Updated: Nov 22
Golfers will know this condition well. Golfer's elbow, or medial epicondylitis, is a condition that causes pain in the inner elbow, starting from the bony point of the elbow to the forearm.
Similar to another sports-referenced injury, tennis elbow, medial epicondylitis affects the tendons in the forearm from the inner elbow down to the wrists. The tendon is a tough, fibrous tissue that connects muscle to bones.
As its name suggests, golfer's elbow is common among golfers due to the flexing, twisting, gripping motions required in the sport. For example, repeated use of the forearm muscle from gripping and swinging a golf club can lead to injury. Improper form, lack of stretching, and lack of recovery time can increase the likelihood of injury when performing these actions.
Symptoms of golfer's elbow can emerge gradually or immediately and can worsen over time from certain movements.
Pain: The most common symptom of golfer's elbow is pain and tenderness. A wrong flick of the wrist or a simple turn of the arm can exacerbate the pain.
Weakness in the arm: Loss of strength in one's arms and hands is an expected symptom of golfer's elbow.
Numbness or tingling: One may feel a numbness or tingling sensation radiating from the fingertips and hands.
Stiffness: The elbow may become stiff or inflexible, making it difficult to bend the arm or carry objects.
And golfer's aren't the only ones who experience this condition. Anyone who conducts repetitive movements and frequently uses their hands and wrists is at risk of developing golfer's elbow. For example, in professions like plumbing, repeated stress on the wrist from gripping tools can lead to tears in the tendon.
Other activities that may cause to golfer's elbow include:
Weight-lifting: Lifting heavyweights, like a barbell, with improper form, can put too much pressure on the elbow and arm muscles.
Tennis: Tennis or other racket sports require similar motions to one's used for golfing. Meaning, any sport requiring a swing may lead to golfer's elbow.
Football: Any sport that requires throwing activities, like football or javelin, is likely to lead to arm injuries.
Think twice before you jump into any activity needing quick arm and wrist movements, especially if you're unfamiliar with the exercise. Knowing how to perform that action properly is crucial in preventing golfer's elbow, tennis elbow, knee injuries, and other common sports accidents.
As with most injuries, golfer's elbow is entirely preventable. Some believe that because a condition is treatable, like with massage therapy, they can forgo the precautions needed to prevent an injury. However, being reactive rather than proactive runs the risk of facing an injury that has long-lasting repercussions.
To prevent golfer's elbow, it simply requires proper care, a routine, and consistency. When one forgets to practice these prevention tactics, it opens the door for accidents.
One can prevent golfer's elbow by:
Stretching the arms daily, especially before and after strenuous activity, can prevent tears to tendons and arm muscles' strains.
Regularly exercising one's arms can strengthen arm muscles so it can endure the weight and physical stress.
Rest is vital in between exercise or any physical activities. Not allowing your body to recover from intense activity can result in overextension, fatigue, and injury.
If one develops golfer's elbow, all hope is not lost.
There are a variety of treatments that can help heal the arm and repeat the injury, such as:
Using an ice pack to reduce swelling and inflammation
Strengthening exercises to heal muscle damage
Anti-inflammatory medicine to relieve pain
In rare cases, such as with permanent stiffness or constant inflammation and fever, surgery may be required.
Overall, a great long-term solution to golfer's elbow is massage therapy, particularly sports massage therapy. Sports massage therapy focuses on soft tissue pains resulting from various sports activities. The RMT will use massage techniques that relieve stiffness and pain, and they will often tailor each treatment to one's body and actions.
Finding an RMT in Port Moody and Coquitlam that is right for you can be challenging. Our practitioners at Inspine Therapy provide quality care and a customized treatment plan that prioritizes your long-term health and wellness.
At Inspine Therapy, you can receive chiropractic treatment, massage therapy, physiotherapy and more. Book an appointment today!