If you’re an avid golfer, you’re bound to experience some level of wrist, hand or elbow pain. It’s part of an active game. But what if the pain you’re feeling is more than just the casual twinge after 18 holes? Persisting wrist, hand or elbow pain may be a sign of tendonitis.
Tendonitis is an irritation or swelling of the tissue that surrounds the tendons of the thumb, and is the most common wrist and hand complaint for golfers. There is often severe pain in the front of the wrist, and bending or extending the wrist is very painful. Tendonitis also occurs in a golfer’s elbow. This form of tendonitis inflames the tendons that attach to the inner or medial part of the elbow.
Tip: If you think you have this condition, make your hand into a fist and tuck your thumb inside. If the pain gets worse while doing so, you most likely have tendonitis.
Wrist and elbow tendonitis are typically caused by biomechanical problems, arm injuries, overuse and/or poor equipment. When one has pain and stiffness due to tendonitis in the elbow, the focus of the treatment should not be in the elbow region, but rather in the wrist region. By completely resting one’s wrist, the muscles in the forearm and their emerging tendons in the elbow region can also relax and begin to heal. Therefore, there is little treatment difference between wrist and elbow tendonitis.
Treatment for tendonitis consists of rest, splinting, ice massages and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medicines. If treated early, tendonitis should improve quickly. If these treatments fail, cortisone injections or anti-inflammatory medications may be used at your doctor’s discretion. Prolonged issues may require surgery.
Talk to your doctor if you suspect you may have tendonitis, or call the Bone & Joint Center for further diagnosis.