Jock Doc

Golfing elbow usually requires physical therapy to prevent its return

Phil Mickelson stretches on the grass as his playing partners finish the 16th hole during the second round of the Texas Open golf tournament on March 28, 2014, in San Antonio. Regular stretching can help prevent injuries from golf.
Phil Mickelson stretches on the grass as his playing partners finish the 16th hole during the second round of the Texas Open golf tournament on March 28, 2014, in San Antonio. Regular stretching can help prevent injuries from golf. AP

Q. I play golf two to three times a week and have had pain on the inside part of my right elbow for two months. I rested it for two weeks, but when I went back to play it hurt even worse. I tried ibuprofen and it did not help. I want to know how to get rid of the pain. What should I do?

A. Pain on the inside part of the dominant elbow in a golfer is very common. This is the power arm and the golf swing results in a repetitive stress on the tendon that originates on the inner elbow. This condition is known as medial epicondylitis.

This area has a poor micro circulation and thus is very slow to heal. The initial treatment is usually an oral anti-inflammatory medication and physical therapy. A cortisone shot may give you relief, but if you do not rehab this properly and continue with the right work-out program, the symptoms are likely to return. Careful attention to proper swing mechanics is also important in injury prevention. I recommend you see an orthopedic surgeon or upper extremity specialist to confirm the diagnosis and get treated so you can return to pain-free sports.

Dr. Harlan Selesnick is team physician of the Miami Heat and director of Miami Sports Medicine Fellowship, Doctors Hospital. Send questions to HarlanS@baptisthealth.net.

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