Golfer’s elbow, also referred to as medial epicondylitis, is the condition that causes pain and inflammation in the tendons that connect the forearm to the elbow. The sufferer experiences the pain mainly on the bony bump on the inside of the elbow. It may spread into the forearm and wrist. Despite the name, it doesn’t affect only golfers. It may be caused due to any repetitive actions of hand, wrist or forearm. The sport activities like tennis, baseball or bowling may lead to golfer’s elbow. However, golfer’s elbow is less common condition.
Causes of Golfer’s Elbow
The condition is usually caused by the overuse of the muscles in the forearm. Repetitive movements like gripping, flexing or swinging can cause small tears in the tendons. Damaged muscle tissue due to excessive force can lead to golfer’s elbow. Chronic cases of golfer’s elbow are due to poor health of soft tissues, which can easily get damaged. There may be inflammation after the injury, which may cause swelling and elbow pain. Usually, degenerative changes in the muscle tissues located at the medial epicondyle may lead to chronic golfer’s elbow.
Symptoms of Golfer’s Elbow
The sufferer typically experiences pain when performing gripping tasks or resisted wrist or finger flexion. There may be pain due to stretching of muscles. Some may experience stiffness and tenderness in the neck. Also, they may experience signs of median nerve irritation. Most elbow movements and gripping movements become quite painful. The pain is usually aggravated due to the use of affected muscles, such as grasping the objects or shaking hands. There may be tenderness and stiffness in the inner side of the elbow. The sufferer may experience weakness in the hands and wrists as well as numbness or tingling sensation.
Treating Golfer’s Elbow
Being an overuse injury, it’s quite difficult for golfer’s elbow to get cured quickly. Initially, you may apply ice pack to the affected elbow for 15-20 minutes three to four times a day. Keep in mind that ice should be wrapped in the cloth so that it doesn’t come in direct contact with the skin. Additionally, you need to rest the affected elbow and avoid the movements that may aggravate the problem. Also, you have to look out for the ways to modify the daily activities. You may use a splint or strap to avoid pulling of the injured tendon.
The doctor may prescribe non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen to relieve pain and swelling. These drugs can be obtained over-the-counter in the form of tablets or creams. If they are not much effective, the doctor may recommend a cortisone injection, which may help reduce pain and swelling for short term.
Natural Treatment for Golfer’s Elbow
Try to reduce the load on your elbow. Wrap the elbow with an elastic bandage or you may use a forearm strap. You need to maintain a rigid wrist position during all the lifting activities. You may try certain stretching and strengthening exercises according to the suggestion of the doctor. You may take the guidance from the physiotherapist for appropriate exercises. When the pain is reduced, you may gradually return to normal activities.
The key to prevent golfer’s elbow is to avoid overuse. If you feel pain in the elbow during the sports like tennis, golf, archery, bowling or activities like plumbing and carpentry, then you should immediately stop these activities.
You may strengthen the forearm muscles by using light weights or squeezing a tennis ball. Stretching is very important before you start with sport activity. Walking or jogging for a few minutes is necessary to warm up the muscles.
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