Golfers elbow is an overuse injury caused by inflammation of the tendons near the inner elbow (i.e. the side closer to your body). The primary symptom of golfers elbow is pain near the bony bump at the inside of the elbow. Treatment of golfers elbow mainly involves giving your injured tendons a chance to rest.
This condition is similar to tennis elbow, when the pain is at the outside of the elbow. Both conditions are the result of excessive use of the forearm muscles that are attached to the elbow via the inflamed tendons.
As is the case with tennis elbow, golfers elbow is not limited to athletes or even to those who participate in the game of golf. It is mainly a result of extensive use of forearm and wrist muscles. Tennis and golf players use these muscles extensively, but so also do people in many other spheres of activity.
Factors that increase your risk of developing golfers elbow include:
Your age – most patients are 40 years of age or more;
Daily repetitive activity involving the wrist or fingers. This activity may be occupational, sporting or recreational;
Golfers Elbow Symptoms
The symptoms of golfers elbow are very similar to those of tennis elbow and include:
Pain & tenderness at the inside of your elbow and sometimes running along the inside of your forearm;
Stiffness at the elbow joint and (in some cases) pain when you try to make a fist;
A lack of gripping strength and weakness in your hands and wrists;
Numbness and/or tingling sensations radiating down your forearm and into one or more of your fingers.
As with tennis elbow, your doctor will usually first conduct a physical examination. He or she may also ask you to perform certain movements and report and pain or discomfort.
If your doctor needs more information to make a firm diagnosis of golfers elbow, he or she may request an imaging exam such as X-Rays or an MRI.
Golfers Elbow Treatment
The treatment of golfers elbow is again similar to that of tennis elbow and primarily involves resting the injured tendons and allowing them to recover naturally.
To help the injured tendons to recover, your doctor may recommend the use of an elbow brace. This will usually play the same role as a tennis elbow brace does in the treatment of that condition. It will help to absorb some of the forces traveling up the inside of your forearm and reaching the tendons at your inner elbow. That will help to mitigate the pain you are experiencing there.
Although these are not treatments for the root cause of golfers elbow, ice and/or topical analgesics can help to ease the pain.
Rehabilitative exercises will help to strengthen the forearm muscles and therefore reduce the risk of recurrence of golfers elbow. Exercises that stretch or strengthen your forearm muscles will be helpful.
In many cases, the onset of the condition (when related to sports activity) may be caused by incorrect equipment, form or technique. Consultation with a coach may be helpful in making changes to relieve the problem.
If the above treatments for golfers elbow do not work, your doctor may recommend the use of more invasive approaches like injections or surgery.