On Wednesday we learned what golfer’s elbow is, and the symptoms for it. We also learned that golfers are not the only people who suffer from this condition. There are a lot of causes, mostly stemming from overuse or repetition of a certain movement. But after you are diagnosed with golfer’s elbow, what happens next?
You actually have a substantial amount of options, it’s just a matter finding the one that fits your lifestyle best. The best thing you can do for yourself is rest up. Taking a break from the golf course, pitcher's mound, or yard work will benefit you tremendously. Once the pain subsides, you can slowly ease back into the game, but don’t try to get back to the grind too soon. That will only make your case worse. In addition to rest, it would behoove you to ice and massage your elbow for 15-20 minutes at a time, up to four times a day. This will allow the damaged tendon to feel soothing relief and begin to heal.
When the pain has substantially subsided you should consider consulting your doctor about approved stretches and strengthening routines to slowly ease back into activity without re-injuring your elbow. Your doctor may even recommend physical therapy, which would be helpful in learning how to retrain your muscles and tendon in your elbow work with you, instead of against you when practicing the perfect swing or perfecting your curve ball.
Ways to recover at home include wrapping your elbow with an elastic bandage or forearm strap and taking over-the-counter pain relievers.
In a worst case scenario surgery may be your best option if your condition worsens, pain is chronic and symptoms do not respond to conservative treatment.
Fortunately – if it’s not too late when you read this – there are ways to prevent golfer’s elbow. Strengthening your forearm muscles with light weights or squeezing a tennis ball will your help build your muscles that will enable them to better absorb the repetition of the activity you just can’t seem to give up. Also, I feel like a broken record saying this, but stretch before engaging in physical activity, or any of the aforementioned activities that can lead to golfer’s elbow. This can prevent almost any injury to your muscles and joints.
As mentioned earlier, a common reason many develop this condition is from improper form. Whether it is swinging a golf club, pitching a baseball or painting your bedroom a new color, incorrect posture can slowly and gradually lead to a case of this painful condition. The quicker it is corrected, the better your chances of recovering faster and stronger.
Always remember, when recovering from an injury related to overtraining or overuse, always play it safe and slowly ease back into it. By seeking medical advice and simply listening to your body’s needs, you can steer clear of this setback and continue doing the activities you love.