T Nation

Timing for Returning to Lifting after Golfers Elbow

I know there’s a lot of good threads on golfers elbow, but I wanted to get some people’s experiences with when they were able to get back to lifting. Were you completely pain free 24/7 or mostly pain free with occasional tightness or flare ups? Answers from Ortho and PT are pretty vague as they have no lifting experience. (I ended up with a “squats are dumb you should do leg press” ortho).

I started getting it in May from holding the bar wrong for low bar squats, then aggrivated it with pullups and Pendlay rows for 3 months before really figuring it out and stopping everything, and realizing I couldn’t just train around it. Had PT for about 6 weeks, then kept doing the excercises for a month later. I can feel it if I push on something with an open palm, 3rd and 4th fingers if my arm is extended, but not much else. Occasionally handling my wild 2 year old aggrivates it a bit. Everything has improved but just seemed to plateau at like 95% for the last month. Hoping to get back to light stuff with thick grips or straps when possible just to get some sanity back, but I don’t want to mess it up again.

Would you be willing to try an herbal healing remedy? I had golfer’s elbow for a while when I first got into BJJ. I applied Plantain (Plantago Major) and Comfrey (Symphaticum Officianalis) poultices. These lower inflammation and cause rapid cell regeneration. Both work as well as the other, however Plantain is more popular these days. My problem was gone with a week of overnight poulticing. Traditionally these are used externally to heal bones, and soft tissue damage like muscles, tendons and bruises. Something to think about if you live near an herb store, or better yet, live where these grow as weeds.

Thanks for the reply. I’ve seen a few of these in my yard but not sure if I’ll get around to mashing them up and everything. Cool that it worked so quickly for you.

As an update, as I’m sure someone will end up finding this in a search when they’re pulling their hair out over elbow tendonitis, I started lifting and it hasn’t been catostrophic. I also started taking elbow-revive, which actually does seem to help. I’m not at 100%, but it still seems like things are progressing so I think the lifting is ok. Most days the only thing I feel is a little bit of tightness in the morning, but am over the stabbing kind of pain unless I do too much. I’m keeping it mostly light (which after like 3 months off is involuntary, I am so damn weak right now), and using a thick bar for any pressing. I’m using straps, but they weren’t enough for deadlifting. Even with the straps, on a testing-the-waters kind of day, just 195lbs ended up agrivating it pretty well the next day. Also, be very careful with any kind of furniture moving, lots of awkward lifting with an openish palm can be a disaster. Also, unfortunately, I’m learning that even if I’m feeling about 99% there, agrivation is still possible, so it still might be some time before deadlifting and pullups are possible again. If anyone is going through this hope this is worth something, otherwise sorry for reading my rambling.

My experience with “golfer’s elbow” came from a manual labor job. The best approach I found was backing off on compound movements for upper body pushing and pulling exercises. Instead opting to do machine isolation work to maintain some strength/muscle while the inflammation and healing processes could take play out without bothering it over and over. Also whenever you have pain in that tendon (or not), it’s good to really dig in with your thumb and knead the tendon vigorously (this relaxes the tendon) at 1-2 inches below the elbow joint and stretch out the forearms muscle as well (especially wrist flexors).

When you do resume upper body compound work, continue do the kneading/stretching protocol.