While golf may seem like it’s a gentle game, especially when you compare it to certain contact sports such as hockey or even football, golf still presents its own unique sets of physical demands. Really, the nature of the golf swing tends to lend itself to repetitive stress injuries. This sport is fun, but a golfer may suffer from golfer’s elbow, also known as epicondylitis, requiring the use of a golfer’s elbow brace in order to heal and recover. Epicondylitis can cause severe discomfort on the inner side of the elbow and even throughout the forearm. This condition is caused by repeated wrist flexion. Wearing a special elbow brace can help alleviate any pain associated with this condition while supporting strained muscle tendons.
The Truth about Epicondylitis
There actually many types of activities that can lead to golfer’s elbow, including racket sports, throwing sports, and even weight training.
As we mentioned, with golf, swinging or gripping the club too forcefully or incorrectly can end up taking a toll on your tendons and muscles.
With tennis, too much topspin can cause damage to the elbow, as can using the wrong type of racket, such as one that’s too heavy.
When it comes to throwing sports, poor pitching techniques in softball or baseball can be another culprit. Javelin, archery, and football can also cause golfer’s elbow.
If you use improper technique when lifting weights, such as curling your wrists as you lift, this can cause overload in the elbow tendons and muscles. Additionally, any movement or activity that requires you to repeatedly straighten and bend the elbow can lead to injury. This can even include using a computer, chopping wood, hammering, raking, and painting.
Signs and Symptoms You Need to Wear an Elbow Brace
This type of injury is often characterized by tenderness and pain located on the inner side of the elbow. At times the pain can extend along the inner side of the forearm, with the pain worsening with certain movements. Stiffness can also occur, especially when you try to make a fist. Additionally, your wrists and hands may have some general weakness. A tingling or numbness can radiate to some of your fingers, typically the ring and pinky fingers.
Golfer’s elbow pain can begin suddenly or over time. The pain can worsen when you swing a club, squeeze a ball, lift weights, shake hands, turn a doorknob, flex your wrist, or pick something up.
Meet with your physician if icing your elbow and over the counter pain medication do not reduce tenderness and pain.
You should seek immediate medical attention if your elbow feels inflamed and hot and you have a fever. Other serious signs to look for include the inability to bend your elbow, you suspect you’ve broken a bone, or your elbow looks misshapen or deformed.
Elbow Brace Design Options
A basic brace designed for golfer’s elbow features a thick strap that will tightly wrap around the forearm. The strap usually features a counter-pressure, shock absorbing pad designed to brace the strained muscle tendons. Velcro patches and a metal D-ring can provide a tight, secure fit. Other models are designed using compression material and a series of straps, designed to relieve pain and reduce pressure on the injured tissues of the elbow and forearm.
When applying the brace, the top edge of the strap should be placed a couple of inches below the crease of the elbow. The shock-absorbing foam pad should be positioned on the inside of the forearm. Next, place the end of the strap through the D-ring to fasten it against itself. The strap should feel secure and comfortable, but not too tight. If the strap is tightened too much you’ll risk cutting off circulation. The goal of the fit is comfortable pressure. If you’re not sure which size to choose, first measure the widest portion of your forearm and then take a look at the manufacturer’s size chart to determine the correct size.
To test out the brace, hold the forearm out with the palm placed face up. Now, make a fist. Try curling your wrist while you have someone apply resistance to your first. If you feel any pain this means that the pad will need to be adjusted. Be sure that the strap is pulled tight enough to provide support. If the pain continues, move the pad to the left or right until you find a position that will allow you to curl your wrist without any pain.
Our Elbow Brace Recommendation
While serious cases can lead to surgery and physical therapy, often, your physician will prescribe an anti-inflammatory and a golfer’s elbow brace.
If you’re required to wear a brace, we recommend the AZSPORT golf elbow brace. It’s specially designed for golf elbow injuries, but it can also be worn if you’re suffering from carpal tunnel syndrome or any other type of condition that causes extensive pain in the elbow and forearm.
This brace utilizes the latest technology that works to stabilize the muscles in the elbow and forearm. The brace works to improve circulation and helps to minimize muscle fatigue while preventing any additional strain on the tendons and joints.
How to Prevent Golfer’s Elbow
These following tips can help prevent an elbow injury the next time you’re on the green:
First, make sure you’re properly shifting your weight. Limited use of the trunk, hips, and legs can put more stress on the elbow.
Place a special focus on normalizing the swing arc, instead, adopt a more elliptic or flat swing plane. This allows the hands to remain near shoulder height during the transition when you follow through. This results in the ball being swept off the ground, while also helping to reduce your chances of an elbow injury.
Always remember that a stronger grip locks the wrists, while a neutral grip will only work if you apply proper grip force.
Limit the amount of balls you hit at the range, especially if you have an injury. If you’re injured, consider teeing up ball shots in order to avoid taking divots.