Friday, July 20, 2018
Health

Mayo Clinic Q&A: Painful golfer's elbow isn't limited to golfers

GETTING RID OF GOLFER'S ELBOW

Earlier this spring, I developed pain in my wrist and on the inside of my elbow after a long weekend of golf. I iced the area for a few days, but the pain is still there when I move a certain way or try to lift anything heavy. Is it possible that I tore something in my elbow while golfing? At what point should I see a doctor?

The condition you're describing sounds like golfer's elbow. It's a common injury typically associated with overuse, and it isn't limited to golfers. Self-care measures often are enough to take care of the problem. But, because you still have symptoms after icing it for several days, it would be a good idea to see your health care provider for an evaluation. He or she can then determine if you need additional treatment.

The medical term for golfer's elbow is medial epicondylitis. It happens when muscles and tendons that control flexing of your wrist and fingers are damaged, often by too much stress or repeated stress due to forceful wrist and finger motions. Golfers may develop this condition when they repeatedly hit the ball incorrectly or use improper swing techniques.

In many cases, golfer's elbow requires only self-care at home. Rest from golf and other repetitive wrist and hand activities. Ice the painful area for 15 to 20 minutes at a time, three to four times a day, for several days. Take an over-the-counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug, such as ibuprofen or naproxen sodium.

When those measures aren't enough to relieve the pain, then it's time to see your health care provider. He or she may recommend that you wear a type of brace called a counter-force brace on the painful arm. That can reduce strain on your muscles and tendons. Your provider also may refer you to a physical or occupational therapy program that can teach you techniques to help ease your symptoms, as well as stretching and strengthening exercises. In the majority of cases, no further evaluation or treatment is needed beyond that point.

If pain is persistent, though, imaging tests may be necessary to assess the injury. A musculoskeletal ultrasound study or MRI can be used to evaluate if there's a tear in one of your muscles or tendons.

Additional treatment may include corticosteroid injections. Although they can help ease pain for a while, in general, these injections are not effective long-term. Another newer treatment is platelet-rich plasma injections. The goal of this approach is to help heal tendon damage and promote the growth of new, healthy tissue.

When pain lasts despite other treatments, more invasive approaches may be necessary. One option is called ultrasonic percutaneous tenotomy, or TENEX. In this procedure, under ultrasound guidance, a doctor inserts a needle into the damaged portion of the tendon. Ultrasonic energy vibrates the needle so swiftly that the damaged tissue liquefies and is suctioned away. If symptoms don't improve after thorough use of other treatments, then surgery may be an option to remove the damaged tissue.

Once your symptoms go away, take steps to prevent golfer's elbow from returning. Use weight training to strengthen your forearm muscles, and do stretching exercises before you go golfing to help avoid injuries. If you use older golfing irons, consider upgrading to lighter graphite clubs to reduce stress and strain on your wrists.

Don't play through pain. If you notice discomfort in your elbow or forearm, take a break. Finally, work on your golf form and swing. If you play frequently, ask a golf instructor to evaluate your form and correct any improper habits. Repeating a swing that has poor mechanics puts you at higher risk for another injury.

Bryan Ganter, M.D., Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Mayo Clinic, Scottsdale, Ariz.

Mayo Clinic Q & A is an educational resource and doesn't replace regular medical care. Email a question to MayoClinicQ[email protected] For more information, visit mayoclinic.org. © 2016 Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency LLC. All rights reserved.

Comments
When suicide threats come calling: ‘I try to make a connection.’

When suicide threats come calling: ‘I try to make a connection.’

TAMPA — At first glance, it’s a typical office with more than a dozen cubicles under florescent lights. The operators wear headsets and stare into computer screens, some tinkering with handheld toys, others browsing Facebook or chatting with colleagu...
Updated: 24 minutes ago
In the few weeks before school starts, experts offer tips on getting ready mentally and physically

In the few weeks before school starts, experts offer tips on getting ready mentally and physically

By the second week of August, public schools will be back in session across the Tampa Bay area. That may seem far off, but sleep experts say now is when parents need to start easing the kids (and themselves) into those early wakeup routines. The foll...
Published: 07/20/18
Sarasota man dies from infectious bacteria after eating raw oysters

Sarasota man dies from infectious bacteria after eating raw oysters

A Sarasota man died of an infectious bacteria after eating raw oysters.The bacteria, called Vibrio vulnificus, is often associated with eating raw or under-cooked shellfish or entering into warm coastal waters with exposed wounds.The 71-year-old Sara...
Published: 07/18/18
Updated: 07/19/18
Soy, almond ‘milk’ don’t come from a cow, so they may soon be called ‘drinks’

Soy, almond ‘milk’ don’t come from a cow, so they may soon be called ‘drinks’

NEW YORK — Soy and almond drinks don’t come from cows, so regulators may soon ask them to stop calling themselves "milk." The Food and Drug Administration is signaling that it plans to start enforcing a federal standard that defines "milk" as coming ...
Published: 07/18/18
Florida nursing homes have enough staff, numbers show. But the state has shortages in other areas.

Florida nursing homes have enough staff, numbers show. But the state has shortages in other areas.

In most places across America, nursing homes are facing an acute shortage of workers to take care of the country’s growing population of aging and disabled patients. But not in Florida. A Kaiser Family Foundation report published this month found tha...
Published: 07/17/18
So far, so good. Doctors at Tampa General find success with a device that fights often-fatal aneurysms

So far, so good. Doctors at Tampa General find success with a device that fights often-fatal aneurysms

TAMPA — Dr. Murray Shames holds a flexible, lightweight tube as wide as two garden hoses pushed together in his office at Tampa General Hospital. The polyester tube, and its thinner fastening branches with metal wiring, will be attached inside someon...
Published: 07/13/18
Updated: 07/16/18
Sunday Conversation: Sherry Hoback looks to move Tampa Family Health Centers to the next level

Sunday Conversation: Sherry Hoback looks to move Tampa Family Health Centers to the next level

TAMPA — Taking over for an administrator who has run a company for almost 20 years can be daunting. • But Sherry Hoback prepared for some time to replace Charles Bottoms as CEO of the Tampa Family Health Centers, a non-profit organization that operat...
Published: 07/12/18
Updated: 07/15/18
How can City Hall improve our health? A new push in Pinellas hopes to show the way.

How can City Hall improve our health? A new push in Pinellas hopes to show the way.

The charitable organization that owns a 20 percent stake in St. Petersburg’s Bayfront Health hospital is working with local governments to improve the public’s health, part of a strategy to make a difference in new and often subtle ways. The Foundati...
Published: 07/11/18
Updated: 07/12/18
New York organ collection agency, nation’s second-largest, threatened with closure

New York organ collection agency, nation’s second-largest, threatened with closure

The government is threatening to close one of the country’s largest "organ procurement organizations" for poor performance, a rare move against a nonprofit group that collects kidneys, livers, hearts and other organs used in transplantation.In a lett...
Published: 07/11/18
Retirement communities turn their sights on a once-invisible group: LGBT seniors

Retirement communities turn their sights on a once-invisible group: LGBT seniors

In 2016, as Kenneth MacLean was about to turn 90 and was looking to move to a retirement community, he had a question for Asbury Methodist Village in Gaithersburg, Maryland."I asked, ‘Would there be many gays here? Would gays be welcomed?’ " MacLean,...
Published: 07/09/18