Updated: Feb 23
What Is Golfer’s Elbow?
Golfer's elbow, also known as medial epicondylitis, is a condition that causes pain and tenderness in the inner part of the elbow due to overuse of the forearm muscles and tendons. It causes pain to radiate from the inner elbow to the forearm and wrist, making it difficult to grip objects or twist the wrist. A golfer's elbow is similar to a tennis elbow that occurs outside the elbow. Golfer's elbow is not limited to tennis players; it can develop in anyone who frequently uses their wrists or clenches their fingers.
Golfer's Elbow Symptoms
The following are some of the most common symptoms of a golfer's elbow:
1. Pain and tenderness: The most common symptom of a golfer's elbow is pain and tenderness on the inner side of the elbow, which makes gripping or lifting objects difficult. The pain is usually felt on the inside of the elbow, but sometimes the pain can extend along the inner side of the forearm.
2. Stiffness in elbow joint: The affected arm may feel stiff, especially after periods of rest or inactivity.
3. Forearm and wrist weakness: Patients may experience liability or loss of strength in their forearm and wrist.
4. Burning or tingling sensations: Some people may feel a burning or tingling sensation in the affected arm, which is caused by nerve damage.
5. Swelling near the elbow: Swelling may occur near the elbow, which can signify inflammation.
Golfer's Elbow Causes
A golfer's elbow is caused by repetitive motions and the strain placed on the tendons that attach to the inner part of the elbow. It can affect people who perform repetitive arm movements, such as golfing, throwing a ball, lifting weights, or playing an instrument.
Some of the most common causes of golfer's elbow are as follows:
1. Overuse: Repetitive arm movements, such as gripping and swinging a golf club, can place undue strain on the forearm tendons, resulting in a golfer's elbow.
2. Weak muscles: Forearm muscle weakness can increase the risk of developing a golfer's elbow.
3. Poor technique: Using poor technique while performing physical activities such as throwing a ball or lifting weights can increase a golfer's risk of injury.
4. Age: As we age, the tendons in our arms can become weaker and more susceptible to injury.
5. Previous injury: If you have previously injured your arm or elbow, you may be more likely to develop a golfer's elbow.
6. Certain medical conditions: Medical conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis, can increase the risk of a golfer's elbow.
Treatment For Golfer's Elbow
Physical therapy and rest are frequently combined to treat the golfer's elbow to lessen pain and inflammation. In many cases, resting the injured arm and avoiding activities that might exacerbate symptoms is the first step in treating a golfer's elbow. Ice and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can lessen pain and swelling.
Physical therapy can also help to increase flexibility, lower the risk of reinjury, and strengthen the muscles and tendons in the injured arm. Other treatments might be required for severe cases of golfer's elbow. This might entail surgery to repair damaged tendons, braces, or straps to support the injured arm. Occasionally, a combination of treatments may be used to achieve the best results.
Focusing on proper technique and minimising the stress put on the tendons in the forearm are necessary to prevent the golfer's elbow. You can do the following things to lessen your risk of getting a golfer's elbow:
1. Strengthening your arm's muscles: Regular exercise can help support the tendons and lower your risk of injury, particularly movements that focus on the muscles in your forearm.
2. Using the correct technique: Use proper technique when engaging in repetitive arm motions, such as lifting weights or playing golf, to lessen the stress on your tendons.
3. Taking breaks: It's essential to take regular intervals if you perform repetitive arm motions so that your tendons have a chance to recover.
4. Gradually increasing activity: To prevent overuse injuries, start slowly and progressively increase the intensity and duration of any new activity that requires repetitive arm movements.
5. Wearing the right gear: Use the right gear, such as gloves or wrist braces, if you play sports like tennis or golf.
6. Pre-activity stretching: Stretching your arm and forearm before engaging in any physical activity will lower your risk of injury.
By following these recommendations, you can live a healthier, more active lifestyle and lower your risk of developing a golfer's elbow. Be sure to see a doctor immediately if you suspect a golfer's elbow or experience any related symptoms.
Backed by a team of multiple sub-speciality elbow specialists and state-of-the-art facilities, and a dedicated physiotherapy department with expert physiotherapists, Polaris Hospital has become a centre of choice. Our team of specialists will analyse the root cause and give the appropriate treatment to relieve the symptoms of the golfer's elbow and help you resume your favourite activities or normal lifestyle quickly and effectively.
About The Author: Dr. Surendra Patil
Dr. Surendra Patil, MBBS, Diploma in Orthopaedics, DNB - Orthopedics Surgery, is a dynamic surgeon with skilled hands well versed in various surgical procedures in orthopedics and exceptionally well-read in his chosen expertise. He is proficient in Arthroscopic Surgeries, Adult Joint Reconstruction Surgery, Accidents & Emergencies, Joint Replacement, Healthcare Management, and Healthcare in general. He is an experienced Medical Professional with a demonstrated history of working in the hospital & healthcare industry.