What is it/what happens to cause this issue?
Golfer’s elbow causes pain and inflammation in the tendons connecting the forearm to the elbow. The pain is centered on the bony bump on the inside of the elbow, and sometimes radiates into the forearm. It is generally caused by overusing the muscles in the forearm that allow you to turn your arm, grip, and flex your wrist. The action of repetitive flexing, gripping, or swinging can crate pulls or tiny tears in the tendons.
Golfer’s elbow is usually caused by overusing the muscles in the forearm that allow you to grip, rotate your arm, and flex your wrist. Any sort of repetitive gripping, flexing, or swinging can cause pulls or tiny tears in the tendons. Activities that may lead to this are not limited to golfing, and can include tennis, bowling, and baseball. People may also get it from using tools like hammers and screwdrivers, raking, or painting.
What does a typical treatment look like?
It is very important to get treatment for golfer’s elbow quickly in order to prevent more damage to the tendons. It is recommended to apply ice to your elbow for 15-20 minutes three to four times per day. Be sure to rest the injured elbow from activities that further aggravate it and and discuss getting a splint with your doctor to limit the stress that is placed on the injured tendons. You may be advised to take an oral nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (aspiring or ibuprofen) to help reduce pain and swelling. A topical medication may help as well. An injection of a corticosteroid or painkiller in the elbow to help relieve pain and swelling in the short term may also be recommended. However, these treatments do not have the long term benefits that physical therapy has.
Physical therapy can help in relieving pain and boost the recovery process. By using strategic pain relieving treatments, and specific prescribed exercises, stress to the elbow is reduced, recovery is faster, and the risk of recurrence is reduced.
Is there a recovery time before it’s gone or does it have lingering effects?
Conservative treatments generally work for golfer’s elbow. However, if you are still having pain after three to six months, surgery may be the next required step. These procedures can remove damaged parts of a tendon, promote faster healing, and ultimately reduce pain. Full recovery usually takes anywhere from three to six months depending on how severe the injury is, as well as other factors that include age, and level of activity.
What are the consequences of not treating it?
It is important to treat any of these symptoms and after treatment allow the elbow to rest. Ignoring this could lead to irreversible damage in your elbow, and ultimately lead to a disability.