Golfers elbow is a condition which causes inflammation over the tendons that connect the elbow to the forearm. It is also referred to as medial epicondylitis. The condition can affect anyone who continuously strains the wrist and forearm. This includes athletes, people who play golf, tennis, weightlifters, and baseball players. The most common presentation is pain when bending the wrist towards the forearm.
Below are some of the golfers elbow treatment options:
Rest the affected limb
The golfer’s elbow treatment’s initial option is to identify the activity, cause it, and temporarily stop it. Avoid returning to the sport too soon before pain relief as this can worsen the pain. If this is not effective other methods are incorporated;-
- Elevate your elbow to the level of your heart to prevent swelling.
- Use a splint to immobilize the joint until the pain reduces.
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen, acetaminophen, and naproxen are used to relieve inflammation and pain. Pain management is the primary principle of golfers’ elbow treatment.
Platelet-rich plasma injection involves drawing a small amount of your blood and injecting it into the tender area. It promotes healing by stimulating the growth of new, healthy cells in the damaged area. Corticosteroid injection also helps in the reduction of inflammation and therefore reduces pain.
Ice compressions; wrap the ice pack or crushed ice in a thin towel (to avoid damaging the skin), apply it over your elbow and inner forearm for 15-20 minutes four times a day. This helps in reducing pain and inflammation over the tender area.
Braces provide a counterforce and support to the elbow joint. It has a strap or band with compression, which helps relieve and take off the joint’s strain. This method is also used as a preventive measure for people at risk of golfer’s elbow injury.
Furthermore, light tissue massage using the tip of two fingers to the wrist and forearm area helps reduce pain and tension over the joint. Exercises stretch and strengthen the affected area. Therefore find out the most effective exercise and partake in them at least twice a day.
Ultrasound therapy involves exposure to high-frequency sound waves. It improves the circulation of blood over the affected area and promotes healing.
Extracorporeal shock wave therapy also uses sound waves to stimulate blood flow in the elbow joint and help tissue healing. Plus, it stops your nerve from perceiving the pain. This treatment modality has been shown to reduce pain for up to 2 years.
Acupuncture involves inserting needles into specific points of the arm. The purpose is to minimize pain perception.
It is the last resort in the treatment of a golfer’s elbow. It is carried out in people whose symptoms do not resolve within 6-12 months.
TENEX is a common and minimally invasive surgical procedure used in the treatment of a golfer’s elbow. It involves the debridement of scarred tissue under ultrasound guidance to promote healing and pain relief. Recovery after surgery may take 3-6 months.
Most people make a full recovery after conservative management. That said, it is essential to take the necessary precautions if you are at risk of golfers’ elbow injury.