What is Golfer's Elbow?

Golfer’s Elbow is essentially the degeneration of tissue in the tendons linking your forearm to the bony bump on the inside of your elbow. It was originally and incorrectly, thought to be inflammation only but it is now confirmed to be the breakdown of tissues linked to the medial epicondyle or the bony bump mentioned above.

Most commonly, Golfer’s Elbow cause lies in excess strain placed on the tissues in this area and overloads them. Another cause of Golfer’s Elbow is when you carry out any physical activity with bad form that exerts the tissues and damages them such as the repeated use of your forearm in golf.

Typical symptoms of Golfer’s Elbow include pain at the site of injury, inability to grab or hold objects and immediate pain when trying to grip or grab objects. This pain could spread to your wrist and hand over a period of time and could increase in severity with no treatment for Golfer’s Elbow.

Another symptom could be stiffness in the same area and the inability to flex your fingers too well or even pain when making a fist. Your hands and wrists will also display weakness in some cases or when the problem progresses when you attempt to use them whether for swinging a club or bat or daily tasks like shaking hands, opening a door or simply flexing your fingers. A tingling sensation could also develop in your arm with it eventually extending into the ring and little finger.

 

Types of Golfer’s Elbow:
The are essentially no different types of Golfer’s Elbow but for the sake of clarity they could be divided into chronic and mild based on the longevity and the frequency of recurrence.

-Mild Golfer’s Elbow is less serious and the pain or other symptoms are relatively less complex or severe. A little rest and some over the counter painkiller will fix things quickly.

-Chronic Golfer’s Elbow could result from continued use of the arm with no treatment or rest and even from a severe injury resulting from a physically strenuous activity. There could be severe damage to the tissues and it will require medical intervention with treatment ranging from physiotherapy and medication to surgery.

 

What are some of the Golfer’s Elbow causes?
There are a variety of causes that all exert strain on these muscle tissues and cause damage and eventual discomfort or lowering of functionality. This condition is also known as medial epicondylitis and could be caused by various physical activities where excessive or recurrent stress is placed on the hand, wrist and forearm. If you weightlift with poor form, throw or hit a ball improperly, do not warm up properly, do not have proper conditioning in terms of the sport or physical activity you are doing, then this could contribute to golfer’s elbow.

If you are repeatedly bending or straightening your elbow then it could cause golfer’s elbow. Even an office worker that uses the computer, a person in manual labour or something as simple as cooking a lot can damage your tendons and cause this condition. Note that only a few days of this sort of work will not result in golfer’s elbow but repeated movement over weeks and over an hour a day will lead to this problem.
However, something like blunt force trauma that causes inflammation is not considered golfer’s elbow.

Certain people are at higher risk of golfer’s elbow if they are 40 or older. If you perform a repetitive activity a couple of hours every day over a long period. An obese person or a smoker are also more likely to develop this condition.

 

Diagnosis of Golfer’s Elbow
Golfer’s elbow is usually diagnosed by your doctor or even a physiotherapist when you complain of pain in the described area. Aside from a physical examination and questioning you regarding your medical history, the doctor will even do an X-ray to check for a fracture or even an MRI to confirm golfer’s elbow.

Golfer's Elbow treatment

Golfer’s elbow is a condition where the quicker treatment is begun, the better the prognosis so do not delay your diagnosis and your consequent treatment.

-The first step to ensure golfer’s elbow is not exacerbated is to rest the affected arm. Discontinue the activity and wait till a doctor recommends returning to it or it will grow worse.

-The most likely treatment for golfer’s elbow if it is a mild case is heat application with a washcloth dipped in hot water or a hot water bottle. This soothes the muscles and enables instant relief but it must be combined with rest.

-Based on a doctor’s recommendations, it is best if you ice the affected area to soothe the inflamed tendons for 15 or 20 minutes in one session. This can be done thrice or four times over the course of several days. Make sure to wrap the ice packs in towels to protect your skin.

-Massage the affected area gently a few times a day for five minutes together.

-Over the counter painkillers can provide instant relief from pain but do not resolve the condition alone.

-Wear a counter force brace to reduce the strain on the tendons.

-Try stretching or strengthening exercises only based on a doctor’s advice. This will lengthen the tendon of the extensor muscles which is effective when it comes to chronic golfer’s elbow.

-Use an elastic bandage to reduce the load placed on the area.

-Only return to activities gradually over a period of time.

-Consult your doctor regarding surgery if you feel your condition is severe or your functionality is severely impeded.

-Consult your doctor about corticosteroid injections which are only a short-term treatment.

When do you need us?

Part of golfer’s elbow treatment is physical therapy or physiotherapy. It involves performing gentle exercises that are doable and does not exacerbate the symptoms while lessening the inflammation. Golfer’s elbow exercises are just as important as the rest of the treatment for recovery. Exercises speed up the recovery process by reducing elbow pain and aid tissue repair. They also help maintaining good movement and muscle strength along the arm. These movements help restore normal muscle length and fitness as well as movement and normalisation of limb neurodynamics. This is where we can help with our in-home doctor and physiotherapy service.

Our doctors assess and diagnose your condition from the comfort of your home and suggest the best course of action. If the golfer’s elbow treatment does not require any major intervention such as surgery, they would recommend home remedies for golfer’s elbow treatment.

 

How we can help

Our physiotherapists can assist you with your physical therapy for golfer’s elbow as part of your home remedies for golfer’s elbow stenosis or your golfer’s elbow physical therapy post-surgery. They can assess and develop a treatment plan that is tailored to your specific needs. Being experts in kinesiology, they can come up with the optimal golfer’s elbow exercises that you need in your routine. The right exercises can help with strengthening the muscles surrounding the elbow and help restore normalisation of cervical joint function. Exercises done incorrectly can worsen the problem and lead to further complications and here is where our physiotherapists play an invaluable role in guiding you.

 

Summary
Golfer’s elbow can be easily treated, and many people with the condition lead active functional lives post-treatment. However they may have to make certain lifestyle modifications to cope with the pain or the after-effects of surgery.

 

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References:

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/golfers-elbow/symptoms-causes/syc-20372868

https://www.webmd.com/fitness-exercise/golfers-elbow-basics

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Golfer%27s_elbow

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