Golfer's elbow is a condition that causes pain where the tendons of your forearm muscles attach to the bony bump on the inside of your elbow. The pain might spread into your forearm and wrist.
Golfer's elbow is similar to tennis elbow, which occurs on the outside of the elbow. It's not limited to golfers. Tennis players and others who repeatedly use their wrists or clench their fingers also can develop golfer's elbow.
The pain of golfer's elbow doesn't have to keep you off the course or away from your favourite activities. Rest and appropriate treatment can get you back into the swing of things.
Golfer's elbow is characterized by:
The pain of golfer's elbow can come on suddenly or gradually. The pain might worsen with certain movements, such as swinging a golf club.
Golfer's elbow, also known as medial epicondylitis, is caused by damage to the muscles and tendons that control your wrist and fingers. The damage is typically related to excess or repeated stress — especially forceful wrist and finger motions. Improper lifting, throwing or hitting, as well as too little warmup or poor conditioning, also can contribute to golfer's elbow.
Besides golf, many activities and occupations can lead to golfer's elbow, including:
To cause golfer's elbow, the activity generally needs to be done for more than an hour a day on many days.
You could be at higher risk of developing golfer's elbow if you're:
You can take steps to prevent golfer's elbow:
Strengthen your forearm muscles. Use light weights or squeeze a tennis ball. Even simple exercises can help your muscles absorb the energy of sudden physical stress.
Stretch before your activity. Walk or jog for a few minutes to warm up your muscles. Then do gentle stretches before you begin your game.
Fix your form. Whatever your sport, ask an instructor to check your form to avoid overload on muscles.
Use the right equipment. If you're using older golfing irons, consider upgrading to lighter graphite clubs. If you play tennis, make sure your racket fits you. A racket with a small grip or a heavy head may increase the risk of elbow problems.
Lift properly. When lifting anything — including free weights — keep your wrist rigid and stable to reduce the force to your elbow.
Know when to rest. Try not to overuse your elbow. At the first sign of elbow pain, take a break.
Consult your doctor if rest, ice and over-the-counter pain relievers don't ease your elbow pain and tenderness. Seek immediate care if: