Monday, January 16, 2012

How to Reduce Forearm Pain in Golf & Tennis?

Tennis and golf are so synonymous with wrist and arm injuries that terms like "tennis elbow" and "golfer's elbow" are part of the vernacular of these sports. Pain in the wrist and forearm are sure signs of injury and may require professional medical treatment. Fortunately, most sports and repetitive use injuries to the arm or wrist are not debilitating and may be treated at home.
The Carpal Bones
The human wrist is a complicated mechanism of eight bones called carpal bones that bridge the gap between the fingers and lower arm. The carpal bones are held in place with tendons and ligaments. The arrangement of these bones allows for a tremendous range of movement. A cushion of soft cartilage surrounds all the wrist bones, making the joints capable of smooth, gliding movements with minimal friction. Tennis, golf and similar sports exert strong, repetitive forces on the carpal bones, making the wrist vulnerable to injury.
Tennis Elbow
Tennis elbow is caused by an inflammation of the tendons that allow the wrist to move upward away from the palm. Tendons are essentially thick, fibrous cords which connect bone with muscle. These tendons experience high stresses during the backhand tennis stroke, during which the wrist is the source of power. Symptoms of this injury include pain along the forearm and behind the elbow. Discomfort is greatest on the thumb side of the forearm.
Golfer's Elbow
Like tennis elbow, golfer's elbow results from excess strain to the tendons in the wrist and elbow. In the case of golfer's elbow, the tendon running up the inside of the elbow becomes irritated. This tendon helps the wrist bend down toward the palm. Pain generally occurs along the underside of the forearm and the inside of the elbow. The technical name for golfer's elbow is medial epicondylitis, while tennis elbow is known as lateral epicondylitis. Despite the names, you don't have to play golf or tennis to suffer these conditions. Repetitive motion during work or play may result in overuse injuries.
Most cases of tennis elbow or golfer's elbow are preventable. Before playing at full speed, warm up the muscles with some light aerobic exercise. When the muscles are warm and pliable, perform a basic stretching routine. Bend the hand forward and backward to work the tendons. Amateurs suffer overuse injuries typically because of poor technique or muscle weakness. Resistance training at home or in the gym may safeguard against these injuries. A personal trainer may also point out the appropriate techniques and motions when playing racket and club sports.
Minor bouts of tennis or golfer's elbow should not require a doctor's care. To ensure speedy recovery from tennis or golfer's elbow, rest the affected limb and avoid any motions that cause pain. Apply ice two or three times a day for 20 minutes at a time. Over-the-counter pain relievers or anti-inflammatory drugs may reduce swelling and pain. If the pain becomes severe or you experience tingling or numbness in your hands, seek medical attention. Also, if the pain continues more than three weeks after the initial injury, see your doctor.

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