Golfer’s elbow is a form of tendonitis that causes pain and inflammation in the tendons that connect the forearm to the elbow. The pain centers on the bony bump on the inside of your elbow and may radiate into the forearm. It usually gets better with rest. The medical term is medial epicondylitis.
Golfer’s elbow is similar to tennis elbow, which occurs on the outside of the elbow. It’s not limited to golfers. Tennis players and others who repeatedly use their wrists or clench their fingers also can develop golfer’s elbow.
Golfer’s elbow is characterized by:
• Pain and tenderness.Usually felt on the inner side of your elbow, the pain sometimes extends along the inner side of your forearm. Pain typically worsens with certain movements.
• Stiffness. Your elbow may feel stiff, and making a fist might hurt.
• Weakness. You may have weakness in your hands and wrists.
• Numbness or tingling.These sensations might radiate into one or more fingers — usually the ring and little fingers.
The pain of golfer’s elbow can come on suddenly or gradually. The pain might worsen with certain movements, such as swinging a golf club.
Overuse of the tendon is one of the most common causes of medial epicondylitis. This usually occurs through excessive use of the forearm, hand gripping, or wrist flexing. Small tears to the tendon can occur after repeated activity. Over time, these tears can lead to swelling and pain.
Medial epicondylitis regularly affects athletes. People who play the following sports are at a higher risk of developing the condition:
• tennis, racquetball, or squash
• weight lifting
Others may be at risk because of activities performed at work. Any activity that involves continual twisting or bending of the wrist may put a strain on the tendon.
People in high risk occupations include:
• construction workers
• regular computer users
• assembly line workers
Risk Factors –
You could be at higher risk of developing golfer’s elbow if you’re:
• Age 40 or older
• Performing repetitive activity at least two hours a day
• A smoker
Complications from medial epicondylitis are uncommon. If a person stops performing the activity causing the condition or performs it less often, they will usually recover.
Only those who continue with the problematic activity, in spite of the pain, tend to experience further issues. In these instances, a person may require surgery to correct the condition. Complications of surgery can include nerve injury or infection.
Your healthcare provider will ask what activities make your elbow hurt. They will examine your arm for specific movements that cause pain.
An X-ray can help the doctor rule out other causes of elbow pain, such as a fracture or arthritis.
Other tests might include:
• Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).Ultrasound.
• Computed tomography (CT) scans.
• Bone scans.
Treatment begins with avoiding activity that causes pain. To help relieve pain, use ice.
You can take an over-the-counter pain reliever. Try ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, others), naproxen sodium (Aleve) or acetaminophen (Tylenol, others). Corticosteroid injections are not commonly given because they haven’t been shown to be effective long-term.
☆ A new study shows that turmeric – a common culinary spice could help in the treatment of painful tendinitis which includes the conditions known as tennis or golfer’s elbow.
The University of Nottingham and Ludwig Maximilians University have conducted research showing that curcumin, a derivative of the curry spice turmeric, can suppress biological mechanisms that spark inflammation in tendon diseases.
Try the following:
Put your golf game or other repetitive activities on hold until the pain is gone. If you return to activity too soon, you can worsen your condition.
• Ice the affected area.
Apply ice packs to your elbow for 15 to 20 minutes at a time, three to four times a day for several days. To protect your skin, wrap the ice packs in a thin towel. It might help to massage your inner elbow with ice for five minutes at a time, two to three times a day.
• Use a brace.
Your doctor might recommend that you wear a counterforce brace on your affected arm, which might reduce tendon and muscle strain.
• Stretch and strengthen the affected area.
Your doctor might suggest exercises for stretching and strengthening. Progressive loading of the tendon with specific strength training exercises has been shown to be especially effective. Other physical or occupational therapy practices can be helpful too.
Gradually return to your usual activities. When your pain is gone, practice the arm motions of your sport or activity. Review your golf or tennis swing with an instructor to ensure that your technique is correct, and make adjustments if needed.
Surgery is seldom necessary. But if your signs and symptoms don’t respond to conservative treatment in six to 12 months, surgery might be an option. A new approach called the TENEX procedure involves minimally invasive, ultrasound-guided removal of scar tissue in the region of the tendon pain.
You can take steps to prevent golfer’s elbow:
• Strengthen your forearm muscles.
Use light weights or squeeze a tennis ball. Even simple exercises can help your muscles absorb the energy of sudden physical stress.
• Stretch before your activity.
Walk or jog for a few minutes to warm up your muscles. Then do gentle stretches before you begin your game.
• Fix your form.
Whatever your sport, ask an instructor to check your form to avoid overload on muscles.
• Use the right equipment.
If you’re using older golfing irons, consider upgrading to lighter graphite clubs. If you play tennis, make sure your racket fits you. A racket with a small grip or a heavy head may increase the risk of elbow problems.
• Lift properly.
When lifting anything — including free weights — keep your wrist rigid and stable to reduce the force to your elbow.
• Know when to rest.
Try not to overuse your elbow. At the first sign of elbow pain, take a break.
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