Lingering pain in your elbows can take the fun out of playing tennis and golf. But the more you play either sport, the greater your likelihood of developing prolonged pain in the form of tennis or golfer’s elbow. Thankfully, these conditions aren’t inevitable.
Board-certified orthopedic sports medicine surgeon Dr. Stephen Fisher and his team at offices in Cumming, Buford, and Braselton, Georgia, diagnose and treat elbow conditions to help you get back to the active lifestyle you enjoy.
Here’s a closer look at these conditions and simple ways to lower your risk.
The basics of tennis and golfer’s elbow
Golfer’s elbow and tennis elbow are similar injuries that cause tendon pain around your elbows. Tennis elbow affects the bony bump on the outside of the joint, and golfer’s elbow tends to affect the tendons in your forearm muscles.
In addition to pain, both conditions may cause:
- Tingling or numbness
These symptoms may arise fairly suddenly or develop gradually, over time.
How to lower your risk of tennis and golfer’s elbow
Preventing golfer’s and tennis elbow involves being smart about your physical activity and knowing when to call it quits — at least for a while.
If you’d like to lower your risk, consider these fives tips:
1. Warm up and stretch before exercise
Warming up with a few minutes of walking or jogging loosens your muscles enough to stretch without pulling or straining a muscle. A good warmup also increases blood flow to your joints, including your elbows.
2. Improve your form
Improper form when you’re playing tennis or golfing can lead to injury and pain. The same goes for other sports that involve repetitive elbow movements.
Proper golfing form involves some bend in your hips and knees and good balance, so you feel stable. Keep your feet shoulder width apart, avoid slouching, and bend forward from your hips until your sternum lines up with the golf ball.
For tennis, the specific form depends on the movements you’re making — but in general, aim to turn your upper body and hips as though they’re a single unit when you hit the ball. Good posture and avoiding slouching can also help.
3. Use the right equipment
If you play tennis, use a good-quality racket that’s the right size and weight for your body and abilities. For golf, consider upgrading to graphite clubs, which are lighter than traditional clubs.
Dr. Fisher may also recommend an elbow brace to alleviate ongoing or worsening symptoms.
4. Embrace proper lifting skills
On the court/course or off, always use proper form when lifting objects — from heavy packages and furniture to free weights and dumbbells. Keep your wrists stable and rigid while lifting to prevent harmful force on your elbows.
5. Prioritize sufficient rest
If you want to play hard, you need to rest hard, too. Overuse of your elbows is a leading cause of both tennis and golfer’s elbow, so don’t fall into the trap of thinking that more is always better.
Take breaks while playing, especially if you notice elbow discomfort. And if you play golf or tennis a lot, give yourself an occasional day off.
Treatment for an elbow injury
Sometimes it’s a little late for prevention. If you’re diagnosed with tennis or golfer’s elbow, Dr. Fisher and his team create a personalized treatment plan. Depending on factors like the severity of your symptoms and your overall health, your plan may include:
- Physical therapy
- Arthroscopic elbow surgery
- Ulnar collateral ligament reconstruction (Tommy John surgery)
Dr. Fisher can also talk you through ways to prevent additional symptom flare-ups.
To learn more about tennis and golfer’s elbow or to get the treatment you need, call the office nearest you or book an appointment through our website today.
We offer treatment for shoulder pain, shoulder injury, knee pain, ACL Reconstruction surgery, and more. Call us to book your appointment today.