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Can You Cure Golfers Elbow?

Updated on March 20, 2013

Cure Golfers Elbow

An unpleasant fact of life that many golf enthusiasts have had to deal with is being forced to figure out how to cure golfers elbow. For the technically-minded, the official medical term for golfer’s elbow is “medial epicondylitis” (say that 5 times real fast). Basically, it is a condition that affects the tendons that in the vicinity of the elbow joint and forearm. Due to the forceful repetitive motion of such actions as golf swings, the tendons are actually “torn” in very small areas, and the cumulative effect of these “micro-tears” (as they are termed) can cause significant strain on the muscles that are responsible for the movements of the elbow and forearm. This translates into a heckuva lot of pain for the person affected by the injury. When we think of elbow injuries, most of us probably think mainly in terms of some type of direct hit to the elbow, such as a bruise or possibly banging your elbow up against some hard surface, but golfers elbow is an injury that takes place over time, and the cumulative effect of thousands (for avid golfers) of repetitive motions can really add up. It’s basically somewhat of a snowball effect, and just like if you were to keep pounding a boulder with a sledgehammer every day, eventually it will break, the same is true with the (far more sensitive) tendons of the elbow; it’s simply a case of wear-and-tear, so to speak. Some of the symptoms of golfer’s elbow include a tingling or numbing feeling going through their forearm and ending in their fingers (usually the ring and pinky fingers feel it the most), general stiffness and limited range of motion or movement, or basically when it becomes difficult to do tasks with your arm and elbow that used to be fairly easy to perform. Other symptoms include a tenderness in the affected area, i.e., the inner side of your elbow and underside of your forearm may become very sensitive to the touch or feel as if they’re “bruised”. It also may be difficult for you to clench your fist tightly, and you may feel a general overall weakness in the elbow, forearm, hand and fingers.

Image courtesy of Microsoft Office Clip Art
Image courtesy of Microsoft Office Clip Art

Can You Cure Golfer's Elbow?

So what are some things we can do to help cure golfer’s elbow? Well, one of the main things to do is to take some time away from whatever activity is causing the strain on the elbow. This seems like an all-too-obvious choice, but many people have a tendency to think that they’re “invincible” and that they can just “work through the pain”. This can actually worsen the situation in the long run. You have to choose your battles on this one, or otherwise you may end up causing permanent damage via scar tissue and calcium deposits that can form in the elbow due to repetitive stress injuries such as golfers elbow. Other options are more involved, such as taking cortisone injections to reduce inflammation and strengthen the general elbow area. Cortisone is basically a steroid, and for that reason alone some people may object to its use. In that case, it pays to investigate other forms of treatment such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory pain medications (NSAID’s) that are usually pretty easy to administer, and may help in easing the pain associated with golfers elbow. Sometimes the actual mechanics of your golf swing may be part of the problem…incorrect or inaccurate form can cause undue stress on the elbow area, and produce problems later if it is not caught or detected early. It may pay good long-term dividends for you to hire a golfing coach or consult with someone who can point out potential errors in your swing mechanics and help you work on your form. Also important to include are elbow braces, which are usually made of lightweight, breathable fabric. Look for a brace that will provide the needed support but will be made of quality lightweight material so that it doesn’t hinder circulation. In short, there are several available options out there that can potentially cure golfers elbow, so it is best to do some good “homework” before committing time and money to just one type of solution. In addition, it’s never a bad idea to consult with a physician if you have any need for professional advice and/or recommendations.

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