T Nation

Golfer's Elbow

Had this bugging me for a couple months now, minor tendinitis on the inside of one elbow. I took a week off when it started, didn’t help at all. So kept lifting, stretch it daily and ice it almost every day for a half hour, take 10 grams of fish oil and 1600 mg ibuprofen every day, but it’s not getting better. Not real painful, but just annoying, and I think it’s holding my pullups back, and that’s my number one training goal right now. Any suggestions?

I had this problem. With the help of my girlfriend and a little research I got rid of it. Golfers elbow has two main points of inflamation by the elbow or wrist.

Where is the main inflamation coming from?

The process involved me taking a month off lifting that side of the upper body. The second month I could lift and the pain slowly went away. The exception of a few exercises I was able to lift full force after the first month.

You can get golfer’s elbow type of inflammation from doing pull ups if your form is off and you create too much tension on the inside portion of the elbow.

Really the best thing to do would be to avoid doing anything that irritates the area…ie pull ups…and make sure to ice the area and take the ibuprofen or naproxen.

After the inflammation goes down and there is no longer any pain in the area I would suggest doing some moderate forearm exercises- of not only the forearm flexors but the extensors as well (some wrist curls/revers curls).

But rest, ice, and anti-inflamatories are key. You don’t have to stop lifting, only stop certain lifts for a bit. Then afterwords slowly start working back into the pull ups or do chin ups as a potential substitution. But don’t just keep pounding through the pain with what ever exercise you think it is that started the problem.

I have dealt with lots of tendonitis in my elbows…it seems to be a place where I am prone to developing it.

When I catch it early I treat it with ice 20 min on/20 off continuously until I get tired of icing it. I take 600 mg ibuprofen 3-4 times a day, and I stretch it constantly. Forearm and bicep stretches at least once an hour. I also foam roll my upper arm, inside of the elbow, and forearm where there is pain. This usually works for me and gets rid of it in a couple of days.

One time in my left arm I did not treat it right away and tried the “rest and see” method as prescribed by doctors (thanks, Doc). This did not help it that much and it kept nagging me until I tried eccentrics.

There is an article on this site about eccentrics that the author used for tricep tendonitis where he did a tricep pushdown with both hands and then lowered the weight (performed the eccentric) with only one hand. This allowed him to use a weight eccentrically that would have hurt to lift with the injured tendon, but the eccentric motion wouldn’t cause pain. After doing 3 sets of 15 reps 3 times a week for a couple of weeks he noticed a big difference.

I tried these and also noticed a huge improvement. I credit eccentrics with fixing the majority of my tendonitis issues. Don’t use a weight that is really heavy to start out with.

For bicep-related tendonitis I do one-arm cable curls but lift with both arms and then slowly (5 counts) lower the weight. I do 3 sets of 10-15 reps and increase the weight as tolerated. I also would perform upper body work that could aggravate it, like pullups and rows, as heavy as tolerated.

I know that is really long, but I have dealt with tendonitis issues and I know how frustrating they can be. They don’t always heal quickly and any way to move the progress along is really helpful. To recap:

Ice, ibuprofen, avoid most direct arm work unless the pain is very mild and continue with compound movements AS TOLERATED. Stretch, foam/lacross ball/tennis ball/whatever roll out the injured area, and do eccentrics. I hope it works out for you.

Do you do soft tissue work?

I had it once and i found the trigger point in the triceps.

Does it stop hurting if you exercise it? If so it’s tendonitis not tendinitis.

[quote]plateau wrote:
Does it stop hurting if you exercise it? If so it’s tendonitis not tendinitis.[/quote]

…Well if you exercise a sore muscle, will that stop hurting? … Indeed!!

[quote]Blacken wrote:
I had this problem. With the help of my girlfriend and a little research I got rid of it. Golfers elbow has two main points of inflamation by the elbow or wrist.

Where is the main inflamation coming from?
[/quote]

Inner elbow, right one only.

[quote]Varanid wrote:
You can get golfer’s elbow type of inflammation from doing pull ups if your form is off and you create too much tension on the inside portion of the elbow.

Really the best thing to do would be to avoid doing anything that irritates the area…ie pull ups…and make sure to ice the area and take the ibuprofen or naproxen.

After the inflammation goes down and there is no longer any pain in the area I would suggest doing some moderate forearm exercises- of not only the forearm flexors but the extensors as well (some wrist curls/revers curls).

But rest, ice, and anti-inflamatories are key. You don’t have to stop lifting, only stop certain lifts for a bit. Then afterwords slowly start working back into the pull ups or do chin ups as a potential substitution. But don’t just keep pounding through the pain with what ever exercise you think it is that started the problem.

