Elbow pain in lifters is a common and an especially frustrating occurrence, which can derail your goals, cause lost gym time, and create a great deal of misery.
Elbow pain in weightlifters is generally attributed to an overuse or inflammatory issue of the tendons, muscles, and other soft tissues around the elbow. Pain and symptoms can be at the inside of elbow (sometimes called golfer’s elbow), the outside of the elbow (tennis elbow), or on the back side of the elbow (triceps tendonitis). Additionally, peripheral nerves running through this area can also be over tensioned or compressed and create symptoms. If too much stress is locally placed on these areas, the tissues can become irritated and inflamed. Often the onset of symptoms happens with:
What are the most common complaints of lifter’s elbow?
What causes it?
The standard explanation is an overuse or over stress of tissues around the elbow as explained above. This can be the result, but not necessarily a good explanation of the cause. Predominantly, complaints of elbow pain and irritation are the symptoms of an issue that is happening upstream or downstream from the elbow. Similarly to the knee, the elbow is stuck between two other major joint areas. If the hip or ankle/foot cannot do their jobs due to mobility or strength deficits, the knee joint and tissues around it will have to “pick up the slack” and take on extra stress.
The elbow will act in a similar fashion if the shoulder and wrist/hand cannot meet the demands of the task imposed upon them. Examples of this include increased inside elbow stress if one lacks mobility in the shoulder, trunk, or wrist while in a front rack or catching a clean. Any activity involving a barbell or pull up bar will put the hands in a fixed position, The body must find a way to get into a shape to successfully perform the lift or task. If mobility is lacking in the wrist, shoulder, or even the spine, the elbow is prime candidate to bear the brunt of extra stress. This is an underappreciated component and many times why rehab programs that only address the local area without looking at the whole body are not successful
local structures of the elbow, but globally treating whole system and how to integrate the body together, allowing more efficient movement and improved distribution of forces.
If you are experiencing lifter’s elbow, don’t wait and hope it will go away. Contact ProFormance Therapy and Wellness today!
Kevin Steen, PTA
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