You can take steps to prevent golfer's elbow:

  • Strengthen your forearm muscles. Use light weights or squeeze a tennis ball. Even simple exercises can help your muscles better absorb the energy of sudden physical stress.
  • Stretch before your activity. Walk or jog for a few minutes to warm up your muscles. Then take time for gentle stretching before you begin your game.
  • Fix your form. If you golf, ask an instructor to check your grip and swing technique. The golf swing is a whole-body swing, from the legs up. Sometimes, problems with your swing will cause you to use your wrist muscles more than you should, leading to overload. If you're using older golfing irons, consider upgrading to lighter graphite clubs.

    If you play tennis, ask an instructor to check your technique for serving or hitting a forehand. The design of the racket may play a role too. A racket with a small grip or a heavy head may increase the risk of elbow problems.

  • Lift smartly. When lifting anything — including free weights — keep your wrist rigid and stable to reduce the force transmitted to your elbow.

It's also important to know when to rest. At the first sign of elbow pain, take a break. In addition to self-care measures, time off is often needed to promote healing.

Oct. 09, 2012