Golfer’s elbow, or medial epicondylitis, isn’t just caused by a golf swing. Excessive wrist use, gripping, throwing, and continuous work with the hands can also be a culprit. If you’re dealing with pain and inflammation caused by golfer’s elbow, stretches can help prevent, manage, and reduce the severity of symptoms. Keep scrolling to find the best stretches recommended by our physical therapists for those who suffer from golfer’s elbow.
With golfer’s elbow, the wrist flexor muscles that run across the forearm and connect the medial elbow (the inside bony edge of the elbow) to the front of the wrist and fingers are most affected. These muscles help bend or flex the wrist and fingers. This is why pain is most common on the inside of the elbow, similar to a tennis elbow injury. Here are some stretches you should try:
This exercise directly stretches the front forearm muscles that are most inflamed with golfer’s elbow. Thus, start gently with this stretch and never force it.
This stretch addresses the muscles in the forearm that attach to the opposite side of the forearm, the lateral epicondyle. While these muscles aren’t primarily affected with golfer’s elbow (like they are with tennis elbow, also known as lateral epicondylitis), general inflammation in the elbow can leave all the muscles of the arm feeling stiff and in need of a stretch.
This exercise is a stretch and massage combination move that can help loosen stiff wrist muscles. Grab a lacrosse ball to get started, either a single or double ball will work.
When the wrist, forearm, and elbow are affected by golfer’s elbow, it can also cause a lot of stiffness “up the chain” in the rest of the arm and upper body. Plus, secondary problems like poor posture and cervical nerve damage can perpetuate or aggravate elbow pain and inflammation as well. Thus, some basic stretches for the upper body can help a lot.
Chest and pec muscles get notoriously tight with poor posture and can affect nerve and muscle health in the rest of the arm when everything gets out of balance. Thus, regularly paying attention to your posture and stretching the pecs can help secondarily with elbow pain.
Stiff neck and shoulder muscles can compress nerves that innervate the elbow and exacerbate (or even cause) your symptoms. Try this neck stretch for better balance and pain relief.
Thoracic spine, or mid-back, extension will help to is the last optimizes your upper body mechanics and balance. Proper thoracic extension ensures the upper chain, especially the shoulder and elbow, can efficiently move without injury.
Follow these simple tips to maximize your stretching routine:
Always use your symptoms as a gauge for how deep and how often to stretch
Warm the muscles up first with heat, massage, and/or electrical stimulation as needed
Use additional support when returning to daily activities or swinging a golf club; such as, elbow taping or an elbow brace
When you are feeling comfortable with your stretching routine, it’s time to start adding in wrist strengthening exercises too with movements (like wrist flexion, extension, pronation, and supination with dumbbells). This will help further boost circulation for healing and overall wrist function. With a true understanding of golfer’s elbow and a balanced exercise program that includes both stretches and strengthening exercises, you can expect much quicker relief and fewer issues down the road. If you experience a sudden change in symptoms or they are not getting better within a week or two, get in touch with your doctor or another trusted healthcare professional for medical advice as soon as possible.
Sources:SHOP Golfer's Elbow
Next Pages:Golfer's Elbow Exercises