Why Isnt My Golfers Elbow Healing
Some doctors think that the forearm tendon develops small tears with too much activity The tears try to heal, but constant strain and overuse keep re-injuring the tendon After a while, the tendons stop trying to heal The scar tissue never has a chance to fully heal, leaving the injured areas weakened and painful.
Most of the time, golfers elbow will go away without any special treatment But you should manage it like any other overuse injury: Apply ice to your elbow for 15 to 20 minutes three or four times per day Rest the injured elbow from aggravating activities.
One Size Does Not Fit All
Due to tennis elbow being more common than golfers elbow, there is a larger body of evidence for tennis elbow. What we know from research focused on tennis elbow is that education and exercise are beneficial. However, there is no consensus on exercise programming for tennis elbow! Despite clear benefits, the most optimal exercise intensity, duration, frequency, and type of load for the rehabilitation of lateral epicondylitis have not been established.
We can apply this same model to golfers elbow! It honestly depends on every single case of golfers elbow, but we will share a brief overview of what we have found to be successful for treating golfers elbow. Below we will cover various elbow, wrist, and hand exercises as well as other exercises we typically prescribe for golfers elbow. If you do not have access to a lightweight dumbbell at home, you can use your other hand for resistance with most of the exercises demonstrated. Be sure to watch the entire video and listen in for tips and tricks!
Should You Massage Golfers Elbow
With Cross friction massage, it can help you to recover from a golfer’s elbow much faster than just by resting. By applying it to the tendon, it can help to stimulate the healing process. Massaging the forearm muscles can also improve their function. It also decreases the tension on your inflamed tendons.
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Whats The Difference Between Golfers Elbow & Tennis Elbow
Golfers Elbow and Tennis Elbow are very similar conditions. The primary difference between the two is the location of the pain. As we discussed earlier in this article, Golfers Elbow is pain at the medial epicondyle . Tennis Elbow on the other hand is pain at the lateral epicondyle this is why it is often called lateral epicondylitis or lateral epicondylalgia.
Golfers Elbow affects the flexor tendons whereas Tennis Elbow affects the extensor tendons of the forearm. Both groups of muscles control the motion of the wrist, which is why doing gripping activities can aggravate the symptoms.
Treatment For Tennis Elbow
You can use a series of treatments to address tennis elbow at home, such as:
- Resting your arm.
- Avoiding activities that worsen the pain in the arm.
- Taking hot baths.
- Applying ice to the affected part of your arm for about 10 to 15 minutes.
- Taking anti-inflammatories or applying an NSAID cream to the area.
- Wearing a counterforce brace for greater support.
Once your pain has started to ease, your doctor may prescribe physical therapy exercises to help you stretch and strengthen the impacted area.
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Do I Need Imaging For Golfers Elbow
Imaging is rarely required for diagnosis of Golfers elbow. The diagnosis can be performed in-clinic by your physiotherapist. Common injuries with similar symptoms that your physiotherapist will exclude are: UCL sprains, or an ulnar nerve irritation.
When other issues may be suspected as well, MRIs are best suited due to the clarity of detecting soft tissue injuries.
How To Prevent Golfers Elbow
There are several things you can do to prevent golfers elbow. Among them are the following:
1. Warm up. Hand and arm movements and dynamic stretching will warm up your muscles and get them ready for physical activity, reducing the risk of injury.
2. Strength training exercises. Strengthening your muscles allows them to absorb some of the impact of repetitive movements, reducing the stress imposed on your elbow joint. You can do this with hand exercises and lifting free weights.
3. Use adequate equipment. Using sporting equipment thats too heavy for you will increase the stress on your muscles, joints, and tendons. If youre unsure about the best equipment to purchase, go to a specialty store or consult with a coach that specializes in your sport of choice.
4. Rest. No matter how careful you are when exercising, your body needs an appropriate amount of time at rest for muscles to recover from repetitive motion.
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How Long Does It Take To Recover From Tennis Elbow
It can take weeks, months or years for tennis elbow to heal completely. Recovery time may vary based on a range of factors, such as how bad your pain was to begin with and whether youve closely followed your doctors orders. The tendon usually heals over a period of six months to a year, but you can feel relief much sooner than that. Still, in some cases, tennis elbow can last for up to two years, even when you keep up with your treatment regimen.
To ensure the injury doesnt flare up again, you may need to take preventative steps, such as learning a new way to do an activity. You may have to change your grip or adjust your equipment so you dont reinjure yourself. Warm up properly before exercising to give your tendon time to stretch and become limber. Apply ice after you finish your activity to reduce swelling. Above all, remain patient. Healing takes time.
