Golfer's elbow at IBJI

For many, golf is a relaxing game that allows us to have a little fun on the weekend, and get some much needed exercise. There’s nothing like hitting the greens with a couple of friends (or even just the driving range) and perfecting your game. There is, however, something that can make golfing very frustrating and that’s pain. Many golfers (and weekend warriors) have pain in their elbow when swinging but don’t know much about the injury. Almost everyone is familiar with tennis elbow, but have you heard of golfer's elbow?

What is golfer's elbow?

Golfer’s elbow (Medial Epicondylitis) is a condition related to inflammation in the elbow. When the elbow becomes inflamed, it can be a very painful injury. For most patients the pain will be in one elbow, and may be a result of stressing the tendon when making a golf swing.

What causes golfer’s elbow?

For those who play a lot of golf and the elbow is under repetitive stress, the act of swinging the club may be the cause of pain. And although the condition is commonly referred to as Golf Elbow, you can suffer from the same symptoms without ever swinging a club. Any injury to the elbow or sport that requires repetitive pressure and stress on the elbow can cause symptoms – symptoms like pain and tenderness on the inside of the elbow, weakness in hands or wrist, and numbness and/or tingling that radiates into fingers. Golf Elbow is also commonly referred to as Pitcher’s Elbow and Climber’s Elbow as elbow pain is common for baseball pitchers and rock climbers.

Treating golfer's elbow

Treating golfer's elbow is very similar to treating other inflammation based conditions. One of the first things you need to do (if possible) is to rest the affected area. If you continue to golf, it will make it difficult for the elbow to heal. During this time, a physician may prescribe pain medicine and anti-inflammatory medication to reduce swelling. Icing the affected area may also be recommended.

If these methods do not work, a physician may recommend an elbow brace or wrap and physical therapy. An elbow wrap will allow you to reduce the load and stress on your elbow. As a last resort surgery may be recommended but surgery for golfer's elbow is not common and only recommended in severe cases.

How to get rid of a painful swing

One of the biggest issues with golfer's elbow is its lack of popularity, because it’s not well known, it typically goes undiagnosed. If you have any of the above symptoms and it’s affecting you lifestyle, see an orthopedic physician to get a proper diagnosis and the most effective treatment. Contact an IBJI physician nearest you for expert care in the Chicagoland area.

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