What is Golfer's Elbow and How to Manage the Pain From a Golfer's Perspective?

So, you either have the symptoms of Golfer elbow or you are just curious. Well I thought I would write this article as I have personally had golfer’s elbow in both my elbows only last year.

In this article I am going to explain what I went through when I had Golfer’s Elbow, and how I treated it.  This is my own story, and hope it can help you out if you are in a similar position as I was.

Just to be clear if you think you have golfers or tennis elbow and the symptoms are mild, then over the counter pain relief and rest may clear the condition up in a few weeks. If however the symptoms persists it would be recommended to contact your doctor for a diagnosis

What is Golfers elbow?

This is a condition that causes pain in the forearm, it is actually called epicondylitis.

Please let me make it clear that I am not a doctor, and that I will only explain what happened to me, and what I did about my own Golfer’s Elbow.

Golfers Elbow is pain that resonates from the tendons of your arm to your elbow. It is a very common condition but the main reasons for getting golfer’s elbow is:

• Your age being between 30 and 40 years of age.

• Being overweight or a smoker
• Repetitive activity for prolonged periods of the day.

It is also possible to get golfer’s elbow by other means, so not sport related.   It can be caused because you are doing something maybe at work which is repetitive or even another hobby like for instance gardening.

The pain is pretty awful to be honest; it is really quite annoying.

I found the pain to be like a serious ache and had elements of some shooting pains, especially when I was picking something heavy up, and I felt I had lost a lot of power in the effected arm.

The pain did resonate in my wrist as well. If you are wondering if the pain will stop you playing golf then hopefully I can shed some light on the subject.

I managed to keep playing golf while I had this problem, I was able to manage the pain and will discuss what I ended up doing to achieve this.

Golf is my favourite sport I am always either playing golf, or at the golf range practicing. 

So, when I unfortunately had the symptoms of this ailment and had the pain in my arm and elbow, I could not believe it.

Since I have had the disorder, I found it quite annoying and sometimes I found the pain quite debilitating.

As strange as this may seem, at the time I had the pain in my arm I was also playing a lot of golf, but we had a little dog staying with us for a week, and it enjoyed fetching sticks, I would throw them constantly at the local field and following this I found I had the pain in my right arm.  

It has really played on my mind, as I know it is caused lots of little tears in the tendon, from maybe playing golf and this additional throwing action was probably just was too much for my tendon to cope with.

I am quite fortunate as my wife is an Occupational Therapist that used to specialise in this problem, and later in the article, I will inform you of the steps I took to ease the pain,  and how I managed to recover from having this in both of my arms.

Is Golfers Elbow the Same as Tennis Elbow?

It is pretty similar, except people with tennis elbow usually experience the pain and inflammation on the outside of the elbow, and the pain is generally in the front or the forearm region. 

A person with Golfers elbow will experience the opposite, so having the pain and inflammation on the inside of the effected arm and the elbow.

Why Does Golfers Elbow Seem to Hurt More in the Morning and at Night?

This did seem to have some bearing when I was struggling with this, and I seemed to struggle more in the morning mainly,  I felt that it was from sleeping and not moving the arm as much as normal, and the pain was from general stiffness.

Sometimes it would wake me up in the night as the pain was quite bad. Once I was up and about it would ease, but I would also use a epicondyle clasp which was recommended by my wife, which eased the pain.

Why use Ice or Heat Pads to Help Golfer’s Elbow?

When I was not using my clasp, I was able to find some relief was given to the elbow, by using a cold compress or a bag of frozen peas, which is what I used as the makeshift cold compress.

For some strange reason I would use the cold compress on an evening, and I would use heat in the morning. This was in the form of a heat pad that I put in the microwave. This was another coping mechanism I used to help to take the edge off of the pain, I have no idea why I did that, I just found it helped me.

Can you take pain relief for Golfer's Elbow?

Personally, I do not find that these really work for me, I am sure a lot of people benefit from using general over the counter medication. I would sometimes use paracetamol and ibuprofen which had limited success I found.

But try it and see if it helps your symptoms, I have a friend who is a golfer and currently struggling with the same issue, but what helped me, does not mean it is helping him.  So, please try different options to see what helps you.

Can Physiotherapy Help Cure Golfers Elbow?

Definitely give it a go if you have access to a physiotherapist, I went to see my Physio and was prescribed a range of exercises to perform at home.

Which at the time I didn’t really know if it helped. However, on reflection, I have recovered from the problem so I believe all the actions I have taken have helped heal the tendon.

I have searched YouTube and found a video of the kind of exercises I was asked to do, so give them a try.

What is an Epicondyle Clasp and how do you use it?

The Epicondyle Clasp I used was very similar to the one in the top image from Amazon, it is a plastic guard with a strap,  which has Velcro attached. 

It is strange to actually state what it does, but it eases the pain. I found that it did not get rid of the pain but made it around fifty percent less for me.

When you first put the device on, it feels quite strange and restrictive, but I found I forgot I was wearing it after a brief time.   

My wife informs me that it works by limiting the use of the tendon in the arm which helps constrain the tendons movement and its use and helps ease the pain. 

At the time like you I am guessing, I was searching the internet and found that Golfer’s Elbow can repair within six to eight weeks, that did not happen for me and carried on for much longer at over six to eight months.

Can Golfer's Elbow be cured?

Well the good news is, I had it in both arms and now it has healed. The short answer for me anyway is Yes, it has gone away.

As much as the clasp helped, I still went to my local doctor and ended up having a cortisone injection in both arms at different times. Again, this is not actually designed to cure the problem, but with the use of my clasp and taking things easier it went away.

If your pain and symptom’s do not improve your doctor may send you to a specialist to have an ultrasound scan. The Ultrasound uses actual sound waves which will produce an image to see what damage has been done to the tendon.

Does a Cortisone Injection Help with Golfer’s Elbow

When I went to see my doctor and they gave me the injection I was quite relived as it was a very small needle, as I am not the biggest fan of needles.

I found the injection procedure to be very pain-free.

After the injection it really didn’t seem to do anything at all for quite a while, but a few days later the pain seemed to ease significantly.

So, I believe the wearing of the clasp, the regular icing and heating the area, and careful exercise of the arm with exercises I was instructed to use gave the tendon the time it needed to repair on its own.

Conclusion

I hope the above account of what happened to me can give you some support, that other people are going through this awful Golfers or Tennis Elbow affliction. Also other have made it to the other side and been through it.  

Just don’t let it get you down, stay positive and try the ideas in this article and please let me know if it has helped.  Good luck as I know the pain you are feeling.