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Tips for playing golf with golf elbow?


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I've been having golf elbows on my right elbow (I'm right-handed) for over 4 months now.  

I've been golfing for about 20 years with no elbow issue until now, I swing rather slow and rarely ever go to the range, and whenever I go to the range I only hit off the grass, never on a mat.  I also don't play often, averaging 3 times a month in the summer so I can't figure out how I could have caused this injury.

It started late last year, however I still played with it because it only became painful towards the end of the round so I've always managed to complete all 18.  However I stopped playing since early last December hoping to recover over the winter time.

I'm quite disappointed that it hasn't improve, it hurts whenever I lift something or use force on my right arm certain way.  

I'm going away in a couple of weeks on a golf trip where I'll be playing golf everyday for several days, I went to a simulator last week to get some practice and it started to be painful after swinging for about 10 minutes, I'm not sure how am I going to enjoy this trip with this pain.

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

 

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Stop. I wish that is what I did when it started. Now I have no idea when I will ever be able to play again because I let it go on for a long time. My problem is tennis elbow but very similar issue. If you already paid for the trip I guess go but I would stop until it heals after that. See an orthopedic dr and possibly go to PT. Acupuncture has also helped me. 

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12 minutes ago, Psyber said:

Stop. I wish that is what I did when it started. Now I have no idea when I will ever be able to play again because I let it go on for a long time. My problem is tennis elbow but very similar issue. If you already paid for the trip I guess go but I would stop until it heals after that. See an orthopedic dr and possibly go to PT. Acupuncture has also helped me. 

Did you rupture the tendon?  I've been dealing with golfers elbow for a few years but the pain hasn't got more intense, just always there during golf season.  

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Not sure the total extent of the damage as the orthopedic surgeon I saw said he is not sending me for an MRI yet because he thinks it would be a waste of money unless it doesn't improve after a few months of rest. Basically said it seemed like garden variety tennis elbow and it will go away on its own if I stop abusing it. I will probably try and change my swing to be less steep once I recover. I think a large part of my damage comes from taking big divots.

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3 minutes ago, Psyber said:

Not sure the total extent of the damage as the orthopedic surgeon I saw said he is not sending me for an MRI yet because he thinks it would be a waste of money unless it doesn't improve after a few months of rest. Basically said it seemed like garden variety tennis elbow and it will go away on its own if I stop abusing it. I will probably try and change my swing to be less steep once I recover. I think a large part of my damage comes from taking big divots.

I've heard there's not much you can do but (beyond not playing) ice it after playing and try to strengthen the area.  My doctor said short of surgery or completely changing my swing I'd just deal with the pain unless it really intensifies.  The pain is marginal I usually don't feel it except when I'm playing and right after practice or a round of golf.  

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Yeah and interestingly enough the pain goes down a lot by the back 9 as it really warms up. Then the next few days after is brutal. I started to finally give it real rest about ten days ago and started seeing an acupuncturist. It is improving day by day and I hope to start chipping in 4-6 weeks. We'll see how it goes. My whole life outside of work is lifting weights and golf so I'm pretty lost. I plan to start doing leg and core workouts starting mid next week and might even start putting today as that is basically zero impact on my elbow. Six weeks of putting a few days a week doesn't sound like much fun but we can all use some putting practice.

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1 minute ago, Psyber said:

Yeah and interestingly enough the pain goes down a lot by the back 9 as it really warms up. Then the next few days after is brutal. I started to finally give it real rest about ten days ago and started seeing an acupuncturist. It is improving day by day and I hope to start chipping in 4-6 weeks. We'll see how it goes. My whole life outside of work is lifting weights and golf so I'm pretty lost. I plan to start doing leg and core workouts starting mid next week and might even start putting today as that is basically zero impact on my elbow. Six weeks of putting a few days a week doesn't sound like much fun but we can all use some putting practice.

Hope it gets better, keep us posted and good luck

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1 hour ago, Psyber said:

Acupuncture has also helped me. 

Acupuncture?  I'll check it out. Thanks

Unfortunately I can't stop, I already paid for this trip last year, even before the golf elbow got really bad.  We organized our winter golf trip months in advance.

