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Physical Therapy for Golfer’s Elbow – Information, Exercises, and More

If you have discomfort or irritation on the inner side of your arm and elbow, you could have golfer’s elbow — even if you don’t play golf.

Whether you’re an avid golfer or not, and you’ve been diagnosed with golfer’s elbow, you understand the pain that can stop you in your tracks.

You don’t have to live with this discomfort. Golfer’s elbow doesn’t have to keep you away from your favorite activities. There are proven treatment options and exercises that can help you get back in the game and back to your life.

In this informational guide, we’ll share with you:

  • Symptoms
  • Treatments to consider
  • Exercises to do at home

What is Golfer’s Elbow?

You may have also heard golfer’s elbow called Medial Epicondylitis. They’re the same thing. Most refer to it as golfer’s elbow because, well, the other is hard to pronounce.

Let’s stick with golfer’s elbow for now.

So, what is golfer’s elbow?

Similar to tennis elbow (which occurs on the outside of the elbow), golfer’s elbow is a condition that causes pain where the tendons of your forearm muscles attach to the bony numb on the inside of your elbow.

The pain might spread into your forearm and wrist. It’s a type of tendinitis and often caused by overuse or injury.

With golfer’s elbow small tears occur in the tendon that connects the elbow to the wrist. These tears cause swelling of the tendon and pain.

What Causes Golfer’s Elbow?

Golfer’s elbow occurs when the muscles and tendons that control your wrist and fingers become damaged.

The most common cause of golfer’s elbow is overuse — excess or repeated stress — especially forceful wrist and finger motions.

Many people assume it’s caused by swinging a golf club over and over.

But, many activities can cause this condition.

Aside from golf, some of the activities that can lead to golfer’s elbow include:

  • Weight lifting – improper technique can overload the elbow muscles and tendons
  • Racket sports – using a racket that’s too small or heavy; improper technique
  • Throwing sports – improper pitching technique (baseball, football, archery, javelin)

The common problems are improper technique and poor preparation.

Some of the occupations that can lead to Golfers Elbow are:

  • Butchers
  • Plumbers
  • Construction workers
  • Assembly line workers
  • Cooks
  • Painters
  • Meat processors

To cause golfer’s elbow, the activity generally needs to be done for more than an hour a day for several days.

Risk Factors Associated With Golfer’s Elbow

You could be at higher risk of developing golfer’s elbow if you’re:

  • Age 40 or older
  • Performing repetitive activity at least two hours a day
  • Obese
  • A smoker

Prevention Of Golfer’s Elbow

If you haven’t been diagnosed yet with golfer’s elbow, but you think you fall into the “at-risk” category or you perform one or more of the activities listed above, there are ways to prevent the condition from occurring.

You can take these steps now to prevent golfer’s elbow:

  • Strengthen your forearm muscles. Use light weights or squeeze a tennis ball.
  • Stretch before your activity. Walk or jog for a few minutes to warm up your muscles. Then do gentle stretches before you begin your activity.
  • Fix your form. Before beginning your sport, ask an instructor to check your form to avoid overload on muscles.
  • Use the right equipment. If you’re using older golfing irons, consider upgrading to lighter graphite clubs.
  • Lift properly. When lifting anything — including free weights — make sure you have proper form and technique.
  • Know when to rest. Try not to overuse your elbow. At the first sign of elbow pain, take a break.

Your physical therapist, personal trainer, or coach are great resources to ensure you have the right form and techniques down.

Golfer’s Elbow Symptoms

 

If you have golfer’s elbow, you may experience:

 

  • Pain and tenderness
    • Usually felt on the inner side of your elbow that can worsen with certain movements
  • Stiffness
    • Your elbow can feel stiff
  • Weakness
    • You may experience weakness in your hands and wrists
  • Numbness or tingling
    • This might radiate into one or more fingers (usually the ring and pinky fingers)

 

These symptoms can come on suddenly or gradually. They might worsen (especially the pain) with certain movements, such as swinging a golf club.

Golfer’s Elbow Treatment

Most people can find relief for their golfer’s elbow at home before they need to see a doctor.

Treatment usually begins with — rest.

Resting from the activity that has caused the issue may relieve the pain within a few days.

Home remedies include:

  • Icing the elbow and inner part of the forearm
  • Taking over-the-counter pain and anti-inflammatory medications
  • Performing strengthening exercises
  • Stretching the forearm
  • Returning gradually to the activity
  • Using braces for golfer’s elbow

Golfer’s elbow braces can be purchased online or at most pharmacies. Your doctor or physical therapist may also supply a brace.

When To See A Doctor For Golfer’s Elbow

If you’ve tried rest, pain relievers, and a brace, and your pain and tenderness have not gotten better, it may be time to see your primary doctor.

In most cases, your doctor may recommend physical therapy and a brace.

In some cases, a doctor may also recommend:

Golfer’s Elbow Physical Therapy – Will PT Help?

Absolutely. Many doctors will recommend physical therapy for your golfer’s elbow.

Your physical therapist will have an understanding of the body and the condition. They can put together a personal plan just for you and your golfer’s elbow.

A physical therapist will know which exercises will best help you meet your rehabilitation goals.

Best Golfer’s Elbow Exercises

Some of the more common exercises that your physical therapist may recommend are:

  • Wrist extension stretch
  • Wrist flexion stretch
  • Forearm supination and pronation
  • Stress ball squeeze
  • Finger stretch

How In Motion O.C. Can Help With Golfer’s Elbow

At In Motion O.C., our mission is to bring you hope, healing, confidence, and joy.

Let us help you get back to your life and to the things you enjoy.

We do just that — we have countless testimonials and case studies (along with our #1 rating on Yelp) to prove our commitment to our clients.

Call us today for your consultation to get you back swinging in no time.

In Motion O.C.