T Nation

Medial Epicondylitis - What Has Worked for You?

#1

I know there are a lot posts here on it, and too many videos etc elsewhere on prevention(pointless topic for me) and self rehab etc. Challenge is nothing seems to be working for me personally. So my question for anyone else who has not only dealt with “golfer’s/lifter’s elbow” and actually gotten back to full strength, what worked for you?

For me it has been somewhat chronic but the past 4 months its been daily pain management. I started addressing it last month and here is what I have done:

-4 weeks no pull ups, only light weight rows maybe 3 times the entire month
-Daily anti-inflammatory supplementation with Curcumin and 8-14g fish oil.
-past week I started using a gua sha daily on it
-Last week started doing pull ups again, but only with rings
-Changed how I grip any pull exercise where the main point of contact and grip pressure focuses on the first two fingers, not ring finger
-Even tried Voo Doo floss(did nothing) daily for a week(not long enough?)
-started taking 6 grams of collagen daily after reading TC’s article(no clue if it’s helping, but damn, my skin and hair is looking better).

I would say It has gone from a constant problem, to a more manageable issue but still is a real issue. Anyone else have anything they have done that brought them success in healing first hand? So far upping the fish oil and gua sha

Things I have not tried:
-a consistent daily stretching type routine
-specific grip or other type of work/training on something that isnt the elbow but may be an underlying cause that I am not aware of.
-any type of brace or that band you wear around your forearm - namely I am worried it may just mask the pain and whatever I am doing will continue to cause more damage by not fixing the underlying cause.

I know what the underlying cause is most likely. Lots of pull ups and weighted pull ups with a ‘false grip’ but the bar being positioned in the fingers instead of palm for years and years.

#2

-Get the bar out of your fingers and into your palm. I used Fat Gripz handles so the bar Had to be in my palm. At first I did 1 arm pulldowns on a machine, with the Fat Gripz on the handle, using a false grip. The bar was still in my fingers, but in my palm too. This helped me adjust to the new hand/bar position without irrating my elbow by going straight to thumb around the bar.

I also used the Fat Gripz for presses and Delt raises and things like that. I found myself holding the narrow handle dumbbell in my fingers instead of my palm on presses/raises. The thick handle again helped to train myself to squeeze the bar into my palm.

-For stretching / grip work the Wrist Roller works great. If the muscles on the “bottom” (golfers elbow) are tight, you roll knuckles up or backwards, and immediately stretch the tight, overactive muscle while working the loose interactive one. For tennis elbow, roll knuckles forward, flex the wrist and you immediately stretch the tight muscles on “top” of the forearm elbow.

I use a thick wrist roller, so it also has the same into the palms instead of the fingers action as the Fat Gripz handles.

-Restore ROM in your shoulder. The real problem is in the shoulder. The funny finger grip and weird elbow position that bring the tightness and pain are just ways to compensate for poor shoulder motion.

I really like the arm circles with a hand that this dude shows at 2:00 minutes in.

And something like this for mid back and shoulder stability.

And this for rear Delts

When your shoulder is stable and moving properly and your hand is gripping properly there is no reason for your elbow to move weird and be hurting.

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#3

I tried the elbow straps but they didn’t really work for me. For it to apply enough pressure to relieve the pain I’d be cutting off circulation to my lower arm which didn’t seem like a healthy option.

Since overcoming the daily pain management mine has reverted to more of an acute flare-up tendency which I’m willing to deal with.

Things I’ve been doing since mostly recovering:

Lots of soft tissue work - mostly the forearm flexors, but some extensor work and triceps work has helped too
Daily stretches - just gently stretching the forearms randomly throughout the day
Gripping - bar in the palm and squeeze the ever loving hell out of that thing
Straps - using them pretty liberally
Pulling - pretty much abandoned underhand chins/rows, juice isn’t worth the squeeze for me. Neutral grip bench helped a bunch
Avoiding rotational force - this was my biggest struggle as I was working with impact drivers pretty much daily and it really delayed healing, might not be a problem depending on your vocation

Hope you can get it sorted out, there’s definitely worse injuries to have but this one is super annoying. Nothing like reaching for you coffee and nearly spilling it all over yourself because you forgot it hurts to grip a friggin cup.

