Golfers Elbow

Written by Dr. Donald A. Ozello DC

Knowledge is power and educating yourself on the source and prevention of injury is vital to all athletes.

Pain, tenderness, weakness and fatigue located in the inner elbow and inner forearm near the elbow occurs commonly with golfers. Golf-related elbow injuries happen so frequently that the condition called medial epicondylitis is nicknamed golfer’s elbow.

Golfer’s elbow is inflammation at the inner aspect of the elbow. If your elbow is bent to ninety degrees and your palm is facing skyward the side of your elbow toward your body is known as the medial or inner side.

Tendons are extremely tough tissues that attach muscle to bone. In medical terms the suffix …itis means inflammation. Thus inflammation of a tendon is called tendonitis.

The muscles which flex the palm toward the front of the elbow are called the wrist flexors. The wrist flexors’ tendon attaches to the medial aspect of the elbow.

When the wrist flexor muscles are stressed repetitively while golfing, the muscles and tendon become irritated and inflamed.

The demands on the wrist flexors vary from side-to-side throughout the golf swing. The lead elbow is stressed more during the pre-contact phase of your motion, while the back elbow endures most of its stress during the post-contact phase.

During the golf swing both wrists go through a wide range of motion. This long range of motion performed over and over again combined with the gripping of the club leads to injury.

Prevention is the best medicine when it comes to golfer’s elbow. Valuable tools to prevent and manage golfer’s elbow include proper technique, a thorough warm-up, developing balanced forearm strength and range of motion, and self-massage.

Obtain advice and/or lessons from a qualified golf instructor. Learn to use a proper grip on the club. The incorrect grip places unnecessary stress on the hands, wrists, forearms and elbows. This work overload leads to injury and pain.

Warming-up before you play or practice is vital to preventing and managing golfer’s elbow. Utilize dynamic motions and static stretches to prepare your body for activity. Never get out of your car and start swinging your clubs. Take five to ten minutes to loosen up the muscles and joints.

Perform a warm-up for the entire body with emphasis on the upper extremity. To warm-up the upper extremity splay your fingers open and closed, make and release a light fist, and roll your wrists in each direction. You should perform these dynamic motions with the wrist flexed, extended, and straight.

Bend and straighten your elbows while rotating them from a palm up to a palm down position. Execute this motion with the shoulders and arms in various positions.

Transition to the static stretching phase of your warm-up once you have completed the dynamic motion phase. Hold your elbow straight and use your opposite hand to gently stretch your wrist forward and backward. Hold a comfortable stretch for 20 to 60 seconds.

Continually move and stretch your hands, wrists, elbows, and shoulders while playing. In between each hole perform a different stretch.

Cool down after playing by holding static stretches to lessen accumulated muscle tension.

Off the course conditioning programs are extremely helpful in preventing golfer’s elbow. Develop strength and flexibility in the upper extremity by exercising the muscles at various angles.

Simple exercises like wrist curls, reverse wrist curls, and hammer curls will strengthen the forearms muscles. Hand grippers and grip balls are easy to use equipment to build power in the hand, wrist, forearm and elbow.

Performing self-massage on your forearm muscles during and after golfing decreases muscle tension. Use lighter longer strokes with your opposite palm and deeper direct pressure with your opposite thumb.

Hold a moderate amount of direct pressure to a tight spot in the wrist flexor muscles near the elbow for six seconds then slide to a different spot on that muscle. Work up and down the entire length of these muscles while slowly flexing and extending the wrist.

Utilize these easy to implement recommendations to prevent and manage golfer’s elbow and to keep your body functioning at its highest capacity.

Dr. Donald A. Ozello DC is the owner and treating doctor of Championship Chiropractic located at 2595 S. Cimarron Rd, Suite #100, Las Vegas, NV 89117. Dr. Donald A. Ozello DC can be contacted at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

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