Healing Tendons Compared To Muscles And Bones: It’s Night And Day
The simple fact is, Tennis Elbow is a tendon injury and tendons heal slowly, by nature.
I know it can be a challenging thing to face and accept when youre in chronic pain, but thats the simple truth.
According to WebMD it takes 6-12 months to heal
Healing a tendon is nothing like healing muscle, skin or bone which have rich blood supplies, which means they can heal a lot faster.
Surprisingly, a broken bone, properly set and cast, usually heals at a much more predictable, steady rate Tendons very often dont.
If you have a moderate to severe injury it may still be possible for your tendons to heal
But, don’t worry, Im not about to make outrageous, unethical claims about how fast you can recover
Thats not to say you cant recover faster with the right treatment approach You certainly can.
Just don’t give up because the “common wisdom” and the “standard treatments” didn’t work!
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What Questions Should I Ask My Healthcare Provider
Here are some questions you might ask:
- I dont play golf. How did I develop golfers elbow?
- What is the treatment for golfers elbow?
- What can I do about the pain?
- Will I need surgery?
- How long do I need to rest my arm?
- Are there exercises I can do?
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Golfers elbow can be more than a nuisance that keeps you off the greens, away from the courts or off the job. Left untreated, golfers elbow could cause permanent damage like limiting your elbows range of motion, causing chronic pain and weakening your grip. Talk to your healthcare provider if you have persistent elbow pain. Theyll treat the pain and recommend ways you can take care of your elbow without giving up your favorite activities.
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What Are The Risk Factors For Golfers Elbow
Age, physical, occupational, and lifestyle factors play a role in the risk of golfers elbow. Common risk factors include:
Age older than 40
Athletic activities that involve repeated flexion of the wrist or forearm pronation
Direct injury to the elbow
Occupations or activities that require extensive use of the forearm muscles or forearm pronation including cooks, painters, construction workers, and jobs requiring a lot of computer work with keyboarding
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How Is Elbow Tendonitis Diagnosed
To diagnose your elbow tendonitis, your doctor will perform a thorough physical exam. The doctor will have you bend your arm, wrist, and elbow to see where the pain is located. Your physician will also determine if you also need tests, such as X-ray, MRI, or ultrasound, to diagnose your elbow tendinitis. how to treat tendonitis of the elbow
How To Fix Golfers Elbow
The first step in treating golfers elbow is to stop engaging in the activity that caused the injury. You can give up a hobby relatively easily, but if you believe your profession caused your pain, see your doctor to explore your options.
You can also use at-home methods to seek relief. Try the following:
- Apply Ice: Put ice on your elbow for 15 to 20 minutes several times a day. You should put a towel around the ice pack so your skin doesnt get damaged. Try using the ice to massage the inner elbow for a few minutes during each application.
- Stretch the arm: Ask your doctor for stretching exercises that can also strengthen your forearm. Loading the tendon can be the best way to ease the pain.
- Buy a brace: Wear a counterforce brace on the arm to decrease muscle and tendon strain.
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Natural Treatments & Supplements
Some people choose to try natural topical remedies such as castor oil and CBD oil. Castor oil contains ricinoleic acid, which has traditionally been used to treat a wide variety of ailments including inflammation. CBD oil also has anti-inflammatory properties. If youre going to massage your Golfers Elbow why not use these oils as well? They may help reduce your symptoms. Its important to remember however, that these oils alone will not treat the root of the problem.
There are many supplements out there that claim to heal tendons, maybe hundreds. And Im sure some of them truly do help! The issue with the supplement industry is that there arent many third parties testing the contents of the supplements. In other words there is no regulating body making sure that the Magic Tendon Healing Pills you bought have anything of value in them, or even have what they claim to have in them. The pill bottle can say it has one thing in it but in fact have something entirely different in it. Its the sad truth. However, there are reputable supplement brands out there so do your research!
Ive had many of my patients tout the benefits of taking collagen to help heal an injured tendon. This has good research backing it up as well. It makes sense, our tendons are made up of collagen fibers so what better place to get all of the components you need to make collagen fibers than collagen?
Symptoms Of Golfers Elbow & Tests You Can Do To See If You Have It
How can you tell if you have Golfers Elbow? Here are a couple of simple tests you can do at home:
Golfers Elbow can cause a variety of symptoms:
-Constant or intermittent pain on the inside of the elbow
-Constant or intermittent pain that radiates from the elbow up to the shoulder/neck or down to the fingers
-Feeling of fatigue or heaviness in the forearm and hand
-If the nerves that pass through the elbow become involved, you may also notice nerve pain or paresthesias (such as numbness or tingling in your fingers
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How Long Does Golfer’s Elbow Last Symptoms & Treatment
Depending on the severity of the condition, golfers elbow takes about 3-6 months to heal with nonsurgical management.
