Golfer’s Elbow: What it is, What it Does to Your Golf Game and How to treat it?

Golf has a lot of benefits, and Golfer's elbow is probably not one of them. In medical terms, this horrible disease is lesser known by the name of medial epicondylitis.

By mechanism, this condition is the tendinosis of medial epicondyle which is found on the inside of our elbows. This disease is more or less similar to the way lateral epicondyle gets affected in tennis elbow.

So, one thing is evident.

This condition is caused mainly due to the overuse of body in one particular way. To explain it more scientifically, the insertion point where all the tendons meet at the elbow joint, which is known as the humerus, becomes inflamed as a result of constant usage of the wrist.

These tendons are found in one sheath originating from the elbow; and they are involved in the flexing of digits of hands, flexing and pronating of the wrist as well.

golfer's elbow

Causes of Golfer's Elbow

So now that you are aware of what Golfer's elbow is, let's explore further and find out the causes of this disease.

It is caused mainly due to the arms swing like motion while playing golf. When you make a hit, it puts stress on the tendons or sheath of tendons that I mentioned above.

In case of using one particular grip, which is the baseball grip the condition can worsen as well. But here’s an interesting piece of news; most of the time people who develop golfer’s elbow have never even touched a golf club.

For this very reason, you may notice that people use another name for this condition known as Pitcher’s disease. It is named thus since it also caused by throwing objects like one would throw a baseball, this kind of motion also grievously stresses the same muscles.

However, the chances of this kind of inflammation are fairly less as this disease is not very common. Other names for this disease are Little League Elbow and Climber's elbow; all of these names have been given due to the various causation of this same kind of disease.

Every single flexor and pronator of fingers and forearms respectively are connected with this one sheath of tendons that originates from the elbow, and therefore all these injuries have one common underlying cause, stressing of these tendons.

Thus the people who get affected by this disease can be rock climbers, by their intense grip that is required to hold onto rocks. The cause of pain in this disease is the intensive grip of the digits of hands, and torsion of the wrist; this usage causes stressing of tendons, which ultimately results in this condition.

As I have explained before, if the epicondyle's lateral side gets affected it is more commonly known as tennis elbow, and this kind of stress on muscles is much more common. 

The condition doesn’t start with a symptom such as unbearable pain, it is a slow and gradual process and by the time an individual seeks medical assistance, weeks must have gone by.

Resisted wrist flexion is the cause of an aggravated condition of golfer’s elbow, so is pronation of wrist. This same process is used to diagnose golfer’s elbow.

So to diagnose the tennis elbow which is otherwise known as lateral epicondylar pain and is caused by wrist's extension, motion corresponding to wrist extension is performed to see if the pain has aggravated.

The reasons and causes behind this horrible disease are unknown on a cellular and molecular level; however, there are hypotheses about the autophagic death of cells, and it is considered to be the cause of chronic lateral epicondylar pain.

This kind of cell death is responsible for a weaker muscle and reduces the density which furthers the prospects of weakening muscles as the arm is used for daily life tasks.

There are preventive measures to be found for this kind of disease, such as flexibility training. It is advisable for sports trainers to train their muscles to prevent this from happening.

hitting clubface

How to Treat Golfer's Eblow

Golfer’s elbow can have specific treatments depending on how your doctor prefers to treat it and what might be the requirements of a particular individual.

But there's a list of non-specific therapies that can be resorted to when needed such as naproxen, aspirin, and ibuprofen. These are anti-inflammatory drugs and rude the inflammation of muscle.

Heat or ice is also a good way of reducing muscle inflammation, as we have often witnessed many athletes use it post-games.

To protect the elbow from straining or the pain from getting provoked, an elbow strap is usually suggested to be worn by the patient.

It also ensures no further damage happens in the case of movement, in my opinion; this is the best measure to prevent further muscle deterioration. 

Whenever such a problem arises, the person is given regular and conservative treatments, and if that doesn't work, the patient is put on steroids and anesthetics to cure the pain.

Compression and elevation are also tried before a regular treatment can begin. If that doesn't heal the condition, the patient is suggested to use a tennis elbow splint.

This disease is chiefly caused due to overuse of the muscle, so rest is always going to help alleviate the symptoms to a significant degree and reduce the discomfort in the elbow caused by the strain.

A daytime elbow pad can be adjusted to minimize the trauma to the nerve. Therapies are inclusive of simple stretching strategies, gradually building up to exercises that help strengthen the flexor-pronator muscles.

The ultimate way of getting the complete muscle motion back is achieved with the help of eccentric exercises. Once the patient is done performing all these exercises for the prescribed time, it is common to be advised to apply ice on the affected area.

 Under normal circumstances, if this condition is treated with rest, ice application and proper exercising the disease can be alleviated then it might be recovered. Very few people need steroid injections, and less than 10% end up needing surgery.
Denny Putsh
Denny Putsh

I’m a golf enthusiast just like you and have been playing the game since I was 12 years old. Although I love watching the PGA Tour and following my favorite stars on tour I’m also fascinated by all of the unique and innovative products that are associated with the game I love. It's my greatest joy to share my fascination with golf gadgets, equipment, training aids, and golf accessories with fellow golf lovers on all levels.


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