By Jon Stiffler
Golfer’s elbow, also known as medial epicondylitis, can be debilitating to one’s golf game and lifestyle. Golfer’s elbow occurs when the tendons that attach to medial epicondyle become inflamed from either overworking or an acute injury. These tendons are the prime movers of wrist flexion which is a component of one’s golf swing.
Golfer’s elbow is not limited to the sport of golf. This condition can occur in racquet sports like as tennis as well. Individuals at a higher risk of golfer’s elbow include those that are over 40 years old, perform repetitive activities for more than 2 hours a day, are obese, or are a smoker.
Golfer’s elbow can present with many symptoms such as pain and tenderness, stiffness, weakness, numbness, and tingling. Symptoms of Golfer’s elbow can not only hinder one’s golf swing, but also can hinder everyday activities such as carrying groceries, opening a jar in the kitchen, and using a screwdriver or hammer for household projects.
Treatment for Golfer’s elbow consists of rest, ice, anti-inflammatory medications, or other non-conventional modalities such as medical laser. Once severe symptoms begin to decrease the focus of treatment turns to stretch and strengthening the wrist flexor tendons. When symptoms and/or medical clearance allows the next goal is easing back into your activity. Initially one should find a way to decrease the load on the elbow with these activities by using an ace bandage or some sort of compression garment.
As symptoms allow one can gradually ease of dependence of this garment. The focus of reduced risk of Golfer’s elbow is much like the treatment. Prevention should consist of specific strengthening of the tendons that flex and extend the wrist and stretching the specific stretching of the tendons that flex and extend the wrist. Additional stretching before extended activities is very important as well.