- Orthopedic (muscles, bones, injury)>
- Golfer's Elbow>
- Treatment Overview
Golfer's Elbow Treatment Overview
First steps to consider
- You can usually treat golfer’s elbow at home with ice, heat, rest, and ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin).
- Avoid activities that aggravate symptoms like repetitive wrist and finger motions.
When you may need a provider
- Your pain isn’t improving after trying home treatments for 1–2 weeks.
- You develop stiffness in the elbow or are unable to perform normal daily activities because of the pain.
Go to the ER if you have any of these symptoms:
- Your elbow is red, hot, and swollen with fever or other signs of infection.
- Severe pain with elbow motion.
- You injured your elbow and have severe pain or the elbow is out of place.
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When to see a healthcare provider
You should see a healthcare provider if your symptoms don’t improve after 1–2 weeks of home treatments or if your pain gets worse. Also see a provider if you have severe pain, or if you injured yourself and you have severe pain or your elbow seems out of place.
Golfer's elbow can usually be diagnosed based on your symptoms and a physical exam. Your provider may request X-rays to check for arthritis or other conditions that may cause pain in the elbow.
What to expect from your visit
- Physical therapy may be recommended to help stretch and strengthen the elbow, wrist, and finger muscles and tendons.
- NSAIDs may be prescribed to reduce inflammation and pain.
- A cortisone injection may be recommended for more immediate relief.
- Meloxicam (Mobic)
- Nabumetone (Relafen)
- Diclofenac (Voltaren)
- Celecoxib (Celebrex)
Types of providers who treat golfer’s elbow
- A primary care provider can treat mild to moderate symptoms.
- An orthopedic surgeon, who specializes in the treatment of muscle, bone, and joint disorders, may be needed if your symptoms are severe or treatments aren’t
How to treat golfer’s elbow at home
You can usually treat golfer’s elbow at home. Treatment includes applying ice or heat (whichever works best for you), resting your elbow for a few days, and taking OTC pain relievers. Symptoms should improve in 1–2 weeks, but it may take several weeks to go away completely.
- Apply a heat pack three times a day to relax muscles or an ice pack to reduce swelling and pain.
- Activities that require repetitive wrist and finger motion may aggravate symptoms.
- Take a break from activities like golf, racquet sports, weightlifting, painting, carpentry, and other activities that place stress on the muscles and tendons in the forearm, wrist, and hand.
- Taking anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) or naproxen (Aleve) can help.
- Topical NSAIDs like Voltaren can be applied to the area to reduce pain. Do not use topical pain relievers while also taking oral NSAIDs.
- Stretching the elbow, wrist, and fingers can help symptoms.
Wellness and prevention
- Use proper form when exercising and playing sports. You may want to take lessons (in golf, tennis) to help fix any form issues that may be contributing to your elbow pain.
- Avoid repetitive, forceful hand and wrist motions.
- Regularly stretch the muscles and tendons of the elbow, wrist, and hand.
- Rest your elbow if you feel pain.