Elbow pain shouldn't happen often when lifting heavy weights. It is important not only to identify the source of the pain, but to treat it as soon as possible. If you have pain or tennis elbow from weightlifting, you need the help of an experienced orthopaedic specialist in Dallas. A medical professional who regularly treats sports and overuse injuries is best suited to meet your needs.
Overview of Elbow Anatomy
The radius, ulna, and humerus are the three bones that make up the elbow. Joints are also held together by muscles, ligaments, and tendons. The epicondyles are the two bony pieces at the base of the humerus that connect the muscles and tendons of the forearm to the elbow. The lateral epicondyle is located on the outside of the elbow, while the medial epicondyle is located on the inside of the elbow.
The elbow has four main functions: flexion, extension, supination, and pronation. Golfers' elbow and tennis elbow are two of the most common injuries for those who do strength training. Golfers and tennis players aren't the only ones affected by these conditions, despite their different names.
Incorrect bicep curls are the most common cause of golfer's elbow and tennis elbow when lifting weights, although movements of the chest, triceps, and shoulders can all put stress on the elbows. If you're having problems with your inner or outer elbow, it may be due to one or more frequent bicep curls that are in the wrong form. Knowing when to consult a doctor about an elbow injury is critical if the discomfort does not go away after correcting the technique. You may have suffered a serious injury, such as a UCL tear.
Common Causes of Elbow Pain With Biceps Curl
As with many exercises, there are right and wrong ways to do them. As far as form goes, it's crucial to make sure you're maintaining certain positions while exercising. These forms exist to reduce the chance of injury and put the least amount of stress on your body. Below, we've listed four ways people can experience elbow pain from weightlifting.
hold too tight
When you grip a barbell or dumbbell too tightly, the flexor tendons that allow your wrist to flex or bend forward activate. Stimulating the flexor tendons in this way can lead to soreness on the inside of the elbow and a golfer's elbow, even if your wrist is neutral during the curl.
Poor wrist positioning
Moving the wrist forward, similar to gripping a barbell or dumbbell too tightly, can irritate the flexor tendons and cause discomfort on the inside of the elbow. When you extend or flex your wrist back during a curl, the weight activates the wrist's extensor tendons, which are associated with the outside of the elbow. This can lead to discomfort on the outside of the elbow and tennis elbow.
While it may be self-explanatory, it's a little more complicated than you might think. It's possible that using too much weight in your bicep curls has little to do with your bicep strength and more to do with your grip strength and strength or your forearms.
As mentioned earlier, gripping too tightly or stretching or flexing the wrist during a bicep curl can cause discomfort in and out of the elbow. If you're holding a barbell or dumbbell excessively due to insufficient muscle strength, or if your forearm strength causes your wrists to bend or extend, the weight may be too heavy to perform the curl while maintaining perfect posture. Elbow discomfort and injury can be caused by poor posture.
Not enough change
According to the International Sports Science Association, there are 12 different varieties of bicep curls. What's the point of this? Because overuse damage is caused by repetition. When you practice the same type of bicep curl over and over, the same stress is applied to your arms and elbows. Tennis elbow or golfer's elbow can result from this. It is critical to diversify your strength training workouts to avoid repeated stress injuries.
What is tennis elbow?
Tennis elbow, commonly called lateral epicondylitis, affects the extensor carpi radialis brevis (ECRB). Movement of the wrist and fingers is controlled by this forearm muscle. The extensors (forearm tendons) are the tendons that connect these muscles to the bones. When the ECRB is damaged by overuse, microscopic tears may occur at the junction of the extensor muscles with the lateral epicondyle. Tennis elbow is the result of this condition, causing discomfort and inflammation.
What is a golfer's elbow?
Similar to tennis elbow, golfer's elbow, also known as medial epicondylitis, affects the other side of the elbow. The golfer's elbow is a repetitive stress injury caused by injury to the muscles and tendons that attach to the medial epicondyle, resulting in significant discomfort within the elbow.
