Golfers and Tennis Elbow and Simple Remedies
Anatomical position is standing with feet planted forward, arms extended beside the body with the palms of the hands facing forward. In anatomical position anterior is the front of the body with posterior being on the back side. The lateral side of the body is towards the outside edge. The medial side of the body is towards the inside edge. Moving up the body is moving in a superior direction while moving down the body is moving in an inferior direction.
Golfer’s elbow is a repetitive use injury of the tendon that directly affects the anterior portion of the arm below the elbow. The tendon affected is the one that attaches to the medial bone of the elbow. The tendon becomes inflamed with repetitive use. This more commonly occurs among golfers who maintain a tight grip on their golf club.
Tendons are extensions of the muscle belly. Muscles attach to bony landmarks of the skeletal system via tendons. Muscles that are overworked, tight and stressed transfer this tension into their extensions, the tendons. Therefore, tendons become inflamed as a direct result of tight overworked muscles. This is commonly referred to as tendonitis. Swelling, heat, redness and extreme pain to the touch are typical of tendonitis.
Tennis Elbow is just the same but opposite. Tennis elbow is a repetitive use injury of the tendon that affects the posterior arm below the elbow. The tendon affected is the one that attaches to the lateral bone of the elbow.
The repetitive backhanded grip of repetitive tennis strokes aggravates the muscles and tendons on the posterior portion of the lower arm.
Trigger Points, knots, easily form in overworked stressed tissues. Trigger Points place a painful pull on muscles, tendons and joints which can shoot pain down the lower arm. Over time this pain can become so debilitating that rest, massage therapy and hydrotherapy is necessary. It is imperative to healing to discontinue any and all aggravating activities as this condition will only become more debilitating with time. This will satisfy rest.
Other self-help tips:
Therapeutic massage should always be towards the elbow in order to prevent pulling the injured tendon away from that bone. Use a little lotion, just a little, to prevent pulling hair and tissue. Begin working the tissues around the wrist by warming up the tissues with gentle strokes and compressions. Use this technique all the way up the lower arm avoiding the attachment site and tendon. After your muscles are warmed up begin the next stroke by starting with a straight wrist then either flex or extend your wrist while stroking superiority up the arm while placing traction on the wrist.
If you are relieving golfer’s elbow then extend the wrist posteriorly while stroking the anterior portion of the lower arm superiority. With each stroke you want to flex the wrist back to a neutral position before repeating the massage up the arm. With each stroke up the arm you want to extend the wrist to create a deeper more effective deep tissue stroke. This maneuver uses the two opposing forces far more effectively than stroking an immobile muscle.
If you are relieving tennis elbow then just do the opposite. Begin with a straight wrist with the opposite thumb on the backside of your wrist. While stroking superiorly up the posterior side of your lower arm flex your wrist towards the anterior side of your arm. Repeat this stroking pattern using opposing forces for deep tissue manipulation.
While you slowly work your way up your lower arm look for knots. You will know if you have a knot if you find a noticeably tight spot that shoots pain through your arm like a bolt of lightning. If you find a knot then gently massage it to relax it. Keep this process up until you have relief. I will be posting an article specifically on Trigger Points, knots and how to properly release them. Be sure to work the palm of the hand as well as the fingers and thumb as the fascia and muscles connect to each other. You can gently pull on these digits as well as use compressions and deep strokes on the palm of your hand making sure not to pull and tug away from the site of inflammation and pain.
You can also use heat on this spot which helps relax the muscle and ‘melt’ the knot. Moist heat is very effective. You can use water as hot as you can handle without burning yourself or place a heating pad on that spot. You do not want to use heat on the joint or tendon at least in the beginning. Heat will further aggravate the tendon. Ice is better for this type of inflammation.