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Effective Exercise for Golfer's Elbow Reduces Pain

  • Published: 2014-08-20 (Revised/Updated 2016-03-07) : Author: Performance Health : Contact:
  • Synopsis: Simple exercise using inexpensive rubber bar effective at reducing pain associated with medial epicondylosis, or golfers elbow.
Medial Epicondylitis (Golfer's Elbow)

A condition that causes pain on the inner side of your elbow, where the tendons of your forearm muscles attach to the bony bump on the inside of your elbow. The pain may spread into your forearm and wrist. Golfer's elbow is similar to tennis elbow. But it occurs on the inside, rather than the outside, of your elbow. Non-specific palliative treatments include: Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs): ibuprofen, naproxen or aspirin. Heat or ice. A counter-force brace or elbow strap to reduce strain at the elbow epicondyle, to limit pain provocation and to protect against further damage.

Main Document

"The study involved 20 patients with golfer's elbow, a common condition that is characterized by pain on the inside of the elbow (medial epicondyle) and is aggravated by repetitive use of the wrist flexor muscles."

Researchers from the Nicholas Institute of Sports Medicine and Athletic Trauma in New York City found that a simple exercise using an inexpensive rubber bar is effective at reducing pain associated with medial epicondylosis, a.k.a., golfer's elbow.

"The success and popularity of the 'Tyler Twist' led us to develop and evaluate an exercise for golfer's elbow," stated Timothy Tyler, PT, ATC, lead research author. "The 'Tyler Twist', a novel exercise using the TheraBand FlexBar®, was shown to significantly improve strength and reduce pain for individuals with chronic tennis elbow. This new golfer's elbow exercise, dubbed the 'Reverse Tyler Twist', also employs a FlexBar and was found to be effective at reducing the pain for patients suffering from golfer's elbow."

The study involved 20 patients with golfer's elbow, a common condition that is characterized by pain on the inside of the elbow (medial epicondyle) and is aggravated by repetitive use of the wrist flexor muscles. As the diagnosis suggests, golfers are prone to medial elbow pain, but athletes in tennis, baseball and weightlifting also suffer with medial epicondylosis. Eighteen of the 20 patients were competitive athletes and 70% were golfers. All study participants had been unsuccessful in reducing their pain through conservative treatments such as medication, injections and physical therapy.

Each participant received an average of 12 physical therapy sessions over a six-week period.

The researchers used the Disability of Arm, Shoulder and Head (DASH) reporting scale to measure patient improvement. The DASH scale is a self-report questionnaire used by patients to rate their symptoms and ability to perform certain activities. The patients' DASH scores markedly improved by 77% over the six-week study period.

The researchers concluded that the Reverse Tyler Twist, when prescribed at three sets of 15 repetitions daily over six weeks, appeared to be an effective treatment in the majority of patients who had already failed a previous intervention for the disorder.

"Additional benefits of this treatment are many," concluded Tyler. "It can be performed as part of a home exercise program, it doesn't involve continued medical supervision or expensive equipment, and treatment dosage is not limited by the patient needing to come to a clinic. All of these greatly reduce the costs associated with treatment."

This clinical study, published in the International Journal of Sports Physical Therapy, adds further evidence that eccentric exercise can be effective for tendonopathies. Further research should evaluate longer term outcomes and compare the Reverse Tyler Twist to other therapies.

Exercises for Golfer's Elbow Video Clip:

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