Golfers Elbow Information

Golfers Elbow

Just as tennis elbow causes pain in others besides tennis players, golfer’s elbow causes pain in those who are not golfers. The difference between the two is the location of the pain. The pain is on the inside of the elbow with golfer’s elbow and on the outside of the elbow with tennis elbow. The cause is the same for both; it comes from an isolated violent action or repetitive stress from a repetitive action. Repetitive movement is the most common cause for both. People who sporadically participate in an activity that causes golfer’s elbow will have an increase risk of developing it. The people who occasionally participate don’t always take the time to warm up and tend to be enthusiastic regarding their activities, often trying to fit a month’s worth of fun in a single weekend day.

Sources of repetitive movement:

  1. Golf
  2. Improper pitching
  3. Painting
  4. Typing
  5. Raking
  6. Hammering
  7. Excessive top spin when using a racquet

Before elbow pain begins, it’s best to prevent golfer’s elbow in the first place. Golfer’s elbow is identified by its symptoms. When a case of golfer’s elbow occurs in spite of preventive care or in the absence of tennis elbow’s preventive care, prompt care will insure a quick return to normal activities. When home treatment is unsuccessful, an appointment with a general practitioner may be needed. Rarely is surgery needed for golfer’s elbow recovery. Steps can be taken to prevent the reoccurrence of golfer’s elbow.

Preventing golfer’s elbow starts with proper golf swing technique. By getting the swing technique evaluated by a golf pro or a golf instructor, adjustments can be made to prevent developing tennis elbow. Proper swing technique will keep the stress off the elbow and so will proper warm up. When there has been extra stress from a difficult round of golf, be sure to give the elbow adequate time to rest afterward. When lifting keep the wrists stable to reduce the strain on elbows.


Symptoms of golfer’s elbow:

  • Pain and tenderness located on the inside of the elbow
  • When gripping objects there is a shooting painful sensation along forearm
  • Stiffness
  • Weakness in hands and wrists
  • Pain when flexing elbow

The symptoms may come on suddenly or gradually increase in discomfort. The pain can be strong enough to interfere with sleep. Anyone at any age can be afflicted with golfer’s elbow. The age group that is most commonly affected is 20 to 49 year olds. An x-ray will rule out other possible causes of the pain, but will not show golfers elbow.

Treatment for golfer’s elbow can begin at home. One of the first steps to treating golfer’s elbow is to let the elbow rest from the activity that caused it in the first place. For golfers it will be resting from golfing, for the carpenter it will be rest from manual work associated with the tennis elbow. Using anti-inflammatory over the counter medications can be effective to relieve pain. Putting ice on the effected area is a treatment option. When applying ice, be sure to protect the skin from ice burn. Support the elbow with an elbow brace or a wrap.

In the event that treatment is unsuccessful or the pain increases, it would be wise to contact a general practitioner and make an appointment. Some signs that medical attentions should be sought include if elbow is hot and inflamed, the elbow appears to be deformed, or the elbow cannot be bent. With a stubborn case of golfer’s elbow a health care professional may choose cortisone shots as part of the treatment. Very rarely is surgery necessary. When surgery is needed for golfer’s elbow there is a very high rate of success.

To avoid reoccurrence of golfer’s elbow it wise to do strengthening exercises and fine-tune the golf swing that is being used. Taking the time to allow the injury to heal completely will decrease the risk of golfer’s elbow becoming a chronic condition and interfering with normal activity and recreation on a regular basis. Returning to activity too soon can prolong the recovery time. It can take up to two months to heal golfer’s elbow completely.

With proper prevention steps and quick treatment at the first signs of golfer’s elbow, it will not develop into a chronic condition that will interfere with your activities.

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