Golfer’s Elbow Causes and Treatment Options

Golfer’s Elbow Causes and Treatment Options

By: Dani Stekel D.C.

It’s difficult to enjoy your golf game when the pain in your elbow is a constant companion. Golfer’s elbow (medial epicondylitis) not only affects golfers, it can be a problem for anyone who uses their forearms for jobs or sports involving repetitive activity, such as hammering, gardening, shoveling, bowling and swimming. Overuse can strain the tendons that connect the inner elbow to the forearm, leading to pain, weakness and inflammation (tendonitis). Golfer’s elbow is different from tennis elbow, a condition in which the tendons on the outside of the elbow become inflamed.

Physical therapists who treat golfers agree that one of the most common causes of golfer’s elbow (at least for golfers) is what’s called the “chicken wing” swing. This is when the golfer draws his or her arms in toward the body just as the club hits the ball. This pulling in of the arms against the centrifugal force being exerted by the club puts strain on the muscles and tendons of the forearm. This can be caused by being improperly aligned with the ball, or can also be due to a limited range of motion in the shoulder joint.

Another problem with a golfer’s swing that can lead to golfer’s elbow is if the arm hyperextends during follow-through (usually by striking down on the ball rather than swinging up and through), which can cause the tendons to stretch beyond their capacity, creating small tears in the flexor tendons inside the elbow.

There are a number of treatment options available for golfer’s elbow, most of which are simple and non-invasive. First, rest the elbow as much as possible. Though this may require you to put your golf game aside for a few weeks, it will be worth it, as continuing to put wear and tear on damaged tendons will only exacerbate the situation and cause a buildup of scar tissue in the tendon, which will weaken it and make it less flexible.

You can apply an ice pack wrapped in a damp towel for 10 or 15 minutes every couple of hours to help reduce inflammation and relieve pain. Keeping the arm compressed with an elastic bandage and elevated when possible will also help with this.  Finally, be sure to get your posture checked by a chiropractor.  Many times, medial epicondylitis is aggravated by an imbalance in the spine, especially when playing golf.  Just as in boxing, all the power comes from the legs, and hips, if there isn’t enough mobility, or these areas are misaligned,  the force will come from the arms, be less powerful, and cause more strain on the elbow  when swinging.

Call us for a free consultation!

(212)581-3331

Stekel Chiropractic

250 West 57st.

New York, NY 10019

Rm. 930

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