Golfer’s Elbow: Getting Your Swing Back

Golfer’s ElbowSwinging is fun! You can swing on a rope and let go over a river to cool off in the summer, or hang an old tire from a tree, climb aboard, and swing until your toes hit the sky. Swing dancing is a great time too, and who doesn’t love to grab a bat or a golf club and swing away? If you have golfer’s elbow, probably not! Just like everything else in life, too much of a good thing can turn out badly. Pain from this condition can keep you from enjoying activities that you love, but Castle Pines Physical Therapy and Cherry Creek Physical Therapy can get you back into the swing of things.

You Don’t Have to Be a Golfer!

Don’t let the name fool you—golfer’s elbow is not just a golf injury. The condition is caused by the overuse of the muscles in your forearm that connect to your elbow and allow you to flex your wrist, rotate your arm, and grip things. Any activity that uses these actions repetitively can result in the problem. For instance, raking leaves, hammering nails, playing tennis, or going bowling can pull or tear tendons in the forearm. Baseball players are also at risk—in fact, the condition is sometimes referred to as pitcher’s elbow as well.

Pinpointing the Pain

Although not as well-known as its tennis counterpart, which is pain on the outside of the elbow, golfer’s elbow causes pain on the bony bump inside your elbow. The pain can spread to the wrist or forearm as well. Both conditions are forms of tendinitis—an inflammation of tendons near the joint.

You may experience stiffness, weakness in your hands and wrists, pain when you try to make a fist, and some numbing and tingling sensations in your fingers. These symptoms can be gradual or appear suddenly, and worsen with activity such as swinging a golf club or racket, gripping a ball, shaking hands, turning a door knob, flexing your wrist, lifting weights, or picking up objects.

Typically rest, ice, and anti-inflammatory medication that we can prescribe for you is all you need to recover. However, if you can’t bend your elbow, if it looks deformed, or if you notice redness or swelling, you should seek medical help to rule out a break in the bone.

Help Is Just Around the Bend

If pain is chronic and you have a limited range-of-motion, visit us at Castle Pines Physical Therapy and Cherry Crek Physical Therapy. We can help you with stretching and strengthening exercises that will aide in restoring mobility and regaining function. A gradual return to your sport or activity is recommended, as is the use of an elastic bandage or forearm strap to reduce the load and increase stability.

Staying Above Par

Strong forearm muscles is the first step toward prevention. Even an exercise as simple as squeezing a tennis ball can help! Always warm up prior to activities as well. When your muscles are warm they are less likely to incur damage. Ask an instructor if you are practicing proper technique. Sometimes a small adjustment in your form can make a big difference.

Pain from golfer’s elbow doesn’t have to keep you from your favorite activities. With our help, you can stay on the course and in the game. Find out more from Dr. Jennifer Molner at Castle Pines Physical Therapy or Cherry Creek Physical Therapy. Call (303) 805-5156 to set up an appointment, or visit us at our Castle Pines or Cherry Creek, CO office locations.

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