Golfer’s elbow is a condition that affects the elbow causing pain, swelling, and loss of strength. This condition is generally associated with overuse, hence the name ‘golfer’s elbow’. That is to say, that someone who plays a lot of golf and is constantly swinging their arm through the same motion, is significantly more likely to experience this problem.
If this sounds familiar, it’s because the condition has a lot in common with tennis elbow – which is likewise caused by overuse and likewise causes swelling and discomfort in the elbow.
Is there a difference? The slight difference is in the tendons that are affected. Technically, these conditions known as epicondylitis – or inflammation of the elbow tendons. Tennis elbow specifically affects the lateral (outside) epicondyle, while golfer’s elbow affects the medial – inside – epicondyle.
So, what can cause this condition? How do you know if you’re likely to be suffering with it? Read on and we’ll look at 8 of the most common causes.
What were you expecting? A common cause of golfer’s elbow is of course golf, and that’s due to the nature of the golf swing. When you swing the club with force, this requires you to swing it forward across the body, thereby requiring you to bring the arm inward. To do this, you’ll be exerting force on the elbow using the muscles, and that means you’ll be applying tension through the tendon.
The assumption here then is that playing lots of golf will lead to the problem. However in reality, a simple repetitive movement should not be enough to cause inflammation – so long as that movement is a healthy one and is performed correctly.
In the case of golf in particular, it is important to use an overlapping grip. This small change in position can actually have a huge impact on the biomechanics of the swing, and thereby help you to avoid pain and discomfort. This is called the ‘Vardon’ grip.
Not only does the vardon grip help the hands to move together as a single hinge, but it also helps to limit the amount of shock travelling down the medial side of the arm – by spreading it across both.