What Is Golfers Elbow, Symptoms, and Treatment

Are you having pain in your elbow, driving downward through your forearm?  If so, you may be suffering from golfer’s elbow.  Golfers elbow is a condition diagnosed in tens of thousands of people every single year.  The explicit medical term is medial epicondylitis.  What exactly causes golfer’s elbow?  Is there anything you can do to help treat it?  Once treated, how do you prevent it from recurrence?  Let us take a closer look at each of these items as we dive deeper into the common cause of pain for many.

Understanding Golfer’s Elbow

Golfer’s elbow is inflammation of the tendons that connect the elbow, forearm, as well as wrist/hand area.  The reference to golfer’s elbow in the name of the condition is due to the frequency of diagnosis in regular golfers.  In reality, though, golfer’s elbow impacts more than daily athletes on the greens.  It can be very common for others that work in manual labor jobs.

The extensive use of the tendons results in inflammation. When not properly treated, you are going to experience a great deal of pain from the elbow, through the forearm, into the wrist as well as the hand.  It can make it quite difficult for people even to be able to hold a golf club, never mind swing it with the same velocity one is used to.

Golfer’s elbow is the direct result of repetitive use and inflammation of the tendons that connect the inside of the elbow to the wrist and hand area.  Commonly mistaken for tennis elbow, it is its own unique and common condition.

Differences in Tennis Elbow

The difference to tennis elbow is the injury location.  Tennis elbow and the pain from that originates from the outside of the elbow, rather than the inside.  Tennis players, though, can also develop golfer’s elbow.  When they use their wrists or squeeze their hand repeatedly, golfer’s elbow can develop rather than tennis elbow.

What Causes Golfer’s Elbow

The cause of golfer’s elbow is due to extensive use of the tendons, muscles that connect the elbow to the hand.  Try making a fist, do you feel all of the forearm start to tighten up?  These are the muscles and tendons within that part of the body.  Now release that grip, and explore how the tendons release.  Repetition of this at a high velocity with something such as a golf club is the main cause of golfer’s elbow.

Now feel on the inside of your elbow, on the side of the arm where the pinky finger resides.  When you have golfer’s elbow, the pain will be on that side of the forearm.  It should start on the inside of your elbow where it protrudes or bumps out a bit, driving to the small finger.  The tendons connect from that point right up through your wrist and hand.  When you overuse the tendons, they can become inflamed and result in great pain.

There are a lot of everyday activities that can be a cause of golfer’s elbow.  If you have developed a case of it already, doing specific tasks can aggravate it further.  Swinging a golf club or a tennis racket is a given.  Shaking hands, turning a doorknob, even picking up something with the palm of your hand facing down can all annoy the state.

Symptoms of the Condition

Golfer's elbow presents common symptoms.  All of these symptoms link directly to that inside area of the elbow down and through the hand.

The first symptom is the pain, as well as tenderness.  All of this is going to start at the point on the inside of the elbow.  The hard spot on the interior of the elbow is the trouble area for golfer’s elbow.  The pain will extend from there and when you use, move the arm, expect the pain to get much worse.

A sense of feeling very stiff in that arm area is also prevalent with golfer’s elbow.  You may not have the ability to bend your elbow the same way you could before.  If the elbow feels stiff, golfer’s elbow may be the reason why.

The strength of your hand and wrist is also an indicator of golfer’s elbow.  Have you found you lost power since the condition began?  If so, the weakness may be an indication golfer’s elbow has set in.

Finally, the last symptom to look out for is a feeling of numbness, tingling in the forearm, wrist, as well as hand.  The numbness ties directly into the weakness symptom we discussed above.

Possible Treatment Options

The most obvious treatment option is to consult with your doctor directly.  There are things that you can try on your own first, though, before you take this approach.

Rest is an easy treatment option.  Because the golfer’s elbow cause is a repetition of the use of the forearm, wrist, and hand, rest can help!  See our prevention options below if this works to stop it from coming back again!

Over-the-counter pain relievers may also help to ease the pain and tenderness.  If you focus on the medicine that helps to reduce the level of inflammation, that can be a big win for the body.

Ice and heat help in the treatment of golfer’s elbow.  If you have to continue to use the body part, treating it with heat and ice after use can help to reduce the impact and minimize the inflammation that may follow.

You are going to want to consult a doctor if standard treatment options are not working.  If you feel your elbow is inflamed, if you can’t bend your elbow, see a doctor immediately.  The same goes if you find your elbow looking deformed or you think it may be broken.  Take timely action when you suspect any of these so you can get the help you need, immediately.

Prevention Tips for Golfer’s Elbow

There are plenty of ways that you can help to prevent golfer’s elbow.  Many of the products available, such as a golfer’s elbow brace and support tape can go a long way.  A golfer’s elbow sleeve may also allow you to continue the activity while giving the tendons support, so they do not get worse.

Tools such as the Simien Flexible Rubber Twist Bar can help to stretch the tendons and prepare them for the activity pre and post.  Whether it is an elbow brace, compression sleeve, twist bar, or just pain relief remedies, you want to work to prevent golfer’s elbow proactively.

Golfer’s elbow can be a condition that causes a lot of pain and forces you out of action from an activity you may enjoy, or need to do to make a living.  Pay attention to the typical symptoms of golfer’s elbow and also follow the prevention tips detailed.  You can manage golfer’s elbow so that you can either prevent it from occurring in the first place or treat it and keep it from coming back.  The products sold at TennisElbow.com can assist in the long-term battle against golfer’s elbow.


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