In the following article, James Sherry MISCP from Somerton Physiotherapy Clinic in Dublin 15 summarises Golfer’s Elbow.

What is Golfer’s elbow?

Golfer’s elbow is pain that is located on the inside of your elbow.  The medical name for Golfer’s elbow is medial epicondylitis. The medial epicondyle is the bony prominence you can feel on the inside of your elbow (your funny bone). It is similar to tennis elbow but the difference between the two is the location of the pain. If you have tennis elbow you will feel pain on the outside of your elbow.

Do I Have Golfer's Elbow?

The golfer’s elbow is characterized by:

  • Pain and tenderness on the inner side of your elbow. Sometimes the pain extends along the inner side of your forearm.
  • Your elbow may feel stiff and it may hurt to make a fist.
  • You may have weakness in your hands, wrist or elbow when lifting or working.
  • Numbness or tingling. These sensations may radiate into one or more fingers.

The pain might worsen when you:

  • Swing a golf club or racket
  • Shake hands
  • Turn a doorknob
  • Lift weights or something heavy
  • Pick up something with your palm facing downwards
  • Flex your wrist

What causes Golfer’s elbow?

Golfer’s elbow is typically related to excessive or repeated stress over a period of time. Forceful wrist and finger motions, improper lifting, throwing or hitting, as well as poor warm-up techniques can also contribute to Golfer’s elbow.

Gripping or swinging clubs incorrectly or too forcefully is the most common cause of Golfer’s elbow.  Any activity that requires repeatedly bending and straightening your elbow can contribute to Golfer’s elbow. Painters, plumbers, and carpenters or anyone performing repetitive gripping and lifting activities are also prone to Golfer’s elbow.

Treatment of Golfer’s Elbow:

As with any golf injury the sooner you commence treatment, the sooner you will be able to return to playing again. The mainstays of physiotherapy treatment will include:

  • Put your golf game or other repetitive activities on hold until the pain is gone. If you return to playing golf too soon, you may make the injury worse.
  • Ice the affected area. Apply ice packs to your elbow for 10-15 minutes at a time, three times daily. To protect your skin, wrap the ice packs in a thin towel.
  • Take an over-the-counter pain reliever. Your physiotherapist can advise you if this is necessary.
  • Massage and manipulation. Your physiotherapist will treat you with either of these techniques to help reduce pain and inflammation in your elbow.
  • An elbow brace or support. Your physiotherapist may recommend that you wear a support brace on your affected elbow to help reduce pain.
  • Stretching and strengthen programme. Your physiotherapist will devise a tailored stretching and strengthening programme for you to help you overcome your injury successfully.

Golfer's Elbow

When can I return to golf?

When your pain has subsided our physiotherapist will review your grip and golf swing and may recommend adjustments so that the injury does not occur again in the future. You will be provided with an exercise programme that you can continue in to the future to help prevent a recurrence of the injury.

You can also check out our Fit4Golf Performance Package, at Somerton Physiotherapy we have opened up our exciting new Athletic Development Department that comes with leading experienced sports Physiotherapists and Strength and Conditioning coaches. Testing will be performed by our Lead Chartered Physiotherapist Adam Kinsella in our clinic at Castleknock GAA clubhouse.