Golfer’s elbow, or medial elbow tendonitis, is an injury that can be common among the golfing community. Although not as common an injury as low back pain, golfer’s elbow can cause significant disruption to your game if not addressed. Do not be fooled by the name … “golfer’s elbow” can occur from causes other than golf. Regardless of the cause, pain may present during golf due to gripping of the club that elicits irritation to the elbow.
Golfer’s elbow presents as pain on the inside of the elbow when gripping the golf club throughout the swing.The pain can also manifest during daily activities such as grabbing a gallon of milk out of the fridge or lifting a dumbbell during a workout.
Alternatively, elbow tendonitis can present on the outside of the elbow and is classically called “tennis elbow” or lateral elbow tendonitis. The treatment is similar.
Inflammation of the tendon at the elbow can be painful and have a negative effect on your golf swing but can be treated and resolved with a combination of home exercises and physical therapy treatments. The goal is to decrease the tension and inflammation in the tendons and surrounding muscles and retrain the tendon to work appropriately when being loaded.
1. Wrist extensor stretch 2×1 minute
2. Wrist flexion stretch 2×1 minute
3. Nerve glide 10×2 seconds
4. Wrist strengthening with dumbbell 2×15 each
a. Wrist flexion
b. Wrist extension
5. Ice massage
Physical Therapy Treatment
1. Soft tissue manipulation
2. Functional dry needling
A few additional things to keep in mind
• Be patient with your body as it heals and reduce activities that cause the pain.
• Try to avoid modifying the other components of your golf swing to compensate for your pain.
• Follow up with a golf professional in adjunct with treatment to evaluate and correct grip position, grip strength on golf club and wrist position during your swing.
• Upon pain reduction, continue the exercises to reduce reoccurrence.
• Best if examined by a physical therapist and treated at the beginning of symptoms.
Amanda Kayser is a Doctor of Physical Therapy and a Titleist Performance Institute certified practitioner. Dr. Kayser works with clients privately and at Four Seasons Golf and Sports Club in Las Colinas. You can contact Dr. Kayser at www.Kayserfitness.com.