow with an elastic bandage or use a forearm strap. And remember to maintain a rigid wrist position during all lifting activities.
5) Take an over-the-counter pain reliever. Try ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, others), naproxen (Aleve), acetaminophen (Tylenol, others) or aspirin.
6) Consider other medications. If over-the-counter pain relievers aren't effective, your doctor may recommend a cortisone injection to reduce pain and swelling.
7) Gradually return to your usual activities. When you are no longer in pain, practice the arm motions of your sport or activity. Review your golf or tennis swing with an instructor and make adjustments if needed.
8) Ask your doctor when surgery is appropriate. Surgery is seldom necessary. But if your signs and symptoms don't respond to conservative treatment, surgery may be an option.
Depending on the severity of your condition, the pain may linger for several months, even if you take it easy and follow instructions to exercise your arm. Sometimes the pain returns or becomes chronic. While you are recovering, remember the importance of rest. Sneaking in a round of golf before your elbow heals will not help you feel better. It may prolong your recovery.
Adopted From mayoclinic.com