What is Golfer's Elbow?
Similar to tennis elbow, golfer's elbow does not occur only in golfers. It is due to overuse of the wrist flexor muscles (muscles that bend the wrist upward with palm facing up). It can occur in squash, tennis and of course golf players, but can also occur in anyone who does repetitive wrist movements.
You may experience aching pain in the forearm muscles close to the elbow, as well as pain on pressing on the inner bony prominence of the elbow. Pain may increase when bending the wrist down.
When to Seek Immediate Medical Attention?
If pain occurs after trauma or fall, it is important to make sure that it is not due to other conditions such as a fracture. Bruising and swelling are also symptoms that suggest conditions other than golfer’s elbow. Pain that does not improve despite rest or wearing an appropriate elbow brace may suggest a tendon tear. Pain that wakes you from sleep on a regular basis is unusual in golfer’s elbow, and may require further investigation. Pain that is burning in nature suggests a nerve problem rather than golfer's elbow.
What can you do?
Rest the wrist and prevent further repetitive overuse. Application of ice to the painful area can sometimes help. Pain medications may be useful to relieve the symptoms as well.
An elbow strap brace applied below the elbow joint may help to reduce the force on the flexor muscles and provide relief during daily activities.
Stretching of the wrist flexor muscles can also help. This can be done by bending the wrist upwards while keeping the elbow straight. Hold the stretch for 30 seconds, 3 repetitions a day.
Following treatment, it is important to return gradually to activity. It is also important to prevent the pain from returning again by avoiding activities requiring excessive and repetitive wrist flexion. Take frequent short breaks when doing these activities.
What can we do?
Physiotherapists can help you start an appropriate rehabilitation program. Physiotherapists can also try sports taping the affected region to reduce symptoms. In addition, if your condition is related to technique in your sport, they can help assess and correct your technique as well.
Doctors can help by giving a corticosteroid injection to the region, which may provide short term relief. Symptoms may also be relieved by the use of extracorporeal shockwave therapy (ESWT), or via injection of autologous concentrated plasma (ACP).
In chronic cases with persistent symptoms, tendon release surgery is an option.