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Physical Therapy & Treatment Exercises For Golfer’s Elbow

Interesting Facts About Golfer’s Elbow

Golfer’s elbow, also known as medial epicondylitis, is a condition that describes pain on the inner aspect of the elbow (medial epicondyle) mainly affecting the common flexor tendon. The pain can spread down to the forearm and wrist and sometimes proximally to the arm. Pain usually develops gradually over time, and eventually strength may be compromised interfering with activities of daily living.

What Causes Golfer’s Elbow?

Golfer’s elbow is caused by the constant repetitive stress on the common flexors’ tendon located on the inner aspect of the elbow. The two muscles which are more likely to be involved are the pronator teres and the flexor carpi radialis. Besides that, using exaggerated force on simple tasks like gripping too hard or long term use of bad techniques in lifting or throwing may also contribute to the condition.

During the initial stage, inflammation may be present, causing localised swelling and pain to the area. However, as the condition worsens, degeneration changes of the common flexor tension take place. During this stage, inflammation may or may not be present.

Signs & Symptoms Of Golfer’s Elbow

  • Localised pain on the inner aspect of the elbow
  • Pain on the wrist flexor muscles
  • Pain with movements, especially performing gripping tasks or making a fist
  • Stiffness on the elbow
  • General weakness in hand and arm
  • Numbing or tingling sensation in the ring and little finger

Golfer’s elbow can usually be managed with non surgical options including physical therapy or treatment exercises recommended by a licensed physiotherapist. Early intervention is recommended to better manage the pain and prevent the condition from worsening.

Physiotherapy Management For Golfer’s Elbow

During the acute stage, avoid carrying out activities which trigger the pain, and allow the tendon to rest and heal. Electrotherapy such as ultrasound and transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) will be used to help with the healing process and pain management. Application of Kinesio tape on the forearm and elbow can also be done to relieve some stress on the tendon and the medial epicondyle.

Concurrently, stretching and eccentric strengthening of the common flexor muscles will be recommended as part of your Golfer’s elbow treatment plan. Extensive research has proven the benefits of eccentric muscle training on degenerative muscles as it is more effective in reducing pain. Eccentric exercises also enhance the mechanical properties of the degenerative tendon, improving its durability and strength. The muscle is being lengthened during an eccentric contraction.

Our physiotherapists will also provide ideas for realistic workplace modification and suggestions to prevent the recurrence of the condition. This includes lifting with the wrist in a neutral position, taking rests, or alternating between tasks to avoid overstressing of the muscles.

Find out more about our physiotherapy treatments in our FAQs.