Carson Robertson
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Lifting and Elbow Pain

Elbow pain can develop from lifting weights. Elbow pain can occur in the front, outside, inside, or in the back of the elbow. Usually elbow pain is caused by overworking a tendon insertion. This makes perfect sense to most people who lift.

Your goal is to work the muscle and tendons are hard as you can to fatigue. The stress and strain of lifting will trigger the muscles and tendons to get bigger and stronger. However, sometimes the activity overwhelms the body’s ability to heal, leading to injury.

Pain on the outside of the elbow is called lateral epicondylitis, while pain on the inside is medial epicondylitis. The lateral epicondyle is an attachment site from muscles that extend the wrist. Meanwhile the medial epicondyle is for wrist flexors.

Poor form is often attributed to causing elbow tendon injuries. Poor form on a bicep curls or letting the weight whip the wrist at the end of elbow extensions overwhelms the tendon. Slow and controlled movements reduce this strain. Look at people’s forms as excessive motion happens at the end points during pull ups, chin ups, rows, and pulls.

Form is important, as poor form quickly overworks the smaller muscle groups. Mild sprains and strains are a part of lifting. However, if the injury does not resolve quickly or begins limiting your workouts then treatment may be needed.

At home start with ice. Ice the sore muscle and tendon for 15 minutes to decrease pain and inflammation. Take the ice off for 15 to let the area warm up and bring blood to the injured area. Repeat this process several times a day. Some is good and more is better.

Work on your form. Have a friend check to see if there is something you are doing that is aggravating the elbow.

Lateral epicondyle or medial epicondyle braces can be worn to decrease the strain on elbow tendons while letting you continue lifting. Over the counter medications or topic treatments can be applied to decrease the pain and inflammation. Cortisone injections can be used to decrease the pain and inflammation, especially if the injury is becoming chronic. Massage therapy can also be effective at decreasing the pain and muscle spasms.

If the lateral or medial epicondylitis does not resolve in a few weeks then treatment maybe needed to decrease the pain, muscle spasms, inflammation, and speed the healing.

More information can be found for treating Lateral Epicondylitis.

Specific information and treatments for Medial Epicondylitis

Additional information can be seen here for Elbow Exercises and elbow stretches.