Golfer’s elbow or medial epicondylitis is a musculoskeletal condition involving pain on the inner side of the elbow. On the inner side of the elbow lie the tendons where muscles on the forearm attach to the bones in the area. Affectation of the tendons contributes to the development of golfer’s elbow.
The pain is golfer’s elbow may radiate to the wrist and forearm; however, it does not tend to be debilitating and rest can easily get back patients to their usual activities. The pain may also be accompanied by tenderness, stiffness, weakness and tingling or numbing sensation arms and wrists. Then, pain may also intensify during activities such as shaking of hands, swinging of a racket or golf club, pitching a ball, lifting weights, turning of doorknobs and flexing the wrists.
Golfer’s elbow has similarities to tennis elbow only that the former occurs on the inside portion of the elbows while the latter develops on the outside part or in the elbow itself. Golfer’s elbow is not only experienced by golfers, but by other athletes as well who use their wrists repeatedly such as tennis players.
Golfer’s elbow is more common among middle aged adults starting at the age of 35. As discussed, golfer’s elbow may not only be experienced by golf players, but other people as well who use their wrists or fingers repetitively causing wear and tear. This results in damage to the tendons and muscles that innervate or control, the fingers and wrists. Some of the common causes of golfer’s elbow include:
- Swinging action
Swinging actions such as those seen while playing golf is the most common cause of golfer’s elbow; hence, the name. However, golfer’s elbow only happens when incorrect techniques are used taking its toll on the tendons and muscles in the forearm. Racket sports such as tennis and badminton can also lead to such when too heavy or too small rackets are used.
- Improper lifting
Improper lifting for repeated times may cause repetitive stress on the inside portion of the elbows. Even simple weight training such as use of dumbbells may even cause the muscles and tendons to be damaged.
- Throwing or hitting
Those that involve throwing or hitting activities such as baseball or softball can also cause golfer’s elbow. As the arm grasps the ball and throws it with all might, the tendons and muscles on the inside portion of the elbow may get tensed and damaged. In the same line, javelin, archery and football may also lead to golfer’s elbow because of the repeated stress in the area.
- Poor conditioning or warm-up before working out
When one increases the intensity of workouts without proper conditioning, the muscles and tendons along the arms may also suffer from too much workload that they have not been prepared. As a result, they become spastic and eventually damaged.
Other activities that involve bending the wrist repeatedly may also lead to golfer’s elbow.
Since Golfer’s elbow usually involve improper techniques that increase tension in the soft structures in the forearm, it is essential to employ proper ergonomics to prevent the occurrence of which.