Golfer’s elbow is a condition characterised by the inflammation of the tendons that connect the muscles in your arms to your elbows. Like tennis elbow, golfer’s elbow is a form of epicondylitis, which is itself a form of tendonitis. The key differentiation between the two is that the pain is concentrated on the inside of the arm/elbow in golfer’s elbow, whereas the pain brought on by tennis elbow is primarily on the outside part of the arm.
Although golfer’s elbow is common among those who play golf regularly, any action that involves repetitive use of the wrists or a clenched fist can lead to golfer’s elbow. This can be caused by a wide range of physically exhaustive activities, including golf, tennis, cricket, bowling, and weight training. It can also be brought on by less physical activities, such as painting, drawing, or using tools.
The primary symptoms of golfer’s elbow are pain and stiffness. While these are usually felt on the inside of the elbow itself, these symptoms can extend down the entire length of the forearm. The pain is usually at its worst when flexing the wrist. If you think you have golfer’s elbow, laying your forearm down flat and flexing your wrist as you would to flex your biceps is a simple test to do at home. If this action is stiff or painful, it is quite possible that you have golfer’s elbow. In the majority of cases, your doctor will be able to diagnose the problem in a matter of minutes with a simple physical examination.
Other activities that involve a lot of wrist movement or clenching of fingers may become quite painful. These can include activities such as picking up and carrying items, shaking hands, playing an instrument, and so on.
As with any common sports injury, resting the affected area is crucial to recovery. You should temporarily suspend any activities that may be contributing to the condition until you are sure that the area has recovered. Applying an ice pack for 15 or 20 minutes, four times a day is recommended. As with any injury of this kind, you should not apply ice directly to the skin for this length of time. Use a kitchen towel if there are no ice packs available.
Wrist straps can help speed up recovery substantially by minimising movement of the affected area, and anti-inflammatories, creams, and gels can also help to numb the pain. In advanced cases, your doctor may inject you with prescription-strength anti-inflammatories, but this is a very rare treatment technique.
Stretching, using proper lifting techniques, and resting at the first sign of pain are the most effective ways to avoid being affected by golfer’s elbow.