It’s fair to say Kari Phenix has spent her life on the links.

“I’ve been playing since I was like two and a half years old.”

She’s now a club golf pro, helping others with their game.

“Always new that I wanted to be a golf professionally and got into the business and been a golf professional for 24 years.”

Years of swinging the club took a toll on Kari who developed pain inside of her left elbow.

“They diagnosed it as golfer’s elbow.”

Golfer’s elbow is a lesser-known cousin of the tennis elbow. Both are caused by inflammation of the tendons. While tennis elbow effects the outside of the joint, golfer’s elbow hurts on the inside.

“When you’re swinging a golf club, you start off um with your back swing and there is an acceleration phase…at about mid swing, during this acceleration phase, there’s a strain being put on the inside of the elbow because you’re dragging the the club with force and you’re rotating your wrist,” says Dr. Dennis Sagini, an orthopedic surgeon with the Lee Memorial Health System medical staff.

That wrist snap can result in a series of small micro tears, which are directly related to overuse.

“They don’t stop and those micro tears become bigger and the bigger tears become major tears and that’s when you can develop golfer’s elbow,” says Dr. Sagini.

Ice, rest and medications are the first courses of action. Severe cases, like Kari’s can require surgery, which cuts the tendon, removes the damaged section and re-attaches it to the bone.

“When the surgical procedure is performed it usually takes away the majority of the discomfort in other words it allows people to go back to their activities without significant discomfort,” says Dr. Sagini.

“I don’t have any pain, I was very fortunate with the surgery and haven’t had problems with my elbow,” says Kari.

With surgery behind her, Kari is back in the swing of things.

View More Health Matters video segments at leememorial.org/healthmatters/

Lee Memorial Health System in Fort Myers, FL is the largest network of medical care facilities in Southwest Florida and is highly respected for its expertise, innovation and quality of care. For nearly a century, we've been providing our community with everything from primary care treatment to highly specialized care services and robotic assisted surgeries.

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