Golfer’s elbow, or medial epicondylitis, is caused by overuse of forearm muscles and tendons, resulting in tears in tendons that attach to the humerus’s medial epicondyle. Symptoms include pain, tenderness, weakness, and stiffness in the elbow joint. Rest, physical therapy, and exercises are necessary for rehabilitation.
The initial steps include resting the affected elbow to allow tissues to heal, avoiding activities that aggravate the condition, and using ice and compression to reduce inflammation.
Physical therapy may involve massage, stretching, and ultrasound therapy to reduce pain and increase blood flow to the affected area. Exercises to strengthen forearm muscles and improve flexibility in the elbow joint are also prescribed.
Exercises for Rehabilitation of Golfer’s Elbow
Wrist Flexor Strengthening
- Wrist Curls
Wrist curls help strengthen the muscles in the forearm and wrist, which can reduce the pain and inflammation associated with a golfer’s elbow. To perform this golfer’s elbow treatment exercises, you start by making a fist with your palm facing down and bending your wrist down.
Keeping your wrist bent, you slowly straighten your elbow, so your arm is down at your side. Finally, you twist your fist out, so your palm faces out to the side, and you feel a stretch. This exercise should be held for at least 15 to 30 seconds and repeated 2 to 4 times.
- Reverse Wrist Curls
Reverse wrist curls strengthen the forearm muscles and tendons affected by the condition. This exercise involves holding a lightweight dumbbell before the body, with the palms facing down. The person then lifts the weight up and down using only the wrist and holds the arm being exercised at the mid-forearm with the other hand to limit the motion to the wrist.
- Pronation with a Dumbbell
To do this exercise, start by holding a dumbbell with your palm facing down to perform the exercise. Slowly rotate your wrist so your palm faces up, then return to the starting position. Repeat this movement several times, keeping your elbow and upper arm stationary throughout the exercise.
In addition to strengthening the muscles in the forearm, Pronation with a Dumbbell exercise can also help improve wrist mobility and flexibility.
- Pronation with a Resistance Band
This golfer’s elbow treatment exercises help reduce pain and inflammation in the elbow joint by stretching the muscles and tendons in the forearm.
Forearm Extensor Strengthening
- Reverse Wrist Curls with a Dumbbell
This golfer’s elbow treatment exercises help move the muscles of the wrist, hand, and forearm upwards, including the extensor carpi radialis brevis, the extensor carpi ulnaris, the extensor digiti minimi, and the extensor digitorum.
The exercise is performed by sitting on a flat bench and leaning forward, then grasping a dumbbell with an overhand grip and resting the forearms on either the bench or the knees. The weight is curled upwards using only the wrists, exhaling throughout the movement.
This exercise helps to strengthen the muscles of the forearm and can help to reduce the pain associated with Golfer’s Elbow.
- Reverse Wrist Curls with a Resistance Band
This golfer’s elbow treatment exercise can help improve grip strength, and because of the band’s tension, it can target and activate all the muscles in the forearm. To perform this exercise, the individual should hold the resistance band in a reverse grip with their palms facing down.
Then, they should allow the wrists to bend forward, dropping the hands and band toward the ground. Next, they should flex the wrist extensors and raise the hands as high as possible while keeping the forearms connected to the bench. Finally, they should slowly lower the hands back to the starting position and repeat until all reps are completed.
- Finger Extensions
Finger extensions extend the wrist and fingers while the elbow is bent to 90 degrees. It helps to stretch and strengthen the muscles in the forearm and wrist, which can help to reduce pain and discomfort associated with the golfer’s elbow.
The golfer’s elbow treatment exercises are performed by resting the arm on the thigh with the palm facing upwards. Then, use the free hand to help move the weight back to its original position. Repeat this set of exercises 10 to 15 times, and then take a short break before repeating it two more times.
- Hand Grippers
To perform this exercise, you should start by squeezing the hand grip with your thumb and middle finger to perform Hand Grippers exercises. Then, you should push only with your thumb, with your other four fingers wrapped around the bottom handle of the grip.
Afterwards, you should reverse the grip and exercise with four fingers wrapped around the top. Finally, you can place the grip inside one hand and squeeze for a whole-hand exercise; then reverse the grip inside and repeat the exercise. The squeezing motion helps increase blood flow to the area, reducing pain and inflammation.
Stretches for Rehabilitation of Golfer’s Elbow
- Wrist Extensor Stretch
Wrist Extensor stretch helps reduce the pain associated with Golfer’s Elbow and improves the range of motion in the elbow joint. To perform these effective golfer’s elbow stretches, start with the arm extended in front of you with the palm facing away from the body.
Using the other hand, gently pull the fingers back towards the body until a stretch is felt in the forearm. Hold the stretch for 15-30 seconds and repeat it 2-4 times.
- Wrist Flexor Stretch
This golfer’s elbow treatment exercise is performed by lying on one’s side and bending the knees up to hip level. With the hands together, the arms are extended straight out in front of the body at chest or shoulder height.
The top arm is lifted and moved towards the ground on the other side until a stretch is felt in the wrist flexor muscles. This exercise should be repeated two to four times and can be done daily to help reduce the pain associated with Golfer’s Elbow.
- Forearm Pronator Stretch
The Forearm Pronator Stretch exercise can help by stretching the forearm muscles and tendons damaged from overuse. This golfer’s elbow treatment exercise is performed by sitting on a chair or bench with the forearm resting on the thigh with the hand in the palms-up position.
Then, the person should hold a weight in hand and slowly lower it until they feel a stretch in the forearm. It should be repeated 10-15 times, with a short break between each set.
- Forearm Supinator Stretch
The Forearm Supinator Stretch helps stretch the muscles and tendons in the forearm affected by Golfer’s elbow. The exercise is performed by placing the affected arm on a table or the arm of a chair with the palm facing down.
The wrist should be bent, and the hand should hang over the edge. Then, the hand is lowered slowly before returning to its original position. This exercise should be repeated 10 to 15 times and repeated twice after a short break.
To sum up, rehabilitating a golfer’s elbow requires a combination of exercises and golfer’s elbow stretches that target the affected muscles and tendons. Some practical exercises include wrist extensions, reverse wrist curls, and pronation and supination exercises.
Stretching can also help alleviate pain and improve flexibility, with stretches such as wrist flexor stretches and forearm pronator and supinator stretch proving effective.