#4

Sleep with a carpal tunnel brace. It keeps the tendons from resting in a shortened position and then being stretched abruptly when you move/wake up. That was the biggest factor that helped me (on top of probably 20 other things that maybe helped 1-2% each). They’re cheap on amazon and worth a shot.

#5

I’ve just been dealing with this for the last four weeks. I know from having tennis elbow that rest didn’t work and that my Sports therapist prescribed eccentric only exercises and isometrics, which worked. I’m not over it yet but changing grip on exercises has helped along with eccentric only portion of chin ups.

I tried the forearm exercises above, lowering a frying pan (eccentric forearm twist) and letting dumbbell roll out whilst opening your fingers, none worked. Although I think they would have if the injury was slightly different. I’m going to try some fingerboard work as that is like the chin up isometric but build finger strength.

Think both injuries are probably due to poor shoulder mobility.

#6

Constant stretching.

The only thing that has healed it was a FlexBar. Works wonders. I use it weekly.

#7

I’ve been dealing with lateral and medial epicondylitis on and off for years. I’ve tried almost everything there is, and have found a few things that seem to work.

  1. Need to reduce the strain you put on your arm, epicondylitis is an overuse injury. Patient first has a really good arm brace that helps take some of the strain off the tendon anchor points. The worst thing for me was shaking someones hand, or opening things like a soda bottle. The brace seems to help.

  2. I found that I had several muscle knots / trigger points. They keep the muscle shortened, so when you fully extend your arm then tendon is ripping or tearing.

  3. Physical Therapy helped a lot. They have a hand bike, they had me warm up on it for 6 minutes. I noticed most of my pain would go away after warming up.

  4. Muscle imbalances - stronger muscles on one side of your arm can over power the other side of your arm causing damage. Strengthening smaller muscles helped me a lot. I took a hammer and held the end of it in my hand and rotated it back and forth until failure.

  5. Muscle pump - make sure when you do the physical therapy exercises you are using enough weight, or you work to failure. The pump is forcing blood and nutrients into the tissue. The reason this type of an injury is so hard to heal has to do with how hard the tendons are.

  6. Be careful stretching - never do it cold. A muscle knot or trigger point doesn’t loosen up with stretching, they just get worse. This causes more damage to the tendon.

  7. The physical therapist I saw performed the Graston technique on my arm. I felt this reallyy helped also.

#8

Love the collaboration here and thanks for anyone who contributed.

Also check this out, been a literal godsend for me since posting this thread.

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#9

I don’t want to get my hopes up however I tried this yesterday and today is the first day that my elbow has felt almost back to normal.

I have the worst forearm doms right now as well😂

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#10

I have more lateral pain (tennis elbow) and have been dealing with it for years. What helps me is daily wrist stretches and foam rolling the entire arm. More recently I’ve discovered a few things that seem to work great. 1. Static 1 arm overhead tricep stretch with dumbell (Doggcrapp style). and 2. Negative only pronated pullups. 3. weighted wrist roller sets (extension grip).

#11
#12

Have you tried the theraband flexbar? Also, I had about 4 PRP injections which healed it after years of physio etc. If you can afford PRP it’s def worth it

#13

Even though my approach above was working I bought a flex bar. It’s now working much quicker. I’m converted. It lets you apply the load whilst stretching it more. Can’t say what the difference is for certain but it worked.

#14

Doing curls sets mine off. If mine starts to flare up something I’ve found where you can still train the bicep by curling is putting an ankle strap on a cable and wrapping it around your wrist. It makes a huge difference since your fingers don’t have to wrap around a bar.