How to fix golfer’s elbow, an orthopedic surgeon explains

Golfer’s elbow, also known as medial epicondylitis, is a condition that causes pain and inflammation on the inner side of the elbow. It is typically caused by repetitive motions or overuse of the forearm muscles that attach to the inner side of the elbow. Here are some treatment options and self-care measures that can help in managing and healing golfer’s elbow:

Rest and activity modification: Resting the affected arm and avoiding activities that exacerbate the pain is important. Modify or avoid movements that put strain on the forearm muscles, such as gripping or lifting heavy objects.

Ice therapy: Apply ice to the affected area for about 15-20 minutes at a time, several times a day. Ice helps reduce pain and inflammation. Be sure to wrap the ice pack in a thin cloth to protect the skin.

Pain management: Over-the-counter pain medications, such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen or naproxen, can help alleviate pain and reduce inflammation. Follow the recommended dosage instructions and consult with a healthcare professional if you have any concerns or underlying health conditions.

Stretching and strengthening exercises: Specific exercises can help in the healing process and prevent further injury. Gentle stretching exercises for the forearm muscles and strengthening exercises to improve muscle balance and stability can be beneficial. It is advisable to work with a physical therapist or healthcare professional to learn the appropriate exercises and techniques.

Physical therapy: If the symptoms persist or are severe, a healthcare professional may recommend physical therapy. Physical therapy can involve various techniques such as ultrasound, massage, stretching, and strengthening exercises to promote healing and restore function.

Ergonomic adjustments: Evaluate and modify your technique or ergonomics in activities that may contribute to the condition. This could include using proper form and technique during sports, work-related tasks, or hobbies.

Gradual return to activity: Once the pain has subsided and healing progresses, gradually reintroduce activities and sports. Start with low-impact exercises and gradually increase intensity and duration.

Steroid injection or PRP: For those whom conservative treatments have failed, a steroid injection or a PRP injection can often provide long lasting relief. Here at Easy Orthopedics in Colorado Springs, we frequently see patients with golfer’s elbow

How do you get rid of golfer’s elbow fast?

The fastest way to get rid of golfers elbow is with an injection, combined with rest and activity modification. Steroid injections and platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injections are two potential treatment options that can be considered in cases where conservative measures have not provided sufficient relief. Here’s an overview of these interventions:

Steroid injections: Steroid injections involve the administration of corticosteroids directly into the affected area. Corticosteroids are powerful anti-inflammatory medications that can help reduce inflammation and alleviate pain. A healthcare professional, typically an orthopedic specialist or a sports medicine physician, performs this procedure. 

Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injections: PRP injections involve using a concentrated form of your blood’s own platelets to promote healing and tissue regeneration. The process involves drawing a small amount of blood from your arm, which is then processed to isolate and concentrate the platelets. The resulting platelet-rich plasma is then injected into the affected area. PRP contains growth factors that can potentially accelerate tissue repair and reduce inflammation.

How long does it take for golfer’s elbow to heal?

The healing time for golfer’s elbow, or medial epicondylitis, can vary depending on several factors, including the severity of the injury, individual healing capabilities, and the effectiveness of treatment measures. In general, golfer’s elbow can take several weeks to several months to heal fully. However, it’s important to note that complete resolution of symptoms may take longer for some individuals.

Mild cases of golfer’s elbow may resolve within a few weeks with proper rest, self-care measures, and conservative treatments. However, more severe or chronic cases may require a longer healing time and may necessitate a combination of treatments, such as physical therapy, injections, or other interventions.

Is it OK to lift weights with golfer’s elbow?

If you have golfer’s elbow, it’s generally advisable to modify or temporarily avoid activities that aggravate the condition, including weightlifting exercises that put strain on the affected area. Continuing to lift weights without proper management and modifications may worsen the symptoms and delay the healing process.

However, this doesn’t mean that you need to completely refrain from weightlifting. With appropriate adjustments, you may be able to continue strength training while minimizing stress on the affected tendons. Here are some suggestions:

Reduce weight and intensity: Decrease the amount of weight you lift and avoid exercises that directly stress the forearm muscles and tendons. This may involve reducing the resistance or modifying specific exercises to put less strain on the elbow, such as avoiding exercises that involve excessive gripping or forearm rotation.

Modify grip and equipment: Adjust your grip and hand positioning to minimize strain on the tendons. For example, using an open-hand grip or using equipment such as lifting straps or wraps to shift the load away from the forearm muscles can help alleviate stress on the affected area.

Focus on alternative exercises: Choose exercises that don’t aggravate golfer’s elbow and allow you to maintain overall strength and fitness. For example, you may consider exercises that target other muscle groups while minimizing forearm involvement, such as leg exercises or core workouts.

Warm-up and stretching: Prioritize a thorough warm-up routine before weightlifting sessions, including dynamic stretches for the forearm muscles and the entire upper body. This can help prepare the muscles, increase blood flow, and reduce the risk of injury.

Monitor and adjust: Pay close attention to your symptoms during and after weightlifting sessions. If you experience increased pain or discomfort, it’s essential to modify or avoid specific exercises that trigger or worsen the symptoms. Listen to your body and adjust your training accordingly.

I hope we were able to answer some of your questions about how to get rid of golfer’s elbow. If you would like us to evaluate your golfer’s elbow and are in the Colorado area, contact us below to make an appointment at Easy Orthopedics.

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