Arm and hand pain: Stretches for golf elbow

Arm pain, Elbow pain, Hand pain, Stretches, Stretching (Active Isolated method), Wrist pain / Saturday, May 1st, 2010

The grip on the golf club when addressing the ball flexes or bends the wrist, bringing the little finger side of hand closer to the forearm. That action uses the ulnar wrist flexors that attach the pinkie side of the wrist to the inner elbow (medial epicondyle of the humerus), flexing and deviating the wrist to the pinkie side often for a long time during prep. The golf swing deviates the wrist to cock it to the thumb side for a short time. The following stretches use the Active Isolated Stretching protocol that I teach patients in my Neuromuscular Therapy center near Boston.

Ulnar wrist flexor stretch #1: Turn your hand so that the palm faces the floor. Extend your arm straight out in front of you (any angle is ok). Raise your fingers toward the sky and pull back on the palm with your opposite hand, especially the pinkie side. Actively stretch for two seconds, then relax your wrist. Repeat 10 times. To be more effective, cross your hand over so your fingers can grip the fleshy pad on the pinkie side (hypothenar eminence). Pull that side back so you are twisting and extending the wrist at the same time.

Ulnar wrist flexor stretch #2 (deviation): Hold your right hand palm down (pronated) with your elbow at your waist. Place the palm of your left hand on top of the back of the right hand with your fingers wrapped around the fleshy pad (hypothenar eminence) and your left thumb on the inner side of the right wrist (thumb side) for leverage. Bend the hand toward the left, bringing it closer to your waist, keeping the wrist straight in line with the forearm so it stretches the pinkie side of the wrist. Actively stretch for two seconds, then relax the wrist. Repeat 10 times. Repeat on the opposite arm, reversing the hand position.

The tighter the grip on the shaft, the more the finger flexors are contracted. Keeping your grip relaxed will prevent strain of the finger flexors.

Finger flexor stretch #1: Turn your hand palm up with your arm extended out in front of you. Reach your fingers back away from the inner wrist toward the floor. Pull back on the fingers with the opposite hand and actively stretch for two seconds. Repeat 10 times.

Finger flexor stretch #2 (individual fingers): Using the same protocol as finger flexor stretch #1, pull each finger back individually. The more it pulls or hurts, the more that specific finger needs to be stretched.

This is a series on arm and hand pain. If you missed the beginning, go back to the “Checklist of Causes.”