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Golf elbow, like tennis elbow, is so named because it is often seen in people who regularly play the sport. This particular injury can also affect baseball players and is also called "throwers elbow" or even "little league elbow."  Inflammation on the inside of the elbow can affect anyone who makes regular swinging or throwing motions with the arm. Pain from the elbow up the inside of the forearm is the most common symptom of golf elbow.

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What are its distinctive symptoms?

After a person has overused an arm in golf, or some other sport or activity, they feel a pain traveling from the elbow bone up into the forearm. This pain affects the inside of the arm, and it becomes more severe when you make a fist. The elbow could become quite stiff. Also, many report they get a tingling sensation in their fingers and arm. As the wrist becomes weak, it makes it harder to grip objects. Rotating the wrist, or bending it down, cause pain. Contrary to what you might expect, a right-handed person might develop this problem in their left hand. People in the mid-30s and 40s are most likely to suffer from this injury.

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What are the common causes?

The injury has nothing to do with how poorly you pay a round of golf, but it happens due to repeated twists or bends of the wrist. The movements the golfer makes as they manipulate the golf club leave them prone to this kind of injury but it also occurs to those engaged in throwing sports such a basketball. Even the successive wrist and finger movements on the computer keyboard sometimes lead to a comparable injury.

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Rest is the best treatment

Since this injury happens due to overuse of the arm and wrist, logic suggests that rest is an essential part of the cure and medical science confirms this prognosis. Medical reports reveal that those who do not give the injured limb sufficient rest are at a much higher risk of developing a chronic problem that is much harder to treat. If rest requires a break from the golf course or a few days off work and away from the keyboard, the injured person must take the vacation.

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Physiotherapy can be very helpful

A skilled physiotherapist can help relieve the pain and inflammation that golf elbow causes. They use several treatment methods. The traditional approach relies on massages. Professional sports teams employ specialist physiotherapists trained to treat this kind of injury, and you can find them in private practice. Massaging the tendon reduces muscle tension and strain. The latest ultrasound and laser treatments also have an important role to play furthering the healing process by repairing damaged tissue.

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How long does the healing process usually take?

The answer to this question depends on the extent of the injury. Doctors' records reveal that in many cases that golf elbow heals within two weeks. However, these records also show that the problem could continue for months if the injured person ignores the advice about letting the injured limb rest. Lack of rest and effective treatment could also pave the way to the more serious and harder to treat the condition known as chronic golfer’s elbow pain syndrome.

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Is it better to apply cold or heat treatments?

In addition to that all-important rest ingredient, several traditional home treatments ease suffering. The application of ice packs is one of the most popular of these cures. Experts recommend you apply the ice pack every twenty minutes a couple of times per day. After three or four days have passed, use a heat retainer to apply heat to the injured arm. Heat improves blood circulation, and it is usually more effective than cold treatments for more serious golf elbow cases.

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Will bandaging the injured arm help?

Even though this is a golf elbow injury, some people find it helps to wear the elbow support that doctors call a "tennis elbow brace." The big advantage of this elbow support comes through the way it helps to reduce tendon strain. It eases pressure on the tendon by spreading this out across the muscles. Through lowering the tension on the area of the tendon that gives pain, the brace also makes it easier to cope with this injury symptom.

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How could medicines and injections help?

If the doctor is convinced that the inflammation and pain are particularly severe, he or she might prescribe ibuprofen or some other anti-inflammatory drug. MRIs and ultrasounds supplement physical examinations to show the extent of the injury and suggest the best treatment option. The doctor might even prescribe cortisone injections if the pain and swelling are even more aggravated and standard treatments fail to bring sufficient relief.

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How do I know this is a case of golfer's elbow?

Even when a dedicated golfer has elbow pain, it does not automatically follow that they have golfer's elbow. For example, upon further investigation doctors sometimes discover that this pain comes from a cervical spine injury. An injury to the neck joint (that medical science labels C67) produces a pain that easily is mistaken for golfer's elbow. A well-trained physiotherapist can find out if what appears to be a case of golfer's elbow comes from a neck injury.

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Tips for avoiding this injury

Experts recommend that you give your forearm muscles a good stretch before and after a game of golf, a long typing session or any other activities that involve repetitive actions. The stretch helps remove muscle soreness as well as reducing the chance of injury. People who work many hours at a computer keyboard claim that specially designed mouse pads with better wrist support reduce their golfer's elbow risk. Taking at least a five-minute break each hour is another good practice to follow.

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This site offers information designed for educational purposes only. You should not rely on any information on this site as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, treatment, or as a substitute for, professional counseling care, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have any concerns or questions about your health, you should always consult with a physician or other healthcare professional.