Understanding Golfer’s Elbow (Medial Epicondylitis)

in Golfer’s Elbow


The irony about golfer’s elbow is most people consider golf a rather low-impact, low-risk sport. However, golfer’s elbow, or medial epicondylitis, is one of the most frequent injuries suffered by athletes. Once it appears, the pain has a big impact on your life.

Golfer’s elbow is most common in men ages 20 to 49. However, any person, man or woman, of any age can be vulnerable to it.

Scientists believe it will show up about the time our bodies can no longer repair and grow tendon tissue at the same rate as it did in our youth but our activity level remains the same.

For golfer’s, the damage happens as they swing at the ball for a long drive. Each time they swing the club, the weight of both your arm and club produce increased momentum and force which tugs away at the inner tendons of the forearm.

The damage isn’t evident at first. This is because golfer’s elbow is a cumulative trauma injury which means the damage builds and builds each time the motion is repeated until it causes an obvious injury.

The average golf game includes at least 18 drives and the average golfer plays many times per month, sometimes multiple times a week. With each drive, the trauma accumulates and the tears become deeper and more widespread.

This induces a searing pain which throbs in your elbow and up your forearm. It is especially painful when touched and when the tendon is activated.

There are golfer’s who are sometimes twice cursed with both golf elbow on the trailing arm of their golf swing and tennis elbow on the leading arm of their swing.

Don’t get hung up on the nickname, golfer’s elbow (medial epicondylitis) can strike anyone. If you are a non-athlete or have never swung a golf club, you can still develop this form of tendonitis. You are vulnerable anytime you perform a repetitive action involving your wrist, open palm, and/or forearm.

While similar actions did not cause the initial injury, they will certainly cause the pain. Anytime you squeeze or throw a ball, shake hands with someone, turn a doorknob and pull the door open, pick up something with a palm, flex your wrist or your forearm, or perform any similar motion the results will be the same, searing pain.

These activities will also cause additional tearing on your damaged tendon, worsening the condition one small tear at a time and lengthening your recovery.

Trying To Decide If You Need To See A Doctor?

Once the pain starts, it rarely goes away on its own. As the cumulative trauma increases, the pain will also increase. Naturally, you start thinking about what to do next, which probably means you are wondering if you should see a doctor for treatment of golfers elbow.

While you should never be advised not to see a doctor if you think you should, you may leave his or her office feeling rather frustrated.

Unless your elbow is completely immobilized, discolored, or has lost all sensation, your doctor will not order x-rays and will make a diagnosis of medial epicondylitis based on your symptoms and the location of your pain.

Golfers elbow surgery is typically not indicated except in cases of the tendon tearing away or about to tear from the bone. This is easily identifiable by its level of excruciating pain and immobilization.

The doctor will probably advise you on a medial epicondylitis treatment plan. How effective it will be depends on how proactive your doctor is.

You will probably be prescribed anti-inflammatory meds, which can relieve the pain but are also directly linked to ailments such as kidney and liver failure, immune system malfunction, and Parkinson’s disease.

These should be avoided whenever possible and are not an option as a long-term solution when your pain returns.

A very proactive doctor may recommend a series of golfers elbow exercises to condition the tendon. This may or may not include multiple trips to a physical therapist.

It is more likely you will be given a temporary immobilization brace to wear until the elbow pain is gone or told to simply rest the arm in a “wait and see” manner.

While you may be willing to take a break or even give up golf to stop your pain, you cannot really eliminate all similar movements from your life. It is practically impossible.

Wearing an immobilization brace is only a short term answer. Taking a break from the movement will relieve your pain, but as soon as you return to full activity your golfers elbow symptoms will return.

Chances are your doctor is only offering you short-term solutions to a long-term problem.

A Better Solution

Don’t worry; you are not doomed to suffer from long-term pain. You don’t have to give up on your favorite sports or change jobs to avoid your pain. This condition does not need to handicap your life. There is a better solution.

What you need is a two-phased approach to your problem. First, take care of the immediate pain. Give your golfers elbow support and healing.

All experts agree the R.I.C.E. (Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation) is the healthiest way to both quickly find pain relief and to start the healing process.

The R.I.C.E. method is a universal physical therapy technique. However, there are elbow and forearm-specific considerations when using this method. Your arm is a very vital part of your body.

For example, it is difficult to completely rest your arm and still perform your everyday tasks. However, an expert can show you how to get the most out of the chances you do get to rest, using massage and similar techniques, and how to lighten the burden when you can’t rest.

An important component of the R.I.C.E. method is compression. Compression puts equalized pressure on the injured tendon to reduce swelling, but does not immobilize the arm. Compression is achieved using a brace.

It is important to remember not every golfers elbow brace will deliver results. As with most products you buy, there are quality braces which help and there are low quality braces which can actually hinder your progress.

Unfortunately, every product is marketed as the best choice available, so you will need expert guidance in selecting the right brace for you.

After the first phase of your golfers elbow treatment is complete and you have stopped the immediate pain, it is time to start phase two.

The goal of phase two is to stop the problem from ever coming back, no matter how many rounds of golf you play or how many similar activities you engage in.

An essential part of phase two will be a series of golfers elbow treatment exercises to stretch and strengthen your tendons. Making both the muscles and the tendon stronger will mean the tendon can withstand greater force and momentum with less strain and tearing.

Increasing the flexibility of your tendons means they will have a wider range of motion and previously unnatural movements will be easier to perform. The tendons become practically injury-proof.

Another part of phase two will be to correct the aspects of your life which made you vulnerable in the first place. Perhaps your diet was not providing your body with enough fuel to quickly repair damage.

Likewise, you may not have been getting enough rest which is when your body makes repairs. Maybe you have a tendency to “over do it” in most of your activities and you need to realize your limitations and work up to greater intensities.

You may even unknowingly make risky choices throughout the day which threaten the tendon. The point is you will have to examine how the non-elbow aspects of your life and anatomy influence the health of your elbow.

As you can probably guess, phase two is more complicated and requires a little expert advice and a lot of patience.

Fortunately, expert advice doesn’t mean you have to spend a good portion of the next year in a physical therapist’s office. The e-book Golfer’s Elbow Tips Revealed can give you the advice you need to help yourself.

This book, written by a physical therapist and former golfer’s elbow sufferer, is packed full of detailed information to help you successfully implement both phase one and phase two of a treatment plan.

You will be guided on the specific application of R.I.C.E. for golfer’s elbow. You will be taught how to select the right brace for your needs. You will learn specific exercises, which can be performed at home, to achieve the tone and strength goals of phase two. You will also learn how to recognize your risky activities and learn low-risk alternatives.

When you purchase the Golfer’s Elbow Tips Revealed, you will also have access to several do-not-miss free bonuses.

The most important bonus is a free video showing you exactly how to perform the book’s treatment exercises. This will ensure you are doing the exercises correctly and will gain the most benefit.

The bonuses also include helpful information on safe herbal alternatives to healing, tips on how to fit your treatment exercises into a busy schedule, a fitness journal to help you target results, and even access to future tutorials based on the ever-increasing knowledge and future discoveries about your condition.

Now you have learned how to make smart, effective decisions regarding your next steps. Remember, the longer the condition goes untreated, the worse it will become and the longer it will take to heal.

Why delay? Chances are, you’ve been holding back and missing out because of your pain. Now is the time to get proactive. The sooner you start treating your golfer’s elbow, the sooner you can be cured for good.

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