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Thread: Swimming and "golfer's elbow"

  1. #1
    Very Active Member ForceDJ's Avatar
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    Swimming and "golfer's elbow"

    Anyone have experience continuing to swim with "golfers' elbow" (aka: medial epicondylitis)? I've got a slight case of it...I don't play golf...I'm sure it's the result of swinging an axe to take out a couple of shrubs a few weeks ago. I've researched it on the web and all my symptoms point to it being golfers elbow. It's tendonitis at the inner RIGHT elbow (for right handlers) right where the tendon attached to that pointy bone on the inside of the elbow. I've been trying to self-treat it with massage, ice, and NSAIDs. It's not affecting my strength...YET. But it's not getting any better. Probably slowly getting worse. I'm not asking medical advice from the internet...I'm probably going to end up going to the doctor for it. Just wondering if anyone has had it, and if the pressure on your hand from swimming will make it worse?

    Dan

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    Re: Swimming and "golfer's elbow"

    Dan,

    I occasionally get this while doing backstroke because of the angles and the forces. When it is tender, I change my stroke a bit or lay off the power for a few days. If your freestyle catch is a very high elbow/early vertical forearm, you might be aggravating it a bit as well.

    If that is the case, adjust your catch to be deeper in the water and under your body (vs outside). This will eliminate some of the torquing on your elbow. Best thing is just back off the power and swim slower for a while - along with the self treatment you are doing.

    Good Luck!

    Paul

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    Very Active Member gull's Avatar
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    Re: Swimming and "golfer's elbow"

    Very familiar with this condition. Check out this link; I have shared it with some of my teammates at Longhorn Aquatics.

    http://drjuliansaunders.com/dodgy-elbows/

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    Very Active Member ForceDJ's Avatar
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    Re: Swimming and "golfer's elbow"

    Thanks for the responses guys. Good info.

    Dan

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    Very Active Member __steve__'s Avatar
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    Re: Swimming and "golfer's elbow"

    Had it for several months and it became bad enough to make opening a door painful. Got one cortisone shot (2012) and it has never returned. In my case I believe it resulted from improper stroke technique

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    Active Member Zwemmer's Avatar
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    Re: Swimming and "golfer's elbow"

    All very familiar to me, too, and thanks for that link, gull. For me it's been getting back to swimming after not doing it for 32+ years and finding out that breaststroke was the culprit. After really working my foam rollers, taking a bit of rest, and making sure my technique is good it has resolved itself. If it returns that link has all kinds of things I find to be very good advice.

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    Very Active Member ForceDJ's Avatar
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    Re: Swimming and "golfer's elbow"

    I'm knocking on wood for this...
    I did a 4-mile open water swim today and this evening the pain (not really "pain" but discomfort) is just about gone. Prior to today, my previous swim was a 2-miler last Friday. Maybe the RICE, NSAIDs, and self-therapy helped. Fingers crossed.

    Dan

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    Very Active Member mjtyson's Avatar
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    Re: Swimming and "golfer's elbow"

    I have this in my right elbow, along with arthritis, so the double-whammy.

    The thing that has worked for me is two-fold: Firstly, when I feel the pain coming up, I put on one of those semi-tight neoprene things that you can find in a CVS. It kind of "hugs" the elbow. I don't know if it works because it slightly limits mobility, or if it warms it up, or both. Ice never worked for me, although long swims in cold water (< 60F) seem to either numb the area so I didn't feel it or it reduced the swelling. Secondly, I found that if I do NOT use my arms for too long, say by skipping swimming or weights too many days in a row, the pain comes back more than when I am swimming or doing weights regularly. Unsure why that works for me, but it does.

    I really feel it after a long swim, like my Issyk Kul swim or after our Beavertail 10K+ swim. Then I feel it while reaching for things, like driving and reaching to adjust the a/c vents or volume on the radio. It is that reach that hurts the tendons/ligaments. I've felt it every once in a while during swimming, but that has always been when I've upped the yardage too much (like more than 10% per week).

    Good luck with the elbow.
    --Mike Tyson (yes, my real name)

    https://blogs.marathonswimmers.org/ironmike/

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    Very Active Member ForceDJ's Avatar
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    Re: Swimming and "golfer's elbow"

    Mike,

    Your discription of you specific pain makes me wonder if you might have epicondylitis vs. epicondylosis. My understanding is that the "-itis" is a tendonitis, and "-osis" is a growth of some sort in that area that is the root of the pain.

    Dan

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