Golfer’s Elbow (P1)

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Many racquet players and golfers develop pain on the inner side of the elbow. This condition is a type of tendinitis called medial epicondylitis or “golfer’s elbow”.  Medial epicondylitis is caused by using a repetitive strong grip while swinging a golf club or racket or by using the wrist too much during these motions. The condition is an over use injury of the wrist flexor tendons that attach to the lower end of the arm bone (humerus) in the elbow area. The flexor muscles of the forearm that flex the wrist toward the palm of the hand originate at the medial epicondyle of the humerus. Strong use of these muscles can cause injury at the point of maximum stress where the tendons attach to the bone on the inner side of the forearm.

Contributing Factors

  • Weak muscles
  • Overuse – playing or working excessively and excessive repetitive forceful gripping while flexing and twisting the wrist.
  • Improper equipment – incorrect grip size, strings too tight or racquets 1 tools that are too heavy or unbalanced.
  • Poor playing technique – too much wrist action, jerky strokes, poor ball contact.

Treatment

Rest. You may have to temporarily stop the aggravating activity. A period of rest is . most important to allow the injury a chance to heal. You will make the condition worse by continuing the activity that causes the injury, especially if you experience pain. Avoid heavy lifting or carrying, opening doors or handshaking repeatedly.

Golfer’s Elbow

Ice. Apply cold to your elbow three times a day for 20 to 30 minutes at a time in the early painful stage and for 20 minutes after active use of your arm. Protect your skin by putting a towel between your elbow and the ice bag.

Stretching. Stretching will help prevent stiffness by making the muscles more flexible and by breaking down any scar tissue that may result from the inflammation.

Physical Therapy. Exercises to strengthen the forearm muscles can begin as soon as the pain subsides. Building strength will help protect the injured tendon and prevent the injury from happening again.

Medication. Sometimes anti-inflammatory medication helps reduce the pain. If you do not have a problem with this type of medication, you may take Aleve, one or two tablets twice a day with meals. Or, you may take Advil or aspirin. Cortisone will probably reduce the pain for a few months but may not change the length of time it takes the injury to heal. After receiving a cortisone injection, you should not play sports or use the arm forcefully for about two weeks.

Brace. A counter-force brace which is an elastic strap that is worn one to two inches below the elbow. This type of brace gives compression to the forearm muscles and helps lessen the force that the muscle transmits to the tendon. At first, the brace may be worn at all times but as the pain subsides, the brace is necessary only for protection during activities that stress the injured arm.

Surgery. Surgery is rarely required but is sometimes useful to correct chronic or recurrent tendinitis.

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