Both stretching and strengthening exercises are an important part of Golfers Elbow rehabilitation but should always be done pain free.
The following is for information purposes. We recommend seeking professional advice before attempting and rehabilitation.
Stretching is an important part of the rehabilitation process and should begin as soon as pain allows and be continued throughout rehabilitation program and beyond.
Neural stretch - The Ulnar nerve runs very close to the medial epicondyle (bony bit on the inside of the elbow). This may become trapped by scar tissue. A neural stretch as shown opposite may be beneficial in treating this.
Adopt the position as shown. The stretch can be increased by placing something under the elbow to raise it up, which increases the amount the upper arm is lifted relative to the shoulder (abducted), or pressing the hand further back. Hold the stretch for only 5 seconds, repeat 5 times and aim to stretch at least 3 times a day.
Wrist flexor stretch - The muscles specifically involved in the rehabilitation of Golfers / Throwers elbow can be stretched by placing the arm in the position shown in the photograph opposite. Hold the position for 30 seconds and repeat 5 times. Aim to stretch at least 3 times a day.
Exercises can begin as soon as pain allows but it is better to air on the side of caution and start later rather than too soon. Working the elbow too soon may just cause symptoms to return.
Static exercises should be done in the early stages to begin with before moving onto exercises which involve movement.
It is important they are done pain free. If you feel pain, stop and wait until such time as they can be performed without pain. Repeat the exercises daily and assess any effect on the elbow immediately after as well as the next day.
- Rest the forearm on a flat surface such as a table or bench with the palm facing up.
- Start with the wrist in an extended position (fingers pointing down).
- Use the other hand to resist as you attempt to flex the wrist. There shouldn't be any movement at the wrist.
- Start at around 30% of your maximum effort. Hold this contraction for 5-10 seconds and then rest. Repeat 5-10 times.
- Gradually increase the duration of the static contraction until you can manage 10 contractions of 10 seconds without pain
Dynamic exercises- When the static exercises can be completed comfortably without pain for a few days then move on to dynamic strengthening exercises. Do not rush. If the injury becomes painful take a step back.
Golfers elbow is an over use injury so don't over use it with the rehab exercises and end up back to square one. Less is often more in this case. Dynamic exercises can be performed using a light weight of about 1 kg or a resistance band. It is often a good idea to perform wrist extension exercises with the palm facing down as shown above first to ensure these are pain-free.
Wrist flexion - After this, you can try wrist flexion which specifically works the muscles involved in golfers elbow.
Rest the arm on a flat surface, with the forearm and palm facing upwards. Curl the weight up and down keeping the forearm and wrist still. Start with 3 sets of 10 repetitions daily and build up gradually up to 3 sets of 30 reps.