Golfer’s Elbow vs. Active Release Technique

Golfer’s elbow is a very common side effect of stubbornly swiping away at the same ball over and over with a sand wedge trying to get it out of the hazard. No, golfer’s elbow’s technical name is medial epicondylitis, which afflicts the inside (close to body) of the elbow. Golfer’s elbow is often conflated or confused with tennis elbow, which is a very similar affliction to the outside of the elbow (opposite body). These injuries are hardly sport exclusive; in other words, many tennis players get golfer’s elbow and vice versa. Active Release Technique is arguably the most effective method of treating golfer’s elbow much like it is for most inflammation and deep tissue problems. Other methods of treatment typically are nonspecific in their manual application or they require invasive operation for patients whose pain is rather advanced. Active Release Technique (A.R.T.) is a noninvasive means by which to target the specific sources of discomfort in order to reset the elbow’s muscles in a way that will no longer produce pain.

Muscles to Target

A trained practitioner of Active Release Technique has absolutely no problem knowing how to deal with golfer’s elbow, so when you go in to see your physiotherapist or chiropractor, you can rest assured that you’re receiving the best known treatment. Part of their training prepares them to know exactly what muscles to target when patients walk in complaining about nearly anything, and given how often they treat patients with injuries as commonplace as golfer’s elbow, your practitioner undoubtedly knows what to do.

The muscles attached to the medial epicondyle are the muscles that need to be targeted to deal with golfer’s elbow, and a practitioner of A.R.T. knows precisely where these muscles are. The medial epicondyle is attached to a common flexor tendon, the flexor carpi ulnaris muscle, and the pronator teres muscle. The practitioner is going to focus on these muscles because they all hinge on the medial epicondyle. He or she always has a general understanding of how you likely incurred this injury due to how frequently these injuries occur. When it comes to racket sports like tennis in particular, you serve by jerking your arm through a forceful twist that turns the whole arm such that the palm faces downward or, straining even further, outward. This is a motion that strains the pronator teres muscle, and repeatedly carrying out this motion often over the course of years builds up scar tissue and serving on this muscle. The adhesions that result can also stick to the adjacent muscles.

A.R.T. Pro Tip

Using A.R.T., trained physical therapy can restore your elbow to its optimal rotation without pain. The technique allows its practitioner to digitally interfere with the build up of adhesions in the target muscles. Manually, they are able to break up pockets of scar tissue that have resulted from years of racket sports. The motion described earlier as a serve in tennis is effectually a pronation, which is a term that phonetically speaks to the purpose of the muscle A.R.T. practitioners would focus on in that situation. Their fingers dig into the muscles, feel where the adhesions are, and begin to separate these soft tissue knots that restrict range of motion and send sharp pangs of pain through the elbow.

A cool trick that those who know how A.R.T. works recommend may very well help to alleviate the pain resulting from your golfer’s elbow. This pain does not necessarily go away easily, but if you haven’t already been enduring the pain for a long time, you may be able to manually break up some of the budding adhesions yourself using a lacrosse ball. Place your hand on a wall upside down (fingers pointing to the floor), and place the hand just below waste level. Roll the lacrosse ball back and forth over these muscles below the elbow as you extend them by pressing the palm into the wall and pulling your body away from said wall. After rolling the ball around on these muscles for a while before raising the arm to about chest level, maintaining the hand’s same position so that you can stretch the muscles more tightly against the wall. Then, repeat the process. The effects of this trick are a bit more random than the acute targeting of a trained specialist, but if adhesions are few in number, this might help assuage discomfort by breaking them up.

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