It’s a sharp pain shooting down the inside of your forearm, an aching in the wrist, a pain in the you-know-what. Medial epicondylitis is an inflammation in the tendons that connect the forearm to the elbow. This overuse injury has several different aliases: tennis elbow, pitcher’s elbow and, of course, golfers elbow. If you’re a fan of the green, there’s no doubt you or one of your mates have experienced golfers elbow from golf. It can be a pain, and in more than one way, but learning how it’s caused and how to manage it can keep it from controlling your game.
Golfers elbow, like many tendon injuries, is caused by overuse. Repetitive motions like swinging and gripping cause the tendons to become inflamed. The motions made when swinging a golf club earn this common golf injury its thematic nickname. Other sport-themed causes include the repetitive motions in baseball pitching, tennis or bowling. When the tendons at the forearm and elbow become inflamed, it causes an intense pain at the elbow that can spread to the forearm and wrist. Golfers elbow can also weaken your grip.
If you think you’re experiencing golfers elbow from golf, it’s important that you pay it some attention. If golfers elbow goes untreated, it can lead to a torn tendon, which may require surgery. First, take a look at what may be causing it. To some extent, golfers elbow is unavoidable as it’s an overuse injury. However, those who play with the wrong equipment or poor posture are more likely to strain themselves and develop this injury. For instance, a golf club with a poorly fitted grip may lead to golfers elbow from gripping. It’s important that you talk to a more experienced player or an employee at your local golf shop to get the right clubs for you.
Similarly, there is a lot of technique that goes into a proper swing. Every time you swing a club, you use your knees, your hips, your core, your arms and your shoulders. Each of these things are susceptible to injury. Meet with a golf teacher to discuss your swing and how to correct it. This can help you avoid golfers elbow and a handful of other injuries. Even some of the most experienced players learn to swing with imperfect posture. Sometimes it’s just a matter of correcting a bad habit.
Just because you have golfers elbow from golf, it doesn’t mean you have to avoid the game all together. Use your best judgement to determine how bad it is. If it hurts too much to hold to club or to swing, you should take a week or two away from the course. Apply alternating ice and heat to your elbow. You can also use a splint or a compression bandage to provide a little extra relief to these muscles. When you’re ready to play again, consider wearing this protection on the course as well for some additional support. Just be sure not to push yourself too far, too soon. Only you can determine what your body needs!