In minor cases, symptoms may improve with rest, pain medications, and home remedies such as ice application. If symptoms do not improve even after 6 months, surgery may be required. It may take another 3-6 months after surgery to fully recover from golfers elbow.
The Bad News: Theres No Tendon Healing Time Limit
The bad news is there is no statute of limitations on how long it can take to heal injured tendons.
Once tendon damage occurs, theres no guarantee that ANY healing will happen at all while youre resting, hoping and waiting.
Let me repeat that This is the most important thing to keep in mind, once you have an injury, because so many people fall for the myth that Time heals all wounds.
Just because time is passing DOES NOT mean that healing is happening
Even if youve completely stopped the activity that caused your Tennis Elbow!
Thats why the typical recovery time is all over the map and practically meaningless,
And why just resting and taking the lets wait and see approach is not a good strategy.
Even when the pain and other symptoms disappear for a while that doesnt necessarily mean your tendons have completely healed.
With a more serious injury, it could take well over a year to heal especially if many mistakes have been made treating it
Particularly if multiple Cortisone shots have been given. In my experience and research its the absolute worst thing to do.
Im sorry if I sound pessimistic, but Im trying to paint an honest picture.
There is no simple, easy, one-size-fits-all answer to How long is it going to take me to recover from my Tennis Elbow?
In a way, WebMD was right Patience does help Just not the blind, passive rest, hope and waitkind of patience
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Braces Tape And Compression Sleeves
Ive had many of my clients feel that their symptoms were caused by the nature of their job. Maybe theyre landscapers or perhaps they spend their days typing on a keyboard. Many people cant take enough time off work to fully heal from Golfers Elbow before returning to their job.
If this sounds like you, you may want to invest in a brace, strap, or compression sleeve. Or perhaps you would prefer to learn a taping technique. These accessories do not heal your injury but they do help reduce your symptoms and reduce the risk of further re-injury if worn during activities that you know aggravate your symptoms. For many people, wearing a brace is the only way they can continue to work while healing from their injury.
How do they work? Think of it this way if I fall down and break my leg the doctor will put a cast on it. The cast itself doesnt heal my leg but it does protect my leg so that I can go about my daily life without further re-injury. This allows my leg to heal as fast as possible. Braces, tape, compression sleeves and straps act in a similar way.
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Which Is Worse Tennis Elbow Or Golfers Elbow
Ask yourself which motions result in pain If it hurts to close your hand in a grip, you may have golfers elbow If it hurts to straighten your fingers, you may have tennis elbow.
Nonsurgical Treatment for Golfers ElbowActivity modificationCorticosteroid injectionsExtracorporeal shock wave therapy, an ultrasound-guided technique that sends energy waves to damaged soft tissues in the elbowIcingPain or anti-inflammatory medicationRange-of-motion exercises/physical therapy.
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Recovery Time From Surgery Benefits And Risks
There have been few studies into this surgery, but one small study found that patients experienced little or no discomfort following surgery. Of the 12 patients in employment before surgery, 11 could return to the same job within 8 weeks of the operation.
Doctors usually only recommend surgery when conservative treatments are ineffective.
As with all surgery, there are some risks, such as infection at the incision site. There is also the risk that the surgery will be unsuccessful.
The Secret To The Best Exercises For Golfers Elbow
There is a threshold where, if you apply just a tiny bit more resistance, youll aggravate the condition.
For me, that was five more pounds than 45 pounds for the deadlift. I felt it at 50 pounds.
So the plan was to always work just below that threshold, but to gradually move that threshold up over time.
This approach tricks the joint into thinking its still at the sub-threshold resistance, but you stealthily or sneakily increase the resistance over time.
The plan was to increase the weight in five-pound increments every week to two weeks . I knew it would be forever by the time I got up to 95 pounds, let alone 135.
But my reasoning was this: If I could get up to 135 without any tweaky feeling in my elbow, this meant that I was cured.
I used this same, small-increment approach to the farmer walks.
I did farmer walks every day at home, using combinations of five, three and eight pound dumbbells .
When I got up to 20 pounds per hand I reduced the frequency to three times a week, then eventually two at even heavier weight, then down to my usual once-a-week farmers walk when the amount of weight was back in the training range rather than rehab range.
It took at least 14 months before I felt I had licked this problem, but my standard was pretty high.
With that all said, I eventually conquered golfers elbow.
Remember, the offense is the amount of resistance, not the actual activity in and of itself.
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