Treating Trigger Points in the Wrist Flexors - Golfer's Elbow
Golfer’s elbow, also known as medial epicondylitis, is a form of tendinitis similar to tennis elbow
Golfing is one of many root causes of the condition, which in reality can occur from any activity where there is overuse of the muscles and tendons of the forearm.
Whilst the symptoms including pain at the elbow may be similar to tennis elbow, in the case of golfer’s elbow the pain and inflammation are experienced at the inside - medial side - of the joint.
The medial epicondyle is a bony prominence on the inside of the elbow. It is the insertion point for the muscles that we use to bend the wrist in a downward movement.
Forceful, repetitive bending of the fingers and wrist will often lead to tiny tears of muscle and tendon in this area.
As stated above, whilst the golf swing produces a tightening in the flexor muscles and tendons that can lead to this condition, there are many other work and leisure related activities that can cause it to occur.
Cause of injury
Sudden trauma or blow to the elbow. Repetitive stress to the flexor muscles and tendons of the forearm. Repeated stress placed on the arm during the acceleration phase of the throwing motion. Underlying health issues including neck problems, rheumatism, arthritis or gout.
Signs and Symptoms
Tenderness and pain at the medial epicondyle, which worsens when the wrist is flexed. Pain resulting from lifting or grasping objects. Difficulty extending the forearm.
Complications if Left Unattended
Golfer’s elbow, while generally alleviated by proper rest, can cause increasing pain and unpleasantness if the stressful activity continues.
The condition rarely requires surgery and responds well to proper rehabilitation. Should surgery be required, scar tissue is removed from the elbow where the tendons attach.
Avoid the work or leisure activities that are likely to have caused the condition. RICER regimen for 48– 72 hours following the injury. Use of anti-inflammatory drugs and analgesics where required and if prescribed by a physician.
Rehabilitation and Prevention
In the case of golfing, the affliction can be reduced in severity or prevented altogether through attention to proper technique and attention to overuse.
Golfer’s elbow is more prevalent early in the golf season, when muscles and tendons are not yet sufficiently conditioned.
Rehabilitation generally involves avoiding the painful activity for a period. Use of analgesics for pain and anti-inflammatory drugs help reduce symptoms.
Trigger Point Therapy
Most cases of golfers elbow are somehow associated with trigger points. Active trigger points may be part of the cause of the condition, or may become activated as a response to the condition.
Where trigger points are associated with the condition, these should be treated comprehensively to prevent reoccurrence of the condition and symptoms.
Many effective protocols have been developed. Most of these treatment protocols stem from elite sports and athletics where the condition is common and short recovery times are critical.
After healing, resistive exercises may be undertaken to improve strength.
Those suffering from golfer’s elbow generally make a full recovery without the need for surgery.
Typically the most important thing is for the injured elbow to be sufficiently rested. Dealing with underlying trigger points is key to preventing reoccurrence.
This trigger point therapy blog is intended to be used for information purposes only and is not intended to be used for medical diagnosis or treatment or to substitute for a medical diagnosis and/or treatment rendered or prescribed by a physician or competent healthcare professional. This information is designed as educational material, but should not be taken as a recommendation for treatment of any particular person or patient. Always consult your physician if you think you need treatment or if you feel unwell.
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