Golfer’s elbow, tennis elbow, pitching elbow – whatever sport you play, tendonitis is not fun.
While the three common conditions listed above are not exactly the same, they each represent a form of repetitive, over-use injury resulting in inflammation of the tendons in the elbow.
Golfers elbow, specifically, is called “medial epicondylitis” and is characterized by pain on the inside of the forearm near the elbow, centered around the bone. The pain can radiate down the forearm toward the wrist.
Other symptoms of golfer’s elbow include redness, swelling, tenderness, stiffness, and restricted movement of the elbow.
Naturally, those that suffer from golfer’s elbow are usually athletes, and their main concern is: “when can I return to play?”
Today you will learn how to complete your sports injury recovery and return to play.
Causes of Golfer’s Elbow
Golfers elbow is caused by repetitively griping, rotating, and flexing your wrist. Over time, these movements cause too much stress on the smaller muscles and tendons of the forearm, eventually causing damage.
In order to heal and protect themselves, the tissues of the elbow most affected become inflamed and swollen, which is what causes pain.
Although golf is the biggest culprits for producing golfer’s elbow, the following activities have also been identified as high risk for developing the condition:
- Using a screwdriver, hammer, or other handheld tools
- Other sports
As you can see, many of the activities involve work or leisure, so people are often eager to recover. This can cause problems though, if not done correctly.
Sports Injury Recovery: How to Return To Play
When you’re eager to return to play, you often want to jump right back into your activity.
Instead of doing that, take the time to properly prepare yourself to avoid further injury. Remember the following principles for a speedy recovery.
Give Your Self Time
The good news is that golfer’s elbow often heals on its own. Since it is a repetitive strain injury, the main factor affecting your healing is time away from the repetitive motion that caused the problem.
How much time? Six weeks or so seems to be adequate.
The best thing to do is to avoid the repetitive straining motion(s) altogether until you’re healed. Once your symptoms subside, you can return to your activity, keeping in mind the tips on pain relief and therapy below.
However, if it’s not possible to disengage from your activity for six whole weeks, make sure you take frequent breaks to stretch and rest while doing the activity.
Seek Pain Relief
Pain relief methods include applying ice, using compression, and elevating the arm above your heart. Ice and elevation help to reduce inflammation after the activity, whereas compression reduces inflammation during the activity.
A compression sleeve should be worn while playing to limit the stress and strain on the tendons during the activity. Slowly transition out of the brace or sleeve over time.
Include Physical Therapy
A physical therapist will recommend a strengthening and stretching routine to help decrease the frequency and severity of your golfer’s elbow. They can help with pain relief, injury recovery, and prevention. A strength training program is necessary for prevention, and a physical therapist can help develop a personalized plan that works for you.
Physical Therapy For Sports Injury Recovery
If you have a sports injury like golfer’s elbow don’t rush your recovery, return to play with the necessary equipment, and seek the guidance of trained professionals. By taking the proper precautions, you can return to play safely.
Physical therapy is an effective method for treating all your sports injuries, including golfer’s elbow. It can help you strengthen weak muscles and repair damaged ones.
Find out how physical therapy can help your golfer’s elbow. Contact South Orange Rehabilitation & Wellness to schedule an appointment.