Golfer’s Elbow: An Overview

When we talk about Golfer’s elbow, we usually refer to the sudden inflammation and irritation to the tendons present in the elbow. These tendons are the supportive tissues that help connect the elbow to the wrist and facilitate movement used in our daily activities like bending and moving the wrist.

A Golfer’s elbow is mostly another condition of tendinitis. This kind of injury to the elbow is caused due to overuse that leads to tendon tears and this damage to the tendons internally leads to inflammation and causes pain.

Golfe’s elbow also has a lot of synonyms in our daily lives like baseball elbow, forehand tennis elbow, and suitcase elbow. However, the medical term for this is epicondylitis.

What Causes a Golfer’s Elbow?

This kind of injury is caused when there is overuse, sudden impact, and excessive force that is put on your wrist, forearm, and fingers. It is also caused due to repetitive violent motion, stress, and overuse of the tendons that connect the elbow to the wrist and fingers. These motions are very common in racquet sports like golf, tennis, squash, etc. With repeated use of physiotherapy for elbow pain, exercises, and at-home remedies, one can remedy the injuries and tendon tears during sport. Here is a list of activities that can cause a golfer’s elbow- 

  • In athletics, throwing a javelin can cause later cases of a golfer’s elbow. 
  • If you are someone into archery, the repeated motion of holding the instrument at a particular position can give you a golfer’s elbow. 
  • Playing with a tennis racket that is not in sync with our proportions 
  • Playing tennis or squash with excessive force 
  • Doing at-home construction projects and using handy tools to do carpentry and plumbing. 
  • Lifting a heavy load in an incorrect position 
  • Lack of wrist and shoulder muscle exercises. 
  • If you are above the age of 40, then you are more susceptible to developing a golfer’s elbow due to decreasing tendon and muscle health. 
  • Obesity is also a very strong contributor to frequent tendon tears. 
  • Smoking and leading a sedentary lifestyle can make you more susceptible to tendon tears.

Common Symptoms of Golfer’s Elbow

The common symptoms associated with a golfer’s elbow are- 

  • Extreme pain and tenderness are located near the inside of the elbow and sometimes it might extend to the forearm. 
  • Pain that is sensitive to touch and movement. 
  • Extreme weakness in the affected elbow renders you unable to perform daily tasks. 
  • Stiffness and immobility of the elbow joints make it difficult to move your wrist and make it difficult to make a fist. 
  • The tingling sensation that makes the forearm numb and makes it difficult to move your fingers.

Also Read: What Exercises Are Good for Elbow Pain

How to Diagnose a Golfer’s Elbow?

Here are some of the diagnostic modules used to examine if you have a golfer’s elbow- 

  • Your doctor may want to conduct a physical examination and examine your mobility and range of motion. They might you to place your arm on a flat surface with your palms facing upwards. Then, the doctor will ask you to raise your arm without bending the affected elbow while they apply pressure to the arms. 
  • A thorough clinical history is to be supplied to the doctor where they contain a list of your daily activities, your pre-existing health conditions, and more. 
  • XRAY
  • MRI scans, in serious cases. 

How to Treat Golfer’s Elbow? 

Here are some of the ways in which you can treat the painful symptoms of a golfer’s elbow- 

  • Application of ice on the affected elbow to prevent painful inflammation in the forearm. 
  • Do consult your doctor before taking some over-the-counter NSAIDs like ibuprofen to manage your pain. 
  • Steroid injections that are injected locally 
  • Plasma-Rich-Protein therapy is localized to the affected area. 
  • Physiotherapy for elbow pain 
  • Compression and wearing elbow braces
  • Physiotherapy exercises for golfer’s elbow and stretching exercises 

Some of the exercises that are good for Golfer’s elbow are- 

  1. Palm Lift

To perform this exercise, follow these steps. 

  • First, make sure that your palms are facing up. 
  • Then, if you are comfortable grab a light weight. You can do this without weights if you are still recovering. 
  • Extend the affected hand outwards. 
  • Now, try bending the wrist up, as if it is returning back to the body. 
  • Hold this position for 6 seconds and then release gently. 
  • Each set has 10 reps, so make sure to complete 3 in total. 
  1. Bending Elbow Exercise 

To perform this exercise, follow these steps- 

  • Stand straight, with your back upright and your arms rolled back and shoulders relaxed. 
  • Then lower the affected arm to one side. 
  • Then, slowly bend the injured hand up till you feel that the hand is touching the shoulder. 
  • Make sure to hold this for 15 to 30 seconds. 
  • Each set has 10 reps so make sure to do complete at least 3 sets. 
  1. Wrist Extension Exercise 

To perform this exercise, follow these steps- 

  • Hold out the injured arm in front of you 
  • Then raise this arm straight out
  • Now, with your palms facing downwards, gently bend the wrist down
  • Use the non-affected arm to pull the stretched-out affected arm back towards the body. 
  • Now hold this position for 30 seconds and straighten your wrist again. 
  • Repeat this exercise twice. Each set has 3 reps, so make sure to complete 3 sets.

The Bottomline: How to Prevent a Golfer’s elbow? 

We all know that prevention is better than cure- so here are some preventative techniques to stop the recurring of your golfer’s elbow- 

  • Practicing strengthening exercises of the elbow and wrists. 
  • Practicing physiotherapy for elbow pain if you are someone who is into racquet sport
  • Maintaining correct posture while lifting heavy objects 
  • Always warm up and stretch after a physical activity 
  • Use the right and safe equipment for the sports you play 
  • Take rest after every period of intense physical activity.

Also Read: Tennis Elbow: Symptoms, Causes, Treatment

For more information about elbow pain and physiotherapy for elbow pain, head on to Phyt Health, India’s first digital physiotherapy platform offering online physiotherapy services and consultations. With a wealth of knee exercises present on their website, you can include them in your daily life depending on your comfort level. All these exercises are curated by expert physiotherapists at Phyt Health. You can also book your online video consultation on the app, to discuss any issues you might be facing and begin your journey towards recovery!