At EmergeOrtho-Blue Ridge Region, we understand that every golfer aims for the perfect swing, but sometimes, your elbow decides to take a different course. Some players develop what is commonly referred to as “golfer’s elbow,” a painful condition that can be as tricky as a sudden bunker on your path to the 18th hole. There are several symptoms associated with golfer’s elbow and several conservative and advanced treatment options we can provide to help your elbow health stay up to par.

What Is Golfer’s Elbow?

Medically termed “medial epicondylitis,” golfer’s elbow is a condition characterized by pain and inflammation of the tendons that join your forearm muscles on the inside of your elbow. Unlike its distant cousin, tennis elbow, which affects the outer elbow, golfer’s elbow is about inner elbow pain. It results from excessive or improper use of the wrist and fingers— a common occurrence in the search for that perfect swing.

Golfer’s Elbow Symptoms and Causes

A woman in a short sleeve blue shirt wearing a supportive elbow brace. The main symptom of golfer’s elbow is pain and tenderness on the inside of the elbow, which might extend along the inner aspect of your forearm. The pain usually comes on gradually. Other symptoms include:

  • Mild discomfort when bending or straightening the elbow
  • Increasing soreness or stiffness during or after a golf game or practice
  • Pain when shaking hands, turning a doorknob, or performing any hand movements that involve lifting or grabbing
  • Grip and wrist weakness
  • Tingling sensation in one or more fingers

Golfer’s elbow is not reserved for professionals only; it can affect anyone who engages in activities requiring repetitive wrist and arm motions. Overuse or strain, particularly through incorrect swinging or gripping techniques, are among the leading causes. Twisting the wrist too much can also lead to golfer’s elbow, which is why painters, plumbers, construction workers, and cooks are sometimes diagnosed with golfer’s elbow, too.

Golfer’s Elbow Treatment Options

At EmergeOrtho, we approach the treatment of golfer’s elbow with the same precision you apply to your game strategy. There are a number of non-surgical treatment options, tailored to your specific condition.

Nonsurgical Treatments

There are some at-home treatments you can try to alleviate the inflammation and pain. If these do not succeed, our elbow specialists may recommend more advanced nonsurgical options.

  • Rest: If you feel pain, we recommend taking a break from golfing to give your elbow a chance to recover.
  • Ice: Apply ice packs to your elbow for 15 to 20 minutes at a time, three to four times a day, for several days until the inflammation subsides.
  • Medication: Over-the-counter anti-inflammatory drugs can help temporarily reduce pain and swelling.
  • Physical Therapy: Custom exercises strengthen and stretch the flexor muscles in your forearm muscles. Our PT team can recommend exercises that are right for your injury.
  • Braces: A supportive brace can reduce strain on your elbow and help reduce pain. There are over-the-counter braces available, or our PT team can custom-fit a brace for precise support.
  • Corticosteroid injections: These steroid injections deposit a combination of anti-inflammatory medication and a short-acting local anesthetic directly to the affected elbow area to reduce pain and increase function.

Preventing Elbow Injuries

If you are an avid golfer or someone who engages in activities that put similar strain on the elbow, there are a few things you can do regularly to prevent the onset of golfer’s elbow, including:

  • Warm-up properly: A good warm-up will prepare your muscles and joints for the game ahead. Focus on stretching the arm and wrist muscles to improve flexibility.
  • Improve technique: Work with a coach to ensure your swing and grip will not put unnecessary stress on your elbow.
  • Strengthen muscles: Engage in exercises that strengthen the muscles around the elbow, wrist, and shoulder.
  • Take breaks: Regular breaks during play and practice can prevent overuse.

We have a team of board-certified or eligible and fellowship-trained orthopedists specializing in the diagnosis and treatment of all elbow and arm conditions. Our dedicated team brings vast experience and a track record of success in treating golfer’s elbow for athletes and enthusiasts of all levels, combining advanced diagnostic techniques with personalized treatment plans. Our approach is holistic and patient-centered, focusing not just on recovery but on prevention and performance enhancement.

Whether you are a weekend warrior, a competitive golfer, or someone who participates in activities demanding similar physical effort, we understand the nuances of your pursuit and the demands it places on your body. Our goal at EmergeOrtho-Blue Ridge Region is to ensure that your treatment plan is as unique and tailored to get you back on the course stronger and more confident than ever. If you are feeling symptoms of golfer’s elbow, schedule an appointment here to see one of our elbow experts who will help you Emerge Stronger, Healthier, and Better.

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