In this ultimate guide to Golfer’s Elbow, I’ll answer 15 of your frequently asked questions and show you the best treatments and supports you can try, recommended by the NHS and other leading health experts.
Read on to find out the symptoms, causes, exercises and treatments that are best:
In this guide:
- What is golfers elbow?
- What are golfers elbow symptoms?
- What causes golfers elbow?
- How do you know if you have Tennis Elbow or Golfers Elbow?
- What happens if golfers elbow goes untreated?
1. What is Golfers Elbow?
Golfers elbow is a type of tendonitis that affects the tendons that connect the forearm to the elbow.
It is an overuse condition causing pain and tenderness to the inside of the elbow joint – an area called the medial epicondyle.
You may also hear the condition called ‘Medial Epicondylitis’.
It affects both men and women, mainly aged between 30 and 50 years old, particularly those working in manual occupations or that play sports involving throwing.
2. What are Golfers Elbow symptoms?
The main Golfers elbow symptoms are:
- Pain on the inside of your elbow, worse when bending your elbow or gripping or squeezing
- Weakness in your wrist or reduced grip strength
- Elbow stiffness or reduced movement
- Burning sensation on the inside of your elbow.
- Pain when completely straightening the elbow
- Pain when twisting or lifting items
- Tingling sensation or numbness in you ring and little fingers.
3. What causes Golfers elbow?
Golfers elbow occurs as a result of overuse to the group of tendons that bend your wrist and fingers.
You can get Golfers elbow from repetitive activities that involve gripping, lifting, and twisting with the wrist.
This overuse causes small tears, inflammation, swelling and pain in the tendons that connect the forearm to the elbow.
The image below shows the site of the injury.
4. How do you know if you have Tennis Elbow or Golfers Elbow?
The main difference between Tennis Elbow and Golfer’s Elbow is the location of the pain.
If you have Golfers elbow, you will experience pain on the inside of your elbow. With Tennis elbow, you will experience pain on the outside edge of your elbow.
Golfers Elbow Test
A health professional will diagnose Golfers elbow based on your history of symptoms and activities.
A simple examination without the need for special investigations may also be conducted. Your GP may request a scan if there is uncertainty about the diagnosis, but this is rare.
6. What happens if Golfers elbow goes untreated?
It’s important to figure out what has caused your Golfers elbow.
If you continue to do the activity that caused it, the pain and discomfort won’t improve and the inflammation, swelling and pain may get worse.
You may also find your grip becomes weaker and you have less movement in your wrist.
Keep reading to find out what the best treatments are.
7. Is Golfers elbow serious?
Although the condition is painful, it shouldn’t cause any lasting damage and more than 80 per cent of people with Golfers elbow make a full recovery with straightforward treatment, according to the NHS.
Read on to learn the 7 steps you can take to help treat and heal your tendon.
8. What is the fastest way to fix Golfers elbow?
The fastest way to fix Golfers elbow is to follow the NHS advice 7 treatment steps below:
7 steps to treat Golfers Elbow
When you first develop pain after sport or a repetitive activity, these are the first 5 things you need to do:
- Protect – Stop doing the activity that caused it, or wear a support if you have
- Rest – You need to let the tendons and muscles in your arm heal.
- Ice – You can apply an ice pack to help reduce swelling and inflammation.
- Compress – Wearing a Golfers elbow support can help symptoms.
- Elevate – resting your elbow on the arm of a chair or surface above the level
of your heart can help to control swelling and pain.
The next 2 things you can do to treat your symptoms are:
- Stretches and strengthening exercises
- Anti-inflammatory medication – such as ibuprofen – can help with pain. Always read the label or speak to your GP if you need advice.
9. What can you do for Golfers elbow?
Resting you’re the tendons in your arm is the most important treatment you can do in order to recover.
Rest allows for the tendon to repair which will reduce the inflammation and pain.
You should avoid the activity that caused it and follow the advice in this guide until you feel the symptoms have improved.
A support strap will help to rest the tendons in your arm.
Once you’ve figured out what activities have likely caused your Golfers elbow symptoms, it is important to modify your movements or activities to prevent further problems.
Allow more rest in-between activities.
If sport or using tools has caused the problem, check whether you are using the correct equipment with the proper technique.
If your activity is work related, you should contact your occupational health department or GP for advice on how reasonable changes can be made to help you.
Over the counter medication such as ibuprofen can help short-term to reduce pain and inflammation.
Always read the medication advice label and speak to your pharmacist or GP if you need advice.
If your symptoms persist and do not improve with the other treatments mentioned, you should contact you GP or speak to a physiotherapist.
They will help you controlling your symptoms and reconditioning the tendons and muscles that have been affected.
10. Does an elbow brace help?
Yes. Studies have found that counterforce elbow braces are best at helping to reduce pain and help rest your tendons.
11. How long does it take for golfers elbow to heal?
If you follow the 7 treatment steps in this guide you should have a recovery time between a couple of weeks or months, depending on the severity of the injury.
12. Can you still workout with Golfers elbow?
If you’re experiencing symptoms of Golfers elbow it is advisable to rest the affected arm for a few weeks to allow the injured tendons to heal.
By continuing to work out you will stop the tendons from being able to recover, and may cause the inflammation and swelling to become worse.
Once you feel you have made a recovery from the symptoms, it is advisable you perform stretching and strengthening exercises to help rehabilitate the affected arm before going back to weightlifting.
Bodybuilders lifting heavy weights are advised to lighten the weights as they ease themselves back into weightlifting, in order to reduce the likelihood of further injury.
It is advisable to wear a heavy-duty support wrap for your elbow when lifting weights, to help support the elbow joint.
PHYSIFLEX recommends you always seek direct advice from a health professional about any injuries or conditions you have.