Overview of Elbow Anatomy
The elbow, a crucial part of your ability to move your arms, is a joint that’s made up of three different bones. Together, the Humerus, radius, and ulna form your elbow, and they’re joined by the cartilage between them. The cartilage is there to keep the bones together as a joint, as well as to prevent the bones from scraping together – allowing them to smoothly move against one another.
It’s worth noting that there are no muscles that make up the elbow, so there’s only so much strain your elbows can take; no matter how strong your arms are, your elbows have their limits.
What causes elbow pain when lifting weights?
If you’ve been lifting weights recently and have noticed that you’re feeling a lot more strain on your elbows than usual, it should be a cause for concern. It’s not necessarily a sign of serious damage, but it can lead to something much worse. The pain can be caused by a number of things, and it can be a sign that you’ve pushed yourself too far.
There are different kinds of conditions you could be experiencing, and you should act accordingly to how and why your elbow is hurting.
Golfer’s elbow is a condition that you may experience when lifting weights that causes pain when putting strain on your arm. Unlike the name suggests, golfer’s elbow isn’t just something that golfers experience – it can come from overworking your muscles. You might even feel elbow pain when lifting light objects once you’ve strained your arm, which is a sign that you should be taking it easy.
Golfer’s elbow can be identified by where in your arm the pain is coming from. If you’re feeling pain where the muscles attach to the bump on your inner elbow, then you may be experiencing Golfer’s elbow. This pain isn’t necessarily limited to just around your elbow, as it can extend to your forearm and wrists, too.
Again, if you’re experiencing this kind of pain, make sure to rest appropriately before getting back to it. It’s not a sign of permanent damage, but it could be if you keep overworking yourself.
Yet another condition you could be experiencing if you have elbow pain is tennis elbow. Unlike golfer’s elbow, tennis elbow pain is experienced around the outside of the elbow. If you’re feeling pain when lifting or bending your arms, it’s a sure sign you’re experiencing tennis elbow yourself. Some may even find it difficult to extend their arms due to the pain and stiffness.
It’s called tennis elbow because it’s commonly earned by doing actions such as tennis, which puts a lot of stress on your elbow joints – however, that can just as easily be achieved by doing other intensive activities that rely on your elbows.
Just like golfer’s elbow, you should make sure you take enough time to rest before you get back to the activity that was causing you pain. If resting doesn’t solve the problem, you should be sure to visit your doctor.
Can I continue to lift with elbow pain?
People are often eager to get back to their workout, despite their injuries. Well, if you’re experiencing elbow pain when lifting, then you should be sure to avoid such an activity for the time being. Pain from weightlifting is quite common if you’re trying to push your limits, but you have to remember that pushing your limits has consequences. Take the time to rest, and you can get back to it once your elbow pain has eased off.
If you find that the pain isn’t going away, or that you’re experiencing it commonly without having to put in too much effort while lifting weights, it’s worth seeing your doctor about. You could be prone to injury, or you may have damaged your muscles from pushing yourself too far.
How to prevent elbow pain when lifting
No matter which activity you’re doing, if it puts some form of strain on your body, you’re risking your physical health. If you’re not approaching it in the correct way, you’re bound to give yourself an injury, and that applies to weight lifting especially.
If you’re going to prevent injuries while lifting, you need to be sure you’re lifting with the proper form. The weight of the object you’re trying to lift shouldn’t all be being put onto your elbows, or your back. You need to properly distribute that weight, or else you’re going to be straining some part of your body.
You should also be sure that you’re warmed up, and not lifting above your limits. If you can’t lift something, keep working hard and come back to it when you’re more ready to have another go at it.
How to treat elbow pain
As with any strain or injury got from working out, rest is often the best treatment. You can also help to ease the resulting pain by applying heat and taking painkillers. However, no matter what approach you’re taking, rest will always be the best way to go about it – it cannot be avoided.
If you’re going to lift weights, then you need to know the ins and outs if you’re going to take it seriously. Lifting weights without instruction can be dangerous, and you could wear your joints out – making you more prone to golfer’s and tennis elbow. Try following someone else’s instructions if it’s your first time.
You always want to make sure you’re pacing yourself. It can be easy to get a little too eager to work out, but too much of a good thing can cause you some real trouble. Pushing yourself past your limits is just going to cause you to need rest.
- Washington University Orthopedics. The Anatomy of the Elbow; https://www.ortho.wustl.edu/content/Patient-Care/3151/Services/Shoulder-Elbow/Overview/Elbow-Arthroscopy-Information/The-Anatomy-of-the-Elbow.aspx
- Mayo Clinic (2020). Golfer’s elbow; https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/golfers-elbow/symptoms-causes/syc-20372868
- NHS (2020) . Tennis elbow overview; https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/tennis-elbow/#:~:text=Tennis%20elbow%20is%20a%20condition,forearm%2C%20near%20the%20elbow%20joint.
- Versus Arthritis . What is elbow pain? https://www.versusarthritis.org/about-arthritis/conditions/elbow-pain/#:~:text=Self%2Dhelp%20treatments%20and,other%20treatments%20and%20therapies.