If you take a death grip on your club like so many golfers, you probably suffer from what’s often called “Golfer’s Elbow” or Forearm Pain. I know I suffer from this. One look at the grip on my driver is all the evidence you need to prove it. The grip’s surface is rubbed all the way down to the subsurface, and my golf glove has a corresponding hole where the thick pad of my hand has rubbed it’s way clear through with deathlike pressure. If I’m ever going to get better at this game, this “death grip” has got to stop!!!
I spoke recently with GolfGurls’ fitness guru, Kathy Ekdahl of PersonalBestPersonalTraining.com and she had a lot of good advice for me and for every woman golfer who suffers with the same issue.
You can listen to our conversation here (just click the play button), download your own copy, or listen at the GolfGurls.com Channel at iTunes.
If you’d rather read than listen, here’s a quick summary of our conversation.
Women don’t understand the importance of strong forearm strength. We don’t typically have a lot of upper body strength. When you don’t have good upper body strength you can have problems with grip pressure, and as we grow older, just opening a pickle jar can be a problem.
Doing simple exercises such as lifting free weights, will increase forearm strength and provide forearm resilience for a stronger grip. But a stronger grip doesn’t mean a “death grip.” In fact, gripping the golf club with greater pressure than is necessary can actually cause problems. These show up as tension in the muscles that stretch between wrist and elbow and are sometimes refer to as “golfer’s elbow” or “tennis elbow.”
Overuse on a computer, or in your garden or gripping a golf club too firmly will aggravate both the wrist and forearm msucles.
(Editor’s note: The pain showed up for me when I was working on a computer project for hours on end. Moving a mouse in tiny, precise movements. After hours without taking a break, my forearm was killing me. What had I done to cause this pain? I hadn’t moved any furniture, or lifted heavy weights. I was moving a small computer mouse!
But that’s all it took. Tense muscles, directing the mouse in tiny increments for hours at a time, caused more pain in my forearm than if I had I lifted ten 40 lb boxes!)
Bottom Line! Overuse = aggravating muscle and tendons! The pain is not in your elbow. It’s actually in the muscles and tendons in the forearm—the ones that tie in at the elbow. It’s muscles in the forearm pulling on the elbow that causes the ache.
So what do you do to ease the pain, and better yet, not cause it???
According to Kathy Ekdahl, it’s actually pretty easy to fix. The knots are in the muscle. By releasing the knots you can release the elbow pain.
Seek out a good massage therapist and have them dig out the muscles in your arm and shoulder. You can also do it yourself. Take your finger or thumb and place it on the meaty part of your forearm. You can feel that the muscles run vertically, from wrist to elbow. Dig in and use your fingers to massage, releasing the knots. Use your thumb across the muscles as well. It will take some time, but you should begin to feel some relief. You can also use heat to soften and release the muscles.
Here are the key points to follow when you feel the pain of “golfer’s elbow”
- Eliminate the activity that aggravates the problem— it that means taking a few days off from golf, so be it.
- Either get a massage of learn to massage the area with your own fingers and thumb
- Once the pain has lessened, do exercises to strengthen those muscles, i.e. free weights, squeeze stress balls, etc.
- And take breaks during the activity that causes the problem. Move away from the computer, find a quiet spot in the garden to sit and rest.
Remember strong muscles are resilient muscles that will prevent injury.
Have you ever suffered from this chronic problem? What did you do to relieve the pressure? Add your comments in the space below.