[/quote]

Thanks for the advice, the pain is very minor, but like you said, pounding through it (i.e. I have still been doing pullups for the three months since it started) has simply led to zero progress on the pullups, and the problem is not going away.

Strange though, I tried EZ bar reverse curls yesterday and didn’t notice it.

See a chiroprator
I swear

I’ve been lifting for about 5 years now. Ive had aches in my left elbow for the last 6 months. It doesnt hurt when i lift at all…i have full range of motion and strength only it hurts aches the next day and will last up to a week. Ive ultra sounded it a whole wack of times as well as ice therapy and the whole bit.

I read the article on eccentric work being a cure and Im hoping to god it is. However every doctor ive seen about the issue hasnt been able to identify the problem or whether its actually tendonitis. any thoughts or ideas?

Along with the other fixes above, Cissus might not be a bad thing to try for a month. I used it on a bone break/tendon ligament damage and it healed up fast. Try it if you have the money. Also has pain killing properties similar to advil but won’t cause stomach problems.

V

Get 2 buckets:

  1. Really WARM as hot as you can stand

2)Really COLD again as cold as you can stand.

Leave your elbow and surrounding area in the bucket for 6 minutes each… end it on freezing cold.

Works like charm.

Recently had this for several months: Tried everything, total lay off, training light, ice heat etc etc.

Saw my GP (for the third time) and asked for a cortico steroid injection directly into the point of the pain about 3 weeks ago. Left it a week & back to training full bore.

Gazz

Good advise here. I really like the hot / cold treatment 300andabove suggests for relieving the pain. That does work.

I had some elbow pain from heavy barbell curls many years ago. The problem turned out to be bad form. I was flaring my elbows out mid-point and causing a shearing on the area. I took time off from the barbell curl for a few weeks. When I went back to it I kept my elbows tucked in to my sides and have never had a problem since.

I can imagine the same type of shearing could happen during chins as well. Perhaps your grip is a bit narrow when doing them with your palms facing you?

Thanks for the advice guys. Ill definitely experiment with the hot cold treatment. Im even adjusting my diet incorperating more pinapple and blueberries as an anti-inflammatory. I just started a russian squat program and my assistance is all low back work without any serious work on upper body. the only thing im doing for upper body is the eccentric training for triceps.

Im hoping by the time the squat program is done is should have given my arm the time to relax and reduce inflammation. My only concern is its inflammed on and off through the day except for when i work out and it will be inflammed regardeless whether i do any push movements or even squatting…??

[quote]GDollars37 wrote:
Had this bugging me for a couple months now, minor tendinitis on the inside of one elbow. I took a week off when it started, didn’t help at all. So kept lifting, stretch it daily and ice it almost every day for a half hour, take 10 grams of fish oil and 1600 mg ibuprofen every day, but it’s not getting better. Not real painful, but just annoying, and I think it’s holding my pullups back, and that’s my number one training goal right now. Any suggestions?[/quote]

I realize this is an old post, but I was curious if any of the suggestions below helped your Golfers elbow GDollars? I have recently developed this golfer’s elbow and it sucks big time. Deads, Pullups, any type of rowing movement cause pain on the inside of my elbow. I have only tried ice and Naprxen so far and it seems to relieve the pain temporarily until I get back into the gym and it’s right back to where I started. Curls don’t really seem to bother it too much which is kind of odd. Mostly in the stretch position does it really bother me. I hope some of the suggestions above helped. Thinking of adding the heat and a few stretches and see what happens.

bumping this thread up, cause I’m having a problem with golfer’s elbow. i know the problem is connected to the wrist and hand flexors, because gripping things very hard can cause pain in the elbow.

seems like doing barbell wrist extensions help along with high rep tricep push downs and cross body curls. i’ve started using straps on all back exercises and that has seemed to help reduce pain with pulling movements.

i really hate not being able to do chins and pullups without pain though. they’re the most problematic issue with this injury for me.

[quote]Dolce wrote:
bumping this thread up, cause I’m having a problem with golfer’s elbow. i know the problem is connected to the wrist and hand flexors, because gripping things very hard can cause pain in the elbow.

seems like doing barbell wrist extensions help along with high rep tricep push downs and cross body curls. i’ve started using straps on all back exercises and that has seemed to help reduce pain with pulling movements.

i really hate not being able to do chins and pullups without pain though. they’re the most problematic issue with this injury for me.

[/quote]
This has helped some along with grip training and ART.

wow, good find bro. very innovative way to build some extensor strength. i’ve tried putting a 5-10 pound dumbell and resting it on top of my fingers while bracing my wrist on a bench but this seems way better.

how are your experiences with ART? do you think its worth it?