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What Is Golfer’s Elbow?

What Is Golfer’s Elbow?
What is Golfer's Elbow?

Golfer’s Elbow The Lesser Known Sibling Of Tennis Elbow

Similar to tennis elbow, which occurs on the outside of the elbow, golfer’s elbow is a soft tissue injury to the inside of the elbow. Just as tennis elbow isn’t limited to tennis players, golfer’s elbow is not limited to golfers. Basically any situation sport or otherwise that requires the individual to who repeatedly use their wrists or clench their fingers also can develop golfer’s elbow.
With these repetitive actions may come injury to the soft tissues that clench (flex) your wrist and fingers. These muscles are attached to the bony bump on the inside of your elbow by a common tendon and it is where these muscles attach and slightly down from the attachment point that is the common site for golfer’s elbow to be painful.

Golfer’s Elbow Symptoms

Pain associated with golfer’s elbow may come on gradually or it may present suddenly. Similar to tennis elbow pain associated with gripping activities is the most commonly reported symptom. Simple things like shaking someone’s hand, opening a jar or turning a door knob can be quite painful with both golfer’s and tennis elbow.
Other Signs and Symptoms Of Golfer’s Elbow May Include:

  • Tenderness directly over the bony bump (epicondyle) on the inside of your elbow. Sometimes the pain may extend lower down the arm along the inner side of your forearm.
  • The elbow may feel stiff but most elbow movements will be pain-free. However it is common that there may be pain when the forearm muscles involved are stretched at the wrist.
  • Less commonly some people may also experience neck stiffness and tenderness, as well as signs of nerve irritation (including numbness or tingling that might radiate into one or more fingers).

Causes Of Golfer’s Elbow

Classic golfer’s elbow these days is thought to be associated with degenerative changes in the soft tissues located at the medial epicondyle. When singular or repetitive force is applied to the area beyond what the tissue can tolerate involving forceful wrist and finger motions golfer’s elbow may develop.
Improper lifting, throwing or hitting techniques in sport including training errors such as poor conditioning, progressing of activity load increases too quickly.
Golfer’s elbow is not confined to sport any activity that requires repeated gripping and bending and straightening your elbow can cause the condition, including hammering, painting, raking, chopping wood, cooking…

Who Is At Risk Of Developing Golfer’s Elbow?

You may be at higher risk of developing golfer’s elbow if you are:

  • Aged > 40 years old.
  • Consistently perform repetitive activities involving gripping for at least two hours a day.
  • A smoker
  • Obese

Disclaimer: Sydney Physio Clinic provides this information as an educational service and is not intended to serve as medical advice. Anyone seeking specific advice or assistance on What is Golfer’s Elbow? should consult his or her general practitioner, physiotherapist or otherwise appropriately skilled practitioner.

Hayden Latimer is the founder of and principle physiotherapist at Sydney Physio Clinic. Since graduating from Otago University, Dunedin, New Zealand he’s gained wide experience practicing across the globe for over 15 years and is now extremely knowledgeable in helping people reduce discomfort and restore function and mobility.


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