Two weeks ago, I talked about the differences between golfer’s elbow and tennis elbow. I explained that they are both located in the elbow, yet they are on opposite sides of the elbow. Don’t let their names fool you, they are not necessarily sports injury related.
A lot of times these conditions are brought on by overuse of your arm, your forearm in particular. What causes tendonitis in your elbow depends on the movement involved and this will determine if it is golfer’s or tennis elbow.
When I was researching this subject, I came across a really good article. It got right to the point, there was no fluff, just the facts. The following are exercises and stretches listed, from this article, to help manage your symptoms.
Wrist extension (tennis elbow): Begin with your elbow at a 90-degree angle, palm facing down, resting on a table’s surface. Gently extend your wrist to lift it off the table (this should not be painful). Repeat 10 times. As you progress, you can add weight, like holding a water bottle, to add resistance and incorporate strengthening into the exercise.
Wrist flexion (golfer’s elbow): This exercise is similar to the wrist exercise above, but the palm is facing up. For the wrist flexion exercise, begin with your elbow at a 90-degree angle, palm facing up, resting on a table’s surface. Gently extend your wrist to lift off the table toward the ceiling (this should not be painful). Repeat 10 times. You can also add weight resistance to add strength.
Grip strengthening: For this exercise, all you need is a squishy ball or “stress ball.” Hold the ball in your hand and gently squeeze. Hold for five seconds, relax and repeat 10 times. This exercise is helpful for both tennis elbow and golfer’s elbow.
Strength exercise: Due to space constraints, look up the article at the source named below.
Wrist stretch (tennis elbow): Hold your arm out in front of you, palm facing down, and pull your hand and fingers back toward you using your other hand. Do so gently so as not to cause pain. This shouldn’t be painful, so if it hurts, pull more gently for a slight stretch. This should stretch your forearm. Hold for 30 seconds, relax and repeat three times.
Wrist stretch (golfer’s elbow): This exercise is similar to the one for tennis elbow, but the hand is inverted to the other direction. Hold your arm out in front of you, palm facing up, and gently pull your hand and fingers back toward your body using your other hand. Hold for 30 seconds, then relax. Repeat three times. You can do these stretches throughout the day.
When massaging the sore area of your elbow, the fibers of the tendons inflamed will run the direction of the length of the arm. So, there are two directions to make your strokes. The first is “cross fiber,” meaning you are going across the width of the tendon fibers. The second is “with fiber,” following the length of the fibers. Only go as deep as you can comfortably stand. Y ou might want to add a little oil to give some glide to your skin. The choice is yours. These strokes can be done with your fingers, thumb or heal of your hand other hand. You get to determine your choice by what feels best for you. Remember the tendonitis didn’t just show up overnight and it may take time to go away. When I had my tennis elbow, I dealt with it for about four to five months before it went away.
Source: 6 Ways to Manage Tennis Elbow and Golfer’s Elbow at www.chiropractic.ca/blog/6- ways-to-manage-tennis-elbow-and-golferselbow/.
Susan Santi is a certified massage therapist and owner of Ahhh Massage in Virginia, MN. Feel free to contact her with questions at 218- 410-2144.