What is Golfer’s Elbow?
Golfer’s elbow is a descriptive term for pain on the inside of the elbow that is typically aggravated by gripping or lifting when the palm is facing upwards, or hitting a golf ball.
What causes Golfer’s Elbow?
Golfer’s elbow is commonly caused by an increase in activities that load the tendon in which it responds by becoming swollen and begins a process of trying to make itself stronger so that it can perform the task in the future. Although this process does not always work correctly, therefore, becoming painful and if left untreated it is possible that the pain will increase therefore resulting in weakness and making daily activities increasingly difficult.
How do I know if I have Golfer’s Elbow?
Golfer’s Elbow can be diagnosed by a combination of symptoms and signs. The symptoms include:
- Pain on the inside of the elbow, and are aggravated by gripping or pushing with the palm turned upwards. I
- The elbow may become stiff after periods of rest, such as first thing in the morning.
- Pain with gripping (like a handshake) and tenderness on the bony point on the inside of the elbow
Your physiotherapist must ensure a correct diagnosis to ensure the right treatment is completed.
How can physiotherapy help with Golfer’s Elbow?
To accurately diagnose golfer’s elbow your physiotherapist must assess and differentiate the source of your elbow pain, therefore, allowing the physiotherapist to pinpoint the source of pain in which they will be able to discuss the best management program for your individual needs. The management may include hands-on treatment which the physiotherapist will teach you what to do. Exercises such as weights may be used help relieve the pain, increase the ability of the tendon to cope with load and increase the strength of your forearm muscles. Medication or injections may be necessary which your physiotherapist will speak to your GP about.
What can I do at home?
To help you reduce the pain of the golfer’s elbow, you can complete the following at home:
- Apply an ice pack for generally 8–10 minutes, until the skin goes numb to touch. It’s important to have a damp towel or something similar between your skin and the ice pack to avoid an ice burn and to remove the ice if you feel like your skin is burning.
- Modifying your activity – Trying picking things up with the palm facing down towards the ground. Swap hands for gripping tasks as much as you can, or if possible eliminate them entirely.
- Trying a tennis elbow brace
- Massaging your forearm muscles can help relieve pain and tightness.
How long until I feel better?
Commonly patients usually find improved function within 2-3 weeks and fully recover within 12–16 weeks. Your physiotherapist will make sure you are on the correct personal plan and will adjust according to which will ensure a quicker recovery.
If you would like to find out more please call us or book an appointment here.
Reference: Australian Physiotherapy Association 2019, Your Body, viewed 19 November 2019, < https://australian.physio/>.