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Treatments for Elbow Pain From Weightlifting

by
author image Dana Severson
Based in Minneapolis, Minn., Dana Severson has been writing marketing materials for small-to-mid-sized businesses since 2005. Prior to this, Severson worked as a manager of business development for a marketing company, developing targeted marketing campaigns for Big G, Betty Crocker and Pillsbury, among others.
Treatments for Elbow Pain From Weightlifting
Lifting weights can result in golfer's elbow. Photo Credit Polka Dot Images/Polka Dot/Getty Images

It may sound a little odd, but elbow pain associated with weightlifting is often the result of "golfer’s elbow." Using improper techniques as you lift weights can overload the muscles and tendons in your elbow, leading to pain and tenderness on the inside of the joint and along the interior of your forearm. This is often accompanied by weakness in the hand and wrist, tingling or numbness in the fingers and stiffness or even immobility of the affected elbow. Self-care measures are typically recommended to treat this condition.

Rest

Treatments for Elbow Pain From Weightlifting
Instead of working on your upper body strength, focus on your legs. Photo Credit Medioimages/Photodisc/Valueline/Getty Images

One of the first things you should do to improve elbow strain is to rest the affected elbow. This doesn’t mean you should stop lifting altogether. Instead of working on your upper body strength, focus on your legs until the elbow pain subsides. Do not start lifting with your arms again until you can do so without elbow pain. Stop immediately if your elbow hurts so you don't worsen the condition.

Ice

Treatments for Elbow Pain From Weightlifting
Apply ice to the affected elbow. Photo Credit Tom Le Goff/Photodisc/Getty Images

Apply ice to the affected elbow. Icing helps minimize inflammation to any damaged tissue, which can alleviate pain. MayoClinic.com recommends icing your elbow for no more than 15 to 20 minutes at a time, four times a day. Any more can actually worsen the condition.

Compression

Treatments for Elbow Pain From Weightlifting
Compression Photo Credit Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images

Many people find compressing the affected elbow in an elastic bandage lessens the pain. Like icing, compression reduces inflammation of damaged tissue, which helps relieve your discomfort. However, continue to wrap your elbow even after the pain subsides, especially prior to lifting. The elastic bandage can minimize the load on your elbow, reducing stress and strain on the muscles, tendons and joint. Instead of an elastic bandage, you can use a forearm strap to relieve the load from lifting.

Trainer

Treatments for Elbow Pain From Weightlifting
To prevent re-injury, consult a personal trainer at your gym. Photo Credit George Doyle/Stockbyte/Getty Images

To prevent re-injury, consult a personal trainer at your gym. Your technique is likely causing strain to the muscles and tendons of your elbow, and a trainer can correct this issue by showing you how to lift properly. He will teach you to keep a rigid wrist position to minimize the load on your elbow. A trainer can also ease you back into this athletic pursuit, choosing activities that aren’t as stressful on the elbows.

Stretching

You may also benefit from stretches that engage the muscles and tendons in your forearm and elbow. An exercise known as the wrist flexor stretch stretches the muscles used to lift weights. Extend the affected arm out in front of you with your palm facing the ceiling. Drop your wrist, with the tips of your fingers pointing toward the floor. Grab your fingers with your other hand and gently pull them to you. Hold this stretch for 30 seconds and release. Complete a total of five repetitions.

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