Golfer’s elbow, much like tennis elbow, is a pain around your elbow bone or joint.
The pain from golfer’s elbow is on the inside of the elbow and is often caused by overuse or stress on the elbow and forearm from repetitive motions like swinging a golf club.
Similar to tennis elbow, it does not just affect golfers, but many people who use their hands regularly – especially those who exert great force or stress on their hands, wrists, and forearms like carpenters or plumbers.
The symptoms of golfer’s elbow can range from mild to extreme pain that makes it difficult to exert pressure on the wrist and forearm.
This article will outline the symptoms of golfer’s elbow and the activities that can contribute to the condition.
What is Golfer’s Elbow (medial epicondylitis)?
Golfer’s elbow is a pain or ache in the elbow joint.
It’s caused when the muscles, ligaments, and tendons surrounding the elbow and forearm are stressed or strained, often by repetitive movements.
The pressure creates tears in the tissue and – without time to heal – the tissue swells and causes pain and soreness.
Despite its name, golfer’s elbow afflicts many others besides golfers.
Tennis and baseball players can experience golfer’s elbow from swinging the racquet or bat with poor form.
A physical therapist can help correct your form or provide alternatives for your swing.
Golfer’s elbow can also be caused when athletes use equipment that is too big, too small, or too heavy, which can cause them to overextend their arm and wrist.
Despite its name, people who use their hands on a daily basis are most likely to experience golfer’s elbow than athletes.
Carpenters who are hammering, plumbers laying pipes, and other manual laborers who put pressure on their forearms, wrists, and hands all face a greater chance of developing golfer’s elbow.
Some other common causes of golfer’s elbow include:
Cooking or chopping with a knife
Playing an instrument like the violin
Repetitive use of tools like a shovel or screwdriver
Any activity that puts strain or stress on the hands, wrists, and forearms can contribute to golfer’s elbow.
Read more about the causes of golfer’s elbow here and how to prevent it:
Symptoms of Golfer’s Elbow
When first experiencing golfer’s elbow, you are likely to feel mild pain or aching on the inside of your elbow and forearm.
You could also see swelling or redness in the area.
If not treated, these symptoms can get worse or become chronic.
Laborers often report persistent elbow pain because of their repetitive motions using tools.
Below are some of the top symptoms of golfer’s elbow:
Pain or Aching
Pain, aching, or soreness of the inside elbow joint and forearm are most common.
At first, the pain might be intermittent, coming and going while you conduct the repetitive motion, but without treatment, it can become more persistent.
Some report the pain radiating from the elbow to the forearm, wrist, and hand.
Redness or Swelling
Golfer’s elbow is an inflammation of the tendon or other tissue in the elbow and forearm.
As a result of this aggravated tissue, you may see or experience redness or swelling around the inside of the elbow joint.
This can be common immediately after completing the activity. The elbow may also be tender to the touch.
Another symptom of golfer’s elbow is stiffness of the elbow joint and forearm that makes it difficult to move your arm.
Although one of the top treatments for golfer’s elbow is to rest or give your muscles a break, doctors and physical therapists don’t recommend stopping all activity because it can exacerbate the problem and lead to greater stiffness.
Stretching and weighted exercises for the elbow and joint have been found to improve mobility, reduce pain, and strengthen muscles to help recover from golfer’s elbow faster.
Pain or Weakness Gripping
A textbook symptom of golfer’s elbow and tennis elbow is pain or weakness when gripping things.
Many people report difficulty gripping a coffee cup or doorknob.
For some patients, this shows up as pain when trying to grip while for others it manifests as weakness in their forearm and elbow that makes it nearly impossible for them to twist or make a fist.
All of the above symptoms can be treated with specific tools like icing or stretching.
Doctors and physical therapists recommend taking quick action after you experience pain to help reduce inflammation and ensure the condition doesn’t become chronic.
For people who use their hands for a living, it’s important to take proper measures to give your muscles and tissue a chance to rest and heal.
While you may not be able to stop the movement entirely, there are some alternatives to help take the pressure off your hands, wrists, and forearms.
Read more about treatment for golfer’s elbow here:
golfers elbow treatment
When to See a Doctor for Golfer’s Elbow
The above golfer’s elbow symptoms can become more serious if they are not treated.
Treatment for golfer’s elbow includes icing, resting, stretching, and exercises.
Follow a physical therapy program to treat golfers elbow here:
If the pain or other golfer’s elbow symptoms don’t go away after several weeks or months of treatment and rest, you should consider seeing a doctor.
A doctor will likely recommend an X-ray to determine the cause of the pain and if you have a more serious condition that could require surgery.
In some cases, physical therapy may be helpful to help adjust your form or movement.
This article included information about the cause of golfer’s elbow and the major symptoms of golfer’s elbow and what to expect with each one.
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