How to Treat Tennis Elbow with Weightlifting
Unlike a Tommy John injury or other serious injury to the elbow, tennis elbow caused by weightlifting rarely requires any type of surgical intervention. More serious injuries sometimes require elbow replacement surgery or elbow replacement. Nonsurgical treatment options and physical therapy sessions are usually sufficient to treat tennis elbow. In fact, many doctors prescribe RICE, which is rest, ice, compression, and elevation. They may also recommend anti-inflammatory medications.
If you make adjustments to your repetitive lifting and follow the treatment recommendations, your pain should subside. However, if the pain persists for more than 12 months, we recommend that you call your doctor. It may be time for a steroid injection or surgical option. As mentioned earlier, it is uncommon to have tennis or golfer's elbow surgery. However, it is still possible in severe cases.
Elbow Pain Treatment
Tennis elbow usually heals on its own, which is good news when it comes to treatment. All you have to do now is rest your elbow and do what you can to speed up the healing process. Here are some treatments that can help.
Ice your elbows. This reduces pain and swelling. Most orthopaedic specialists recommend 20 to 30 minutes of ice on the area every 3 to 4 days. Repeat for a few days, or until the pain subsides.
Use elbow straps. This protects the affected tendon from more stress.
Take non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. Examples include aspirin, naproxen and ibuprofen. These help relieve pain and swelling. However, keep in mind that taking these medicines for too long can cause stomach bleeding and ulcers.
Exercises that practice range of motion. These help reduce elbow stiffness and increase flexibility. Depending on your condition, some doctors recommend doing these exercises five times a day.
Attend physical therapy. Consultation with a skilled physical therapist can help strengthen and stretch your muscles.
Steroid or pain medication injections. These will only temporarily relieve pain in the joints. In fact, some studies report that they don't really help in the long run.
In most cases, the above nonsurgical solutions are effective. Unfortunately, severe cases may require a more invasive approach. Some doctors recommend surgery after conservative treatment fails for about 4 months. During surgery, your doctor will remove the damaged portion of the affected tendon. Then, they repair the rest of the tendon.
How to Prevent Tennis Elbow from Lifting Weights
Avoiding overuse is the key to avoiding tennis elbow. If you experience any elbow discomfort while participating in an activity, you should stop. Tennis elbow can also be caused by the use of incorrect equipment, such as a golf club or tennis racket that is too heavy or a handle that is too large. Tennis elbow can also be caused by poor technique, such as a bad swing. You should also keep the following tips in mind.
Always warm up before exercising or engaging in any type of physical activity. This is especially important for your arms and legs, which may move more than the rest of your body.
Ice your elbows after exercise. Just like you need to warm up before exercise, it's important to cool off after exercise. This helps relieve any swelling or pain that may occur.
Avoid repetition as much as possible. If you're doing a task that requires repetition, take occasional breaks.
Are you curious about lifting weights with elbow sleeves? There are some fantastic benefits to having elbow cuffs as part of an overall weightlifting program.
Elbow cuffs are especially helpful if you struggle with elbow injuries or pain. The added support and improved circulation of the elbow sleeves help increase joint stability and improve overall performance.
However, you don't have to have any problems with your elbow joint to benefit from using an elbow sleeve. The truth is, just about anyone can benefit from using elbow cuffs in their weightlifting program.
Here's how elbow sleeves can be used for lifts.
3 Key Benefits of Lifting with Elbow Pads
As you probably already know, keeping your joints warm before, during, and after a weightlifting workout is essential to avoid injury. Using elbow cuffs helps maintain body temperature even when resting between sets.
Compression elbow sleeves can also improve blood circulation to the joints, helping to keep the joints warm and relaxed. The warmer and more relaxed your muscles are, the better you will perform and the less likely you will be injured.
Elbow sleeves provide an extra layer of support for the joints. Concentrated fabric provides stability to the joint while still allowing a full range of motion. With extra support, you can reduce your risk of injury.
Elbow cuffs not only provide physical support, but knowing your elbows have extra support is good for the mind. A clear mind and clear mind is an underrated boost to your workouts.
Keeping the elbows warm, increasing blood flow, and stabilizing the joints can all help improve performance. You may find that when you lift weights with elbow cuffs, you can lift heavier, hold longer, and get in better shape.