There are over 24 million golfers throughout the country. Popularity is growing too, as 2.6 million people tried golf for the first time last year.
While this sport is a fun pastime for many, it can also lead to a form of tendinitis called medial epicondylitis. Also known as golfer’s elbow, this injury affects the inside of the below where tendons connect to bone.
Though the injury is called golfer’s elbow, it doesn’t only affect golfers. You can also develop this injury from any activity that involves using your arms or wrists.
What causes golfer’s elbow, and how can you treat it? Keep reading to find out!
First, it helps to know which symptoms to keep an eye out for. Golfer’s elbow causes pain and inflammation on the inside of the elbow. You might also notice a little tenderness.
This occurs due to the overuse or continuous wear and tear of tendons, muscles, and bones in the elbow and forearm. We use these areas for grasping and wrist flexion, which are both associated with golf.
Your symptoms can range from mild to severe. If you’re experiencing golf elbow pain, make a special note of:
- Pain on the inside of your elbow
- Elbow stiffness
- A weakening of the hand or wrist
- A tingling sensation or numbness in your fingers
- Difficulty moving your elbow
You might also feel a radiating inner elbow pain. Chronic pain can make it difficult for you to complete simple, everyday tasks, including:
- Opening a door
- Picking up items
- Shaking someone’s hand
- Cooking or cleaning
Medial epicondylitis usually affects the dominant arm. If you experience these symptoms, consider speaking with your doctor about possible treatments.
What causes golfer’s elbow? Many people associate this injury with activities that require repetitive gripping motions. A few examples include:
- Other racket sports
- Weight training
- Rock climbing
Golfers develop medial epicondylitis after repeatedly swinging a golf club. Tennis players, on the other hand, develop the injury from using their arms to swing a racket. Either type of athlete can overuse their arms and wrists, which leads to the symptoms mentioned above.
Playing an instrument or typing on a computer all day can also lead to this inner elbow pain.
You can improve the pain, weakness, and stiffness associated with golfer’s elbow through a few home remedies. Try these tips to relieve your golf elbow pain.
Remember, repeated use of your arm or wrist can cause golfer’s elbow in the first place. To ease your inner below pain, give your body a rest.
Try to stop the activities that involve repetitive movements, at least until the pain fades.
Once the pain disappears, you can try gradually easing back into your usual activities. Make a note if anything specific causes your pain. Then, consider alternative activities to keep your pain from flaring up in the future.
Heat and Ice
Ice packs, heat pads, and cold compresses can reduce the inflammation, pain, and swelling you’re experiencing. Try wrapping ice in a towel. Then, apply it to your elbow for no more than 20 minutes three to four times a day.
Make sure to avoid placing the ice directly against your skin.
Some over-the-counter medications can also help relieve your pain. Ibuprofen and acetaminophen can help reduce swelling and inflammation. Make sure to take the medication as directed.
If you’re already on other medications, make sure to speak with your doctor before taking any over-the-counter drugs. For severe elbow pain, your doctor might recommend a steroid injection.
Don’t take pain relievers for over 10 days.
You can also use natural pain relievers to ease your inflammation. Try willow bark, turmeric, or cloves. These herbs are available in teas or as capsules.
Sometimes, you need a little extra help to ease your pain. Give yourself some time off by booking an appointment for acupuncture or a massage. A professional physical therapist might also help improve your symptoms, too.
For extreme cases, a doctor might suggest surgery as a last resort. An open media epicondylar surgery involves:
- Making an incision in your forearm
- Cutting the tendon
- Removing the damaged tissue around the tendon
- Reattaching the tendon
Make sure to speak with your doctor to determine the best course of treatment for your golfer’s elbow.
If your issues are caused by your work environment, make a change!
Try by using a standing desk or a more comfortable chair. There are also special keyboards that can improve your ergonomics. These objects will change your position and posture to allow improvement movement.
Speak to your doctor about the pain you’re experiencing. They might suggest safe exercises that can strengthen and stretch your tendons. Your doctor might also suggest physical or occupational therapy if you’re experiencing numbness or weakness.
Wearing a brace can also reduce tendonitis and muscle strain. If you don’t have a brace handy, try wrapping an elastic bandage around your elbow.
You can check out these braces for elbows to start experiencing pain relief!
About 80% of people with golfer’s elbow are pain-free again after one year. The remaining 20% of patients experience longer-lasting symptoms. If you want to prevent your golfer’s elbow from reemerging, there are a few prevention tips you can try.
First, try to strengthen your forearm muscles. Develop a light weightlifting regimen if you can. Otherwise, squeeze a tennis ball for five minutes at a time to strengthen your forearms.
If you’re a golf or tennis player, try changing your technique. Slow down your golf swing to ensure your arm absorbs less shock. Switching to lighter, graphite clubs can help as well.
Make sure to avoid overloading your muscles, too.
Otherwise, make sure to remain hydrated before, after, and during a game!
Mastering Medial Epicondylitis: The Complete Guide to Golfer’s Elbow
Ready to master your medial epicondylitis? With this guide, you can recognize the signs of golfer’s elbow and get the help you need.
Looking for more ways to improve your health? Check out the Health section of the blog for more helpful tips and tricks!