Now that it’s spring, many people are deep into their favorite sports and recreational activities. That means repetitive strain injuries due to overuse are about to become much more common. One of the most common injuries that occur is golfer’s elbow. Even if you don’t play golf, this injury can easily happen to you over time.
What Is Golfer's Elbow?
Golfer’s elbow is a repetitive overuse injury that involves forearm muscles. In this case, we’re talking about the muscles that attach from the wrist and go to the “funny bone” area on the inside of the elbow. These muscles are responsible for wrist flexion (or the twisting motion of the wrist). Symptoms include pain or tenderness around the inside of the elbow, as well as reduced strength in your grip. This type of injury can happen outside of sports as well such as workers that regularly complete tasks that involve repetitive wrist flexion or “twisting.” The overuse of these muscles causes the tendon of the muscle where it attaches to the bone at the elbow to become inflamed and painful to the touch or to use. Chronic inflammation and overuse of these tendons and muscles can eventually lead to scar tissue build-up in the area which can then lead to worse problems like nerve entrapments, reduced joint mobility, and early onset arthritis.
How Do You Treat Golfer's Elbow?
For golfer’s elbow, stretching the muscles on the inside of the forearm can help reduce the pain associated with the condition. The forearm stretches in this video are just some of the exercises we give to patients to help! Forearm Stretches
Eccentric Forearm Strengthening
Strengthening the forearm muscles while allowing the muscle to lengthen, not shorten (called eccentric muscle contraction) is a fantastic rehab strategy to reduce muscle pain, build endurance in the forearm muscles, and prevent the tendons from building up that nasty scar tissue. Check out this video to try these exercises! Eccentric Forearm Loading
One of the best strategies is to prevent golfer's elbow from beginning in the first place! Making sure you are not overusing the muscles by taking regular breaks from repetitive activities, performing regular stretching before and after activity, and getting ample rest after strenuous activity can prevent the injury from occurring and avoid having the condition at all!