Wednesday, May 23, 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
Many cancer patients juggle care along with financial pain

Many cancer patients juggle care along with financial pain

Josephine Rizo survived chemotherapy, surgery and radiation, but breast cancer treatment wrecked her finances.Money was already tight when doctors told the Phoenix resident she had an aggressive form of the disease. Then she took a pay cut after goin...
Updated: 9 hours ago

Hernando County officials gather to remedy ‘dearth of services’ for youth with mental illness

BROOKSVILLE — Educators, court officials, law enforcement officers and health care professionals met Friday to identify the best ways to keep local youth with mental illnesses out of the court system and provide treatment for those already in the sys...
Updated: 12 hours ago
Give your arms a workout, too

Give your arms a workout, too

In addition to appearance, it is very important to maintain strength in those arms, as they are needed for practically every upper body movement we perform. We often take our 23 arm muscles for granted, until we reach a point where it suddenly become...
Published: 05/22/18
Intermittent fasting seems to be a good thing, new report suggests

Intermittent fasting seems to be a good thing, new report suggests

Going long hours without eating isn’t good for us, we are often told. Our bodies need fuel regularly. Otherwise, we may become lethargic, tired and hungry. Our thinking can become mushy, our ability to work, and even play, hampered.Not so fast.A new ...
Published: 05/22/18
U.S. approves first drug developed to prevent chronic migraines

U.S. approves first drug developed to prevent chronic migraines

TRENTON, N.J. — U.S. regulators Thursday approved the first drug designed to prevent chronic migraines. The Food and Drug Administration’s action clears the monthly shot Aimovig (AIM’-oh-vig) for sale. It’s the first in a new class of long-acting dru...
Published: 05/18/18
Know your blood pressure numbers? Today (May 17) is World Hypertension Day

Know your blood pressure numbers? Today (May 17) is World Hypertension Day

Today (May 17) is World Hypertension Day, and the American Medical Association is encouraging people to monitor their blood pressure levels and get high blood pressure, or hypertension, under control. High blood pressure, sometimes referred to as the...
Published: 05/17/18
Study: Depression in men may lower chances for pregnancy

Study: Depression in men may lower chances for pregnancy

Women having trouble getting pregnant sometimes try yoga, meditation or mindfulness, and some research suggests that psychological stress may affect infertility. But what about men: Does their mental state affect a couple’s ability to conceive?The la...
Published: 05/17/18
Tampa General Hospital named among top 100 in U.S., second best in Florida

Tampa General Hospital named among top 100 in U.S., second best in Florida

TAMPA—Tampa General Hospital was named one of the top 100 hospitals in America for the fifth consecutive year, and second best in Florida, according to one health industry website.Tampa General is considered the best hospital in the Tampa area, accor...
Published: 05/16/18
Joe Redner asks Florida Supreme Court: Let me grow marijuana now

Joe Redner asks Florida Supreme Court: Let me grow marijuana now

Even though a circuit judge has ruled that Tampa strip club owner Joe Redner can grow and juice his own marijuana, he was barred from doing so until the appeals process is finished.So Redner’s lawyers filed a petition with the Florida Supreme Court o...
Published: 05/15/18
Heated chemo is the key as Tampa General doctor tackles ovarian cancer

Heated chemo is the key as Tampa General doctor tackles ovarian cancer

Over the span of three weeks, Brenda Gotlen watched as her abdomen got bigger. Her lower stomach felt bloated."It got to the point that I looked nine months pregnant," said Gotlen, a 62-year-old Seffner resident. She made an appointment to see her pr...
Published: 05/15/18