Golfer’s elbow is caused by a tear in the tissues of the muscles or tendons that are responsible for our ability to grip or in other words, close our hand. The muscles or tendons are not able to cope with the stress that is being put on them either by daily activities, commonly referred to as Repetitive Strain Injury, such as golfing, carrying heavy bags, pulling at the handbrake etc... It can also be caused by a traumatic event like a fall or unexpected pull for example when a dog makes a sudden tug on the leash.
Golfers elbow caused by Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI) / Microtrauma
The most common type of RSI is Golfer's elbow otherwise known as Medial Epicondylitis. Due to the nature of how the game is played, the swing of the club itself and the constant tugging on the muscles and tendons it is not a big surprise that golfers elbow affects many people. It falls under the category of Repetitive Strain injury and it is quite easy to understand why. During the course of one match a player will hit the ball in a repetitive pattern of motion a great number of times. This creates a concentrated strain on one part of the body that over the course of time accumulates and causes inflammation and pain in the area of the forearm. Whether you are just a beginner or an experienced player, Golfer’s elbow can affect you just the same. The most common trigger is increased activity from which ever level the individual is at. So for a beginner that can mean that you do a 100 swings at the driving range one day and for the experienced player it can mean that you are increasing your training for example to prepare for a tournament. The increased stress in an already sensitive and prone to injury area such as the wrist inevitably leads to inflammation which in turn causes pain.
Self Diagnosis of Golfer's Elbow / Medial Epicondylitis
The classical symptoms are pain commonly located around the bone knob on the inside of your forearm. Hold your hand in front of you palm facing up. Then feel with your other hand on the inside of your elbow. Press in to the soft tissues and you can feel the strings (tendons and muscles) that go from the bone knob down towards the hand. The classical symptom is right next to the bony knob but the pain can also be located further down your arm towards the hand. It depends on where the tear or strain has occurred. It can be either or both in the tendon and muscle. Often times you can have a few tender points that are all important to heal in order to get back to full capacity.
Another way is to check the angle of your wrist. Can you come close to 90 degrees both ways?