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It's more the deep tissue massage the acupuncturist does that seems to help than the needles themselves but combined with rest I am noticing slow improvements. 

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I know a lot of people who lift that come down with tennis or golfer's elbow. Lifting improperly or twisting during biceps curls seems to cause the injury. 

Maybe you should let it rest for a while including not lifting. 

Just my 2 cents. 

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  • 1 month later...

I would recommend keeping it taped as much as you can (for extra support) and focus on treatments as per above, that help increase the circulation to the area. Increased blood flow means more nutrients and more oxygen to help heal the soft tissue damage.

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I'd make sure you have the right shafts in your irons. When I had it symptoms disappeared and never came back after I got rid of the super boardy, vibrate my hands until it stung on bad shots shafts.

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It's basically a rsi and while shafts, divots and hitting off mats do make a difference the main component is still the repetitive motion and gripping which you cannot get away from when playing golf. Do not let these injuries get out of hand(...) as a prolonged golf/tennis elbow is very difficult to deal with.

 

Heres a few things that work:

Icing after activity

Supportive brace, only during activity

Locally applied gels for muscle/joint pain. These help with the inflammation but also relieve pain. This is particularly important as our body automatically stiffens up an area where we have pain to give it extra support. Also sometimes it might just be leftover pain which the gels generally clear up.

Stretching, wrist mobilization and massage. Wrist curls multiple times a day to get blood flowing into the area, don't go crazy with these though.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I had tendonitis in my right elbow about 20 years ago and after going to a number of DRs and getting Cortizone injections and getting expensive therapy sessions that offered little relief I simply stopped for playing for a couple of years.  After awhile, the condition went away and when I started playing again I went for a much more relaxed and sweeping motion than I had used in my swing before.  For the last 18 or so years ago since returning to the game I've been pretty free of any return of the problem.  If it did return at this point in time, I'd probably go to my acupuncture DR who has taken care of knee pain I recently had from using a treadmill without adjusting the incline.

Edited by Coronagolfman
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  • 1 month later...

My right elbow was pulsating as I read through the first 15 posts. I'm down with tennis elbow.

It turns out we have our own elbow ailment too :dance::

  • golfer's elbow: medial epicondolitis
  • tennis elbow: lateral epicondolitis

I've been overly vigorous this early summer, pruning trees with lopper shears rather than taking extra time to saw off bigger branches. And, I chopped through clay bare spots in the back yard to prep a fescue seed bed.The result is sore shoulders, wrists and elbows.

This came to a head nine days ago when playing in the local Amateur circuit event. A shot out of the rough on the first hole caused a twinge of pain in the right elbow. The right arm kept getting tighter. A shot out of the rough on No. 7 felt like an electrical shock for my right upper arm. I walked in and withdrew.

Went to the doctor, and he says I have tennis elbow. He gave me a blister pack of steroids, and instructions to take Aleve and ice it down. I'm not sure how long it will take to clear up, so I withdrew from remaining 2016 Amateur circuit events.

A couple of days before I went to the doctor the guys in our senior group diagnosed what the problem was. If one of them could write prescriptions, I could have skipped the doctor's visit.

I hit a few partial wedges at yesterday's Callaway demo day, but I'm not sure when I'll do full swing again.

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Besides the repetitive motion, another risk factor is age, I think.

I think there's a bit of a viscous circle involved with this problem. Contact with the ground (or thin contact with the ball) creates vibrations that irritate the nerve. Tight grip pressure creates stiff forearm muscles around the elbow that further inflames the nerve.

I think another contributing factor is whether you lean on the elbow at work / using a mouse (or maybe run a jack hammer).

I had golfer's elbow and found regular stretching of the forearms throughout the day to be very helpful. I also iced the elbow and forearm after range sessions. I also stopped resting my lead arm elbow on the car window sill on longer trips.

Helpful stretches (do throughout day):

Holding one hand out in front of the body and pushing into it with the fingertips of the offending arm

hand 8-285x285.jpg

Isometrically extending/spreading the fingers

finger stretch.jpg

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This post is killing me! I developed this yesterday and my game was finally shaping up nicely ?.   Is it possible to keep playing ? I played with horrible shoulder tendinitis in 2003? 

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