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Paul Frediani's Golf Flex
Paul Frediani's Golf Flex

Golfer Elbow

Also known in the medical profession as medial epicondylitis, and you can bet it means pain if the word ends in an itis, as in bursitis, tendonitis.

Golfer's elbow is a form of tendonitis. Tendons are the ends of muscles that attach to the bone. The medial epicondyle is the bony point where the muscles of the forearm that flex the wrist originate and where inflammation can cause pain down the forearm when gripping an object. This form of tendonitis is most commonly caused by overused tendons and/or improper technique.

The recommended treatment is r.i.c.e.: Rest, ice, compression and elevation. Taking an anti-inflammatory can be helpful if you have no ulcers or contraindication to this medication.

Fortunately, as an avid golfer you can afford to rest. Many that suffer from medial epicondyle are workmen that refuse to take time off. Refusing to rest can cause scarring and permanent damage. Although rare, surgeries are performed in about 10-15% of severe cases.

So lay down the golf club at the first sign of pain. Begin a regime of icing and stretching the forearm. A simple method to ice is to keep a small paper cup filled with water in the freezer. Gently message and ice your elbow twice day. Then stretch and flex your forearm by gently pressing your hand into flexion and extension.

Once the pain goes away, and it can take up to several months in severe cases, begin a strengthening program for your forearms. Squeezing a rubber ball, flexing and extending your hand with a 5 lb. weight, or the one I like, get a bucket of sand, stick your hand in it and grab handfuls of sand.

Also have a golf pro review your swing to insure your technique is not at fault. Make sure to stretch your forearms as part of your pre-game warm-up. Finally add overall body strengthening and stretching exercises.

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Paul Frediani

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