- What is golfer's elbow?
- How can I prevent it?
- How is it treated?
- How can I prevent golf related low back pain?
What is golfer's elbow?
Golfer's elbow is caused by forceful stretching of the ligaments that attach the forearm muscles to the inside of the elbow. It is similar to tennis elbow, which affects the outside of the elbow. The repeated stretching causes acute inflammation at the point of attachment of the ligaments to the bone.
'Golfer's elbow affects the inside of the elbow'.
How can I prevent it?
To help build up the muscles in the forearms, here are three simple exercises:
- squeeze a tennis ball: The simple practice of squeezing a tennis ball every day for five minutes will help to build up muscle strength in the forearms. It is an exercise that all golfers and racquet sports players should get into the habit of performing on a regular basis.
- wrist curls: To do this exercise you will need a lightweight dumbbell. Lower the weight to the end of your fingers, and then curl the weight back into your palm followed by curling up the wrist to lift the weight an inch or two higher. Perform 10 repetitions per day on each arm.
- reverse wrist curls: Again using a lightweight dumbbell, place your hands straight out in front of you, palm side down. Using only your wrist, lift the weight up and down. In order to limit the motion of the forearm you are exercising, hold it above the elbow with your other hand. Perform 10 repetitions with one arm each day and then repeat with the other arm.
How is it treated?
If Golfer's Elbow develops, the following treatment schedule should be observed until the injury subsides:
- apply ice packs to the affected area regularly.
- stop playing golf for several days.
- avoid moving the arm in such a way that it hurts.
- wear a support bandage or strapping to support the muscles of the upper forearm.
- take painkillers or other anti-inflammatory medication to reduce pain.
If the pain persists, or gets worse, after a few days rest, see your local GP for further assessment.
How can I prevent golf related low back pain?
Considerable pressure is placed on the spine and muscles by the stress of constantly rotating the back during a golf swing. Poor flexibility and lack of muscle strength can add to this stress.
Here are two simple exercises, which may help to strengthen back muscles and prevent injuries:
- rowing: this can be performed using some rubber tubing, or other flexible material. Firmly attach it to an object, which is shoulder-height and then slowly grasp the tubing and pull it towards your chest. Release slowly. Three sets of 10 repetitions should be performed at least three times a week.
- pull-downs: Again using the rubber tubing, kneel and hold the tubing over your head. Pull down slowly towards the chest, bending the elbows as you lower your arms, and then raise the tubing slowly over your head. As with the rowing exercise, three sets of 10 repetitions should be performed at least three times a week.
If you are a member of a gymnasium, the two rowing exercises outlined above can be performed on a conventional rowing machine.
And finally, one of the best and safest ways for golfers to prepare themselves for a round of golf is to engage in some simple, old-fashioned stretching exercises before hitting the fairway. They should also get a bucket of balls and do a few practice shots on the driving range or putting green.
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