Golfer’s elbow is an injury caused by overuse of the muscles that flex your wrist and fingers. These muscles attach via a tendon to the bony bump on the inside of the elbow called the medial epicondyle (see figure 1).
Pain may be felt over the bony area and or into the forearm muscles. Trigger points or tight points in the forearm muscles may occur after some time. Pain over the epicondyle can be very sharp or aching in nature and swelling may be evident over the bony area.
Someone suffering from golfer’s elbow will usually experience pain when performing gripping tasks or resisting pressure with the fingers or wrist. The injury isn’t limited to golfers though. This condition is commonly seen in people who enjoy racquet sports, weight lifting, throwing sports and other activities such as painting or hammering.
Often the injury occurs due to problems with technique. Golfers may be over-gripping the club, while weight lifters may be curling their wrist when lifting weights. Painting in a confined space may cause strain on the wrist flexing muscles.
The symptoms of golfer’s elbow may involve; pain over the bony bump, pain or stiffness in the forearm muscles, tingling in the little finger and sometimes ring finger, weakness of grip or pain just above the elbow.
If left untreated, golfer’s elbow may become a chronic problem. Elbow movement may be reduced and grip becomes weak.
Physiotherapy has been proven to provide effective methods to manage tennis elbow. Best results usually occur when treatment is started soon after the symptoms first appear. Treatment may involve; treating the muscle tightness and trigger points with massage or dry needling, taping the forearm and prescription of exercises to strengthen and stretch the relevant muscles. An exercise device has been developed which can restore normal function over time.
Research has proven that using the opposite movement of the affected muscle can help to restore normal function and decrease pain. In golfer’s elbow the desired movement for treatment is a gradual lengthening of the flexing muscles. This is achieved by gripping a rubber bar, which we will refer to as a ‘Twist Bar’. The bar is repeatedly de-rotated for a specified number of times on a daily basis. Results improve over weeks and months. If any there is recurrence the exercise is simply repeated (see photos).
Sometimes a brace may be indicated to relieve the strain on the tendon and allow greater function. Advice can also be given on when you can safely return to your activities.
If you are experiencing symptoms such as these, make an appointment to see us at Balance Physio. We are experienced in restoring normal function and relieving pain. Just call on 7122 5250. You don’t need a Doctor’s referral.
P.S. Contact us at Balance Physio if you would like a twist bar for $27.50