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In the zone

Tips to Prevent and Manage

Golfer’s elbow on the Course By Jamie Osmak, CSCS, USATF, CGFI-1 Golfer’s elbow is one of the most common golf injuries. Technically called “medial epicondylitis,” it is an inflammation of the tendons that attach our forearm muscles to the bone on the inside of our elbow. Pain and tenderness are usually felt on the inner side of the elbow but may also spread to the forearm and wrist. The following tips can help protect your elbow from injury on the golf course • Ensure proper weight shift: poor weight shifting, or limited use of the legs, hips and trunk may put more stress on the elbow. Poor kinetic linking from the lower body to the upper body can result in more strain on the elbow. • Avoid lifting the arms to high: adopt a flat or more elliptic swing plane. This will allow the hands to be kept at or near shoulder height during transition and at the completion of follow through. This allows the golf ball to be swept off the ground and may help to reduce the likelihood of injury. • Try not to do too much, too soon. Golfers should progress gradually in play time, duration and game frequency. • Limit the amount of golf balls hit at the range and use caution when hitting off mats. If you have an injury, consider teeing the ball up so you avoid taking divots. • Address any weaknesses in upper body strength and flexibility. Do exercises to build up your upper body to decrease stress and strain on the elbow and arm muscles. Strengthening exercises can be done in the off-season, as well, so a golfer is in good shape when getting back to the game. • If you tend to grip the club tight try increasing the grip size. Oversized grips that are generally larger and softer help to reduce compressive forces and pressure when holding a club. • Avoid “flicking” the wrists at ball impact. • Golfers with a history of golfer’s elbow can consider using a forearm band placed below the elbow to dissipate forces. • Jamie Osmak is a sports performance coordinator at HSS. Osmak is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist, Level 1 Track and Field Coach certified by the U.S. Track and Field Association, Level 1 Certified Medical Professional through the Titleist Performance Institute with a degree in Exercise Science from Rutgers University.

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