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Don’t Let Golfer’s Elbow Drive You Off Course It starts with a slight throbbing on the inside of your elbow, which gradually becomes tough to ignore. The pain radiates from your elbow down the inside of your forearm, possibly worsening with certain movements. You might have less grip strength or notice increasing stiffness, tenderness or numbness in the crook of your arm. Whether you’ve been on the fairways or not, these are the signs of golfer’s elbow. In fact, over time, any repetitive wrist movement such as turning a screwdriver or pitching a ball can cause it. According to Dr. George White, orthopedic surgeon and medical director of the all-new Hand to Shoulder Center, tennis players who put lots of spin on the ball, rowers and even weight lifters are apt to experience the condition as easily as golfers.

Treatment Options Usually, a combination of icing to reduce swelling and rest to allow the strained tendon to heal are all that’s needed. Dr. White advises avoiding the repetitive activity for a couple of weeks, supplementing this with a gentle ice massage and when necessary, a

prescription anti-inflammatory. Next-line treatments include iontophoresis, where a small electrical charge drives anti-inflammatory medicine into the tendon, and various elbow injections. Advanced new treatments like growth factor and stem cell therapy may also stimulate the body’s own restorative powers. When these approaches don’t work, surgery can effectively repair the tendon and remove some of the painful tension. However, Dr. White stresses that fewer than 10 percent of patients will require this.

An Ounce of Prevention… To prevent golfer’s elbow or keep it from recurring, Dr. White advises building forearm strength through targeted exercises, icing the area after exercise to reduce swelling, and taking an over-the-counter pain reliever on active days. Altering your form may also help; though this is a tougher prescription for golfers given common stroke mechanics. But most importantly, if you do experience pain, don’t ignore it – seek help from an orthopedic specialist. To learn more, visit HandShoulderCenter.com.

Dr. George White is board-certified in orthopedics and hand surgery.

He has 30 years of experience in treating problems from the shoulder to the fingertips, including more than a decade as one of Orlando’s top doctors. He has been named among the top 10 shoulder surgeons in the United States by Becker's ASC Review. Dr. White serves as the medical director of the Hand to Shoulder Center. The Hand to Shoulder Center is a new collaboration between Orlando Hand Surgery Associates and AdventHealth Orlando. The center brings world-class specialists in hand, arm, wrist and shoulder care to convenient locations across Central Florida.

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