T Nation

Elbow Tendonitis From Lifting

Has anyone experienced tendonitis in their elbows as a result of lifting weights? I have been lifting for almost 8 years or so and never had a problem. All of the sudden in the last year or so, I have developed some tendonitis in my elbows.

More specifically, it flairs up when I do certain bicep movements (i.e. curls) and especially when I go pull-ups. Other than the obvious treatments (rest, ice, ibuprofen), is there anything I can do to treat it? I am already taking 6 caps of Flameout per day to help with the inflammation.

stop using your thumbs on your pull ups and the bicep curls for a bit. And stop the explosive lifts where you are locking out the elbows. A little bit of ice and massage on your forearm usually opposite where it hurts. See if you can find a tendor spot. You’ll be fine.

I developed elbow tendinitis from too many pullups. I started using bands to warm up, and the problem went away in a few weeks.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CTpJ7ruI12Y&feature=PlayList&p=52CC8FAEB5731852&index=11

I got a mild case of it from skull crushers and overhead dumbbell extensions. I started warming up with rope extensions and going light for a couple of weeks and smearing icey hot on my elbow and it kinda went away.

Drop

  • Dynamic upper body work
  • bicep iso work apart from hammer curls
  • skull crushers

Have multiple warm-up sets, and progressively increase the load.

Didn’t know about the thumbless pull-ups tip, I’ll remember that

I’ll share what I’ve found to work. Now, I’m by no means done with the problem yet, but I had crippling elbow tendon problems for a while with all benching variants. I now bench largely pain free, and have no real problems on anything else. Here’s what’s helped.

  1. Flameout, and massive doses of it. I’m talking like 12-16 caps a day. Yes, I’m serious. Yes it can get expensive. Yes it’s worth its weight in gold. I found that this led to a huge improvement over about a month’s time, perhaps slightly longer. Flameout is now a #1 supplement in my mind. At 16 caps a day you’d have to take about 80-100g of Walmart fish oil to get the same EPA/DHA.

  2. high rep curls, light weight—talking 25-50+ reps, done controlled manner. Not super-slow or anything, just not fast, to eliminate the “jerking” component on the tendons. Also high rep tricep work (band pushdowns/ rope pushdowns) done in the same manner.

  3. Upping healthy dietary fat intake. Certain lipids help lubricate joints, etc.

  4. Vitamins. This sounds odd, but I think it helped quite a bit. I think I was lacking a lot of essential nutrients and antioxidants. I helped the problem with regular multi-vitamins, but no that Superfood is out I’ll be taking that religiously because it has a crap-ton more antioxidant power.

  5. neural flossing movements (to relieve my nerve impingement, useful just in case that is a contributing factor), stretches and mobility exercises for all forearm and upper arm muscles, done religiously.

  6. forearm and upper arm warmup movements prior to any upper body work. Inside-Out Manual has a ton of good ones.

[quote]MizzouDawg wrote:
Has anyone experienced tendonitis in their elbows as a result of lifting weights? I have been lifting for almost 8 years or so and never had a problem. All of the sudden in the last year or so, I have developed some tendonitis in my elbows.

More specifically, it flairs up when I do certain bicep movements (i.e. curls) and especially when I go pull-ups. Other than the obvious treatments (rest, ice, ibuprofen), is there anything I can do to treat it? I am already taking 6 caps of Flameout per day to help with the inflammation.
[/quote]

It’s ironic since I’m dealing with elbow pain as well. I’m going to have my ART (Active Release techniques) therapist work on my elbow next week.

My elbow pain is on the inside of my elbow. It bothers me on curls but really gets aggravated on close grip rows. Is this same with you?

My pain also came on with my PC work- since my ergonomic mouse broke and I had to type on my laptop directly. Check how you type on your PC.

[quote]MizzouDawg wrote:
Has anyone experienced tendonitis in their elbows as a result of lifting weights? I have been lifting for almost 8 years or so and never had a problem. All of the sudden in the last year or so, I have developed some tendonitis in my elbows.

More specifically, it flairs up when I do certain bicep movements (i.e. curls) and especially when I go pull-ups. Other than the obvious treatments (rest, ice, ibuprofen), is there anything I can do to treat it? I am already taking 6 caps of Flameout per day to help with the inflammation.
[/quote]

I got tendinitis in both of my elbows a few months into lifting. I took a week off of any movements that put serious strain on my elbows and it went away.

I got a much more serious case of tendinitis in both of my knees during the Cross Country season. I took a few weeks off and thought that it had gone away. I started running again, and it came back worse than ever.

I went to the doctor and got ultrasonic? treatment… sorry, don’t remember what it’s called at all. They just put some gel on the area and rub it with a little bulb that emits waves for half an hour.

I went in and did this two or three times and then took another week off. The tendinitis went away.

TL;DR:
Ask your doctor for some ultrasonic treatment or whatever it’s called; where they put gel on the area and rub it with a wave-emitting bulb.

When you think it’s healed, take another week or so off. It will come back worse than it left.

work out with open grips for a week or two and then come back and thank me. Just don’t kill yourself on a bench.

[quote]ghost87 wrote:
MizzouDawg wrote:
Has anyone experienced tendonitis in their elbows as a result of lifting weights? I have been lifting for almost 8 years or so and never had a problem. All of the sudden in the last year or so, I have developed some tendonitis in my elbows.

More specifically, it flairs up when I do certain bicep movements (i.e. curls) and especially when I go pull-ups. Other than the obvious treatments (rest, ice, ibuprofen), is there anything I can do to treat it? I am already taking 6 caps of Flameout per day to help with the inflammation.

It’s ironic since I’m dealing with elbow pain as well. I’m going to have my ART (Active Release techniques) therapist work on my elbow next week.

My elbow pain is on the inside of my elbow. It bothers me on curls but really gets aggravated on close grip rows. Is this same with you?

My pain also came on with my PC work- since my ergonomic mouse broke and I had to type on my laptop directly. Check how you type on your PC. [/quote]

Yeah, mine is irritated on the inside part of my elbow. The excercises that aggravate it the most are pull-ups, preacher curls, and other bicep movements.

I’ll bet all of the above exercises you are doing with a closed grip putting stress on that tendon. Now go back and try those exercises with an open grip.

You can minimize the involvement of the flexor pollicis longus muscle. It’s a great trick.

[quote]kaeosali wrote:

Yeah, mine is irritated on the inside part of my elbow. The excercises that aggravate it the most are pull-ups, preacher curls, and other bicep movements.

I’ll bet all of the above exercises you are doing with a closed grip putting stress on that tendon. Now go back and try those exercises with an open grip.

You can minimize the involvement of the flexor pollicis longus muscle. It’s a great trick.

[/quote]

Cool. I will give that a shot. Thanks.

Fellow Mizzou alum here. Similar problems, however mine hurts on the lateral aspect of my elbow. Anything involving forearm extension or palms down pulling/curling hurts like hell. For a while I could hardly take a drink from a glass!
I’ve battled this for 9 months. Overdosing on fish oil, Motrin, ice, massaging it, wearing those ghey tendonitis straps, stretching the muscles, you name it.
I’ve overcome 4 disc herniations, 2 torn pecs, and a grocery list of injuries. This one has been the hardest one to shake. I may try the ultrasound therapy at some point.
Good luck.

Flameout, and avoiding full rom ( stopping short of full extension ). Making sure I wasn’t locking out my elbows, or anything that might hyper-extend the elbow. Staying away from anything that would make it worse.