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Is Your Elbow Hurting From Your Golf Swing?


You heard that Golfer’s Elbow vs. Tennis Elbow?

Elbow pain is one of the most common types of injuries in golf, and commonly is related to how you release the club into impact. Interestingly, players of different skill levels will tend to feel pain in different parts of the elbow so a golfer can have both golfer’s elbow and tennis elbow! 

Let’s look at the difference between Golfer’s vs Tennis Elbow!

If your pain is on the outside of your elbow (closer to the thumb side), sometimes referred to as tennis elbow, that is lateral epicondylitis. Opposite of that, if your pain is on the inside, it is referred to as medial epicondylitis.


Now let’s look at when do you feel the pain in the golf swing?

If in your golf swing, you tend to compressed a lot into the shot with a forward lead, then you are more likely to have pain on outside of your trail elbow and inside of your lead elbow. 

If you tend to flip or scoop into impact, you’ll have the reverse effect; feeling pain on the inside of the trail elbow and outside of the lead elbow. 

These injuries are usually not caused by themselves. They are commonly a result of unstable shoulders that are not able to transfer the force properly causing the elbow and forearm muscles to absorb the impact directly. There may be other sources as well, depending on initial injury and sometimes nerve can also be involved depending on where the muscles got injured. If you feel tingling down the forearm with impact, then you may also have a nerve involvement with the tendon and muscles being inflamed.

Shoulder stability is very important in terms of transferring the forces down the kinetic chain to create good club head speed (because everyone wants to hit it farther!), so in order to have good shoulder stability, you will need to work on the scapular stabilizers - middle and lower trap muscles/ lats so your shoulder blade can be supported in the transfer of forces to upper extremity before going into your arm for impact.

Regardless of the source of the injury, if the tissue is unhealthy, chronic use of the elbow in your golf swing can cause more damage. A quick tip to try is - Try to feel around the elbow to localize the spot of pain or tenderness, then release that with a trigger point ball or tennis ball. After that, go through light stretching and make sure your elbow joint is able to fully extend and flex. If pain improves after, then you would want to strengthen the muscles as well as your shoulder’s stability so you can transfer the force more efficiently in the downswing to the club.

If pain continue to localized after light stretching and releasing with a ball, then it’s time to seek medical advice as there may be more underlying factors that could lead to the injury in your elbow tendons! You wouldn’t want to keep playing on that and cause more damage as injured tendons are at a much higher risk of tears if repetitive stress is exerted on it. There are many options for elbow tendonitis treatments - manual therapy, trigger point release, dry needling, active rehabilitation, shockwave therapy are all good options depending on the severity and cause of it!

So feel free to send us a message if you are experiencing pain in your elbow while you are on and off the golf course!

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