Don't accept elbow pain as a normal part of exercising. Here's how to identify and fix this common problem before it disrupts your weightlifting routine.
If elbow pain and tingling have been interfering with your exercise, it's time to identify and address your pain before it gets worse. Pain on the inside of the elbow that occurs on the inside of the elbow is called golfer's elbow, while pain on the outside (outside) is often called tennis elbow. Both conditions require changes to your fitness routine and, in some cases, expert intervention.
Despite its popular name, medial epicondylitis is common among powerlifters and other athletes who regularly use their forearms and elbows. The flexor carpi tendon, which bends the wrist forward, connects to the inner elbow and can cause pain throughout the forearm. The resulting discomfort may be the result of inflammation such as tendinitis or tissue degeneration, a form of wear and tear called tendinopathy.
Symptoms of golfer's elbow include moderate pain on the inside of the elbow, although a burning sensation can also extend down the forearm. You may notice stiffness in your joints, weakness in your wrists and hands, and possible numbness in your fingers as the condition progresses.
In weightlifters, lateral epicondylitis is caused by inflammation or microtears in the tendons that extend from the outer elbow to the wrist and fingers. This condition is usually caused by stress on the wrist extensor muscles, which bend the hand into a high five. The gradual discomfort may turn into a burning pain that extends to the forearm and wrist, along with heat and swelling. You may have difficulty holding heavy objects and feel elbow pain when trying to twist your wrist.
A common cause of tennis elbow is overuse of the elbow and forearm. While this condition is often associated with racket-based sports, weightlifters can experience pain if they repeat the same movements over and over or are overweight. Even typing puts pressure on these tendons, so if you're working straight from the office to the gym, your arms may not get the rest they need.
Elbow Pain Treatment and Prevention
To prevent elbow pain, maintain proper posture when lifting weights, avoid using excessive weights, and don't repeat the same arm-pressing routine with each exercise. Be sure to warm up and stretch beforehand, and use a compression wrap for extra support. The key to preventive training is balance—strengthening the flexors and extensors of the wrist with wrist curls and reverse wrist curls. You can even train both types of muscle fibers by varying the number of repetitions: 8-10 reps, for example, have a different effect on the muscle than 12-15 reps.
If you are already experiencing symptoms, your first course of action should be to stop the movement that is causing your pain. Some home remedies include the use of warm compresses and gentle stretching to relieve pain. You may also want to consider wearing a brace, which can prevent your pain from getting worse. If pain persists, conservative treatment remains the best practice. Anti-inflammatory drugs can relieve pain, and in some cases, your doctor may recommend anti-inflammatory injections to relieve pain when you complete your physical therapy program.
Your physical therapist may recommend low-weight strengthening exercises, usually with cuff weights. You may need four to six weeks of recovery time to get back to normal life. If conservative treatment is unsuccessful, minimally invasive surgery may be required to repair or remove damaged tissue. You can expect two months of rest after surgery, followed by four to six months of physical therapy for a full recovery.
Lifting weights puts incredible stress on muscles and joints. Although athletes follow proper form and are conditioned to perform these activities, their arms and legs still need extra support.
This is why you see elbow sleeves on professional and amateur powerlifters. Elbow cuffs are tight-fitting cuffs made of neoprene that are worn around the elbows and extend from the upper forearm to the lower triceps. They are usually padded and fit snugly against the arm.
the warmer the better
When a lifter warms up, blood vessels dilate and deliver more blood, oxygen, and nutrients to the muscles. The muscles are also more flexible after warming up.
Weightlifting elbow sleeves help keep your muscles warm to improve your performance during training and activities. Even a few minutes of rest can cool your joints, while elbow sleeves keep them warm.
Elbow bushings are proven and tested. In fact, they've been around for 60 years. Temporary elbow cuffs are known to help prevent blood pooling and reduce pain and swelling.
ZSZBACE's elbow sleeves are specially designed for weightlifters. For example, our high-performance elbow sleeves feature openings made from heavy-duty polyester thread for greater stretch. The sleeves are also contoured to fit the lifters' elbows.
Provide solid support
In addition to keeping the muscles warm, the elbow sleeves compress the elbows, which helps lock in your lift. This level of support makes the sleeve invaluable for squats and deadlifts. Elbow cuffs are not allowed in bench press competitions, however, as they help lock out the lift.
The mechanism behind the compression gear seems counterintuitive at first. After all, how can squeezing your muscles help you lift?
However, compression is essential in athletic performance.
When the elbow cuff compresses the muscle, it exerts external pressure on the blood vessel wall. As a result, blood is pushed more forcefully through the blood vessels, providing more oxygen to the muscles and improving their performance.
The warmth and compression provided by the elbow cuff is also useful when you are recovering from an injury. The more blood you pump into your muscles, the faster your recovery will be.
Remember that elbow sleeves are not a substitute for proper form. Whether you use weightlifting elbow cuffs or not, you must perfect your technique to minimize the risk of injury.
Is it different from elbow pads?
Elbow sleeves are different from elbow pads. The sleeves focus on compressing the tissue, while the wrap mainly supports the joints. Here are the other key differences:
Elbow sleeves are made of neoprene for greater mobility. In contrast, elbow pads limit movement to avoid overexertion and hyperextension.
Easy to use. Elbow sleeves are easier to use. You just put your arm through them. Elbow pads, on the other hand, have a steeper learning curve. You must wrap your elbows correctly around your arms for the proper level of compression and comfort.