The following tips can help protect your elbow from injury on the golf course:
- Ensure proper weight shift: poor weight shifting or limited use of the legs, hips and trunk may put more stress on the elbow. Poor kinetic linking from the lower body to the upper body can result in more strain on the elbow, as well as power leaks.
- Normalize the swing arc: adopt a flat or more elliptic swing plane. This will allow the hands to be kept at or near shoulder height during transition and at the completion of follow through. This allows the golf ball to be swept off the ground and may help to reduce the likelihood of injury.
- Remember, stronger grips lock the wrists and neutral grips only work if proper grip force is applied. Often, in an attempt to get more power and distance, there is a conscious attempt to hinge or cock the wrist and then rapidly uncock it through impact. This can create an inflammation of the wrist muscle tendons found in the forearm. This is the "misconception" of the delayed hit. What delivers the speed at impact is acceleration by a quick rolling of the forearms.
- Try not to do too much, too soon. The forearm performs repeated quick, forceful movements during the golf swing. During repeated swings, the arm may be subjected to too much stress, increasing risk for an overuse injury. Golfers should progress gradually in play time, duration and game frequency.
- Limit the amount of golf balls hit at the range. If you have an injury, consider teeing up ball shots to avoid taking divots.
- Use caution when hitting off of mats.
- Address any weaknesses in upper body strength and flexibility. Do exercises to build up your upper body to decrease stress and strain on the elbow and arm muscles. Strengthening exercises can be done in the off-season, as well, so a golfer is in good shape when getting back to the game.
- Increase the width of grips, change grip position. Oversized grips that are generally larger and softer help to reduce compressive forces and pressure when holding a club.
- Avoid "flicking" the wrists at ball impact.
- Golfers with a history of golfer's elbow can consider using a forearm band placed below the elbow to dissipate forces. (see photo)