Golfer’s Elbow can be an uncomfortable and sometimes even painful condition. But fortunately, there are ways to manage it. If you have the condition, here are the top 5 exercises (and a few other tips) to improve your mobility and pain levels.
GOLFER’S ELBOW CAUSES AND SYMPTOMS
Golfer’s Elbow is a type of tendonitis. It’s a condition where the tendons connecting your finger flexion muscles to your elbow inflame, resulting in pain around the medial epicondyle, the bony bump on the inside of the elbow. In some cases, the pain may radiate into the forearm and fingers.
The sharp wrist movements in golf, the strain from lifting heavy objects, and even the constant movement of your fingers when you’re typing can lead to this condition.
Generally, its symptoms will develop gradually.
You may experience:
- An ache in the elbow or lower arm that goes away with rest but comes back with movement
- Stiffness in the elbow
- Trouble making a fist
- Numbness or tingling in the forearm and fingers, especially the pinky and ring finger
- Weakness in the wrist or hands
Learn more: Golfer's Elbow - Causes, Symptoms & Treatment
BEST EXERCISES FOR GOLFER’S ELBOW
The faster you address the condition, the quicker (and more likely) your elbow is to recover without fuss. So, let’s start with some exercise tips:
GOLFER’S ELBOW STRETCH
You can do this exercise while standing or seated.
- Extend your arm out in front of you with your palm facing up
- Using your other hand, gently pull your fingers down toward your body
- Hold for 30 secs
- Repeat 3-5 times
You should feel a stretch on the underside of your forearm. But during the stretch, be mindful of your pain levels. As we mentioned, tendon inflammation can cause muscle stiffness, so take it slow.
We’d also recommend wearing an elbow brace/support like the EpiTrain, especially if your case is more acute (and the same goes for all the other exercises in this list). The brace’s gentle compression and anatomically shaped pad will support your injured muscles through the stretch.
RESISTED WRIST FLEXION AND EXTENSION
Do this exercise while seated at a table.
- Hold a light weight and place your arm near the edge of a table so that your hand and wrist hang off.
- For wrist flexion, your palm should be facing up. Slowly bend your wrist, lowering your hand down. Return to the original position.
- Repeat for 15 reps, 1-3 sets.
- For wrist extension, your palm should be facing down. Slowly bend your wrist, lowering your hand down. Return to the original position.
- Do 1-3 sets of 15 reps.
Again, take it slow. If your elbow, forearm or wrist hurt while you’re lifting, try using a lighter weight or a relatively light household object like a cylindrical perfume bottle.
ISOMETRIC WRIST FLEXION AND EXTENSION
As with resisted wrist flexion, do this exercise while seated at a table.
- Place your arm on a table with the fingers curled into a loose fist.
- For flexion, your palm should be facing up. With your other hand gently pressing down on the affected one for resistance, bend your affected hand up at the wrist. Continue for 10 seconds, gradually increasing the pressure.
- Do 15 reps.
- For extension, your palm should be facing up. With your other hand gently pressing down on the affected one for resistance, bend your affected hand up. Continue for 10 seconds, gradually increasing the pressure.
- Do 15 reps.
This exercise is a little different. Instead of targeting your arm, it will gently stretch out your upper back and shoulders. Reducing tension in these areas results in less of a pull on your injured elbow tendons.
- You can do thoracic extensions while laying on your back or seated on a chair with a low back.
- Use a foam roller or roll up a bath towel
- Put it horizontally between your shoulder blades
- Tighten your abdominal muscles to prevent your spine from moving too much.
- Lift your arms over your head
- Extend your upper back and body over the roll
SHOULDER WALL SLIDE
This exercise similarly targets the shoulder blades and upper back.
- Stand facing a wall and press your forearms vertically against it, with your palms facing inward (i.e., each other). Alternatively, put a foam roller between your forearms and the wall.
- Slide your forearms up and down the wall, making sure they don’t lose contact
- Continue for 1 min.
There is also an alternative version of this exercise:
- Stand with your back firmly against a wall
- Bend your arms at a 90-degree angle at your sides with your palms facing outward
- With your back straight and forearms not breaking contact with the wall, raise your arms until your fingers touch overhead.
- Hold for 5 seconds
- Slide your arms back down while maintaining the bend in your elbow and contact with the wall.
- Keep going for 1 minute.
OTHER TREATMENT METHODS FOR GOLFER'S ELBOW
To have the best chance of treating your Golfer’s Elbow, you could also try some other treatment methods.
WEAR ELBOW SUPPORTS
And not just during the flexion and extension exercises. Currently, the best support options for Golfer’s Elbow are the EpiPoint and the EpiTrain.
The EpiPoint has an anatomically shaped, 5-point pad to massage the affected area and boost circulation there. You can also use its adjustable strap for easy repositioning and targeted relief.
The EpiTrain brace provides compression for improved circulation around your forearm, elbow, and upper arm. Our patented compression knit reduces swelling and accelerates the absorption of edemas, making this a great option for those with tendonitis. Additionally, the Epicon+ pads redistribute pressure away from the injured epicondyle and to the surrounding tissue so you can use your fingers and wrist with less strain and pain.
HOT AND COLD THERAPY
Ice packs can help reduce swelling and associated pain in the first 3 days after symptom onset. However, please note that you shouldn't apply an ice pack for longer than 15 minutes and to limit icing to 4 sessions a day. Ice packs are good for reducing inflammation, but they do so by constricting veins and arteries, reducing the blood flow your injured muscles need to heal.
Heat packs, meanwhile, open up your blood vessels. So, while they relax tensed and injured muscles, they aren’t great for inflammation. That’s why it’s best to apply heat packs after 3 days have passed since symptom onset.
Golfer’s Elbow happens because of overuse. So, a natural remedy to that is rest. We know it’s not exactly feasible for most people to not use one of their hands at all for a few days, but we recommend you aim to use it less and try to avoid activities that set your symptoms off. And keep in mind, you will still need to do the exercises to help improve your condition; keeping a limb still too long can cause complications like shortening tendons, bad circulation, and muscle weakness.
TO SUM UP
As it’s tendonitis that affects a very frequently used limb, Golfer’s Elbow can be an annoying and uncomfortable condition. Fortunately, most cases can be resolved through conservative treatment methods. Some rest, hot and cold packs, careful exercising, and the right support can go a long way to treating your Golfer's Elbow.
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