Golfer’s elbow is a condition medically known as medial epicondylitis of the elbow.
The forearm muscles that go from the pinkie finger up to the inner part of the elbow attach right to the bone, and it’s that point of attachment that becomes inflamed in golfer’s elbow. It’s most commonly related to repetitive stress.
You can prevent golfer’s elbow with the following techniques:
- Not gripping the club too hard
- Wearing a golf glove to help with the grip
- Using proper technique, i.e., a proper stance and hand position on the club
- A relatively lighter grip, enough to control the club but not so much as to tighten up the forearm muscles substantially
- Wrist flexibility exercises
- Forearm muscle exercises
- Strength exercises like wrist rolls and wrist curls
Further Reading on Golf Injuries:
How Do You Treat Golfer’s Elbow?
Well, the first approach would be to use simple pain medication like ibuprofen to try and reduce inflammation and to relieve some discomfort.
Icing the affected area is also helpful, as is wearing a tennis elbow brace. This is basically a band that Velcros around the forearm muscles to decrease the amount of force applied to that attachment point.
Rest is important, too. If you’ve played a whole bunch of rounds in a short period of time, like on a golf vacation, then taking a bit of time off can be, of course, very helpful.
Sometimes an injection to the elbow is needed, and that could take the form of cortisone (but there are some risks associated with that) or something like platelet-rich plasma (PRP).
In PRP, we take a small amount of blood, spin it in a centrifuge, remove the red and white blood cells, and inject the plasma back into the area of damaged tissue. There are studies to show that this helps tissue heal quickly and reduces pain and improves function.
Sometimes shockwave therapy or other techniques are also useful.
Seeing a sports medicine physician for an assessment and seeing a registered therapist, like a physiotherapist, for example, can be helpful to treat the acute pain. It also helps with restoring normal function, and also to teach techniques for injury prevention.
Most often, once the problem is assessed, and treatment has begun, golfer’s elbow takes anywhere between four to six weeks to heal. If left on its own, it can heal as well, but this is sometimes quite difficult and can take much longer.
Golfer’s elbow is a serious condition insofar as when left untreated, as it can lead to tearing of the tendon attachment, which can take even longer to heal.
At AESM, our world-class team of sports physicians, physiotherapists, and chiropractors have extensive experience in diagnosing and treating golf-related injuries. Don’t try your luck with home remedies, contact us today for an initial consultation to see how we can help.