Many individuals opt for weightlifting as a form of physical exercise to develop both strength and size. Although the positive effects of weightlifting are clear for all to see, it can also negatively impact upon the body. As with other sports, injury is common within a gym environment and can occur despite a base level of strength and good form.

Weightlifting places great demands through the musculoskeletal system. It is these demands that are constantly required in order to keep your body guessing and your target muscles developing. Sometimes however, the stresses and strains can overload a particular body region and cause unmanageable stress through a particular muscle, tendon or ligament. One particular joint which is more prone to injury than others is that of the elbow.

The elbow can be considered a hinge joint and provides both flexion and extension about the central region between the upper and lower arm. Whilst some joints are only used during certain movements, the elbow is utilised constantly within a gym environment, whether training your upper or lower body.

Consequently, pain can often result about this joint, giving off pain on either side of the joint, as well as the front and back. At best this pain can be minor and not significantly impact upon your training. At worst, it can be excruciating and prevent you from undertaking any form of physical activity.

This article will briefly consider the types of elbow injuries resulting from weightlifting and subsequent treatment and prevention techniques which can be put in place when required. As previously mentioned the elbow joint itself is often involved in all workout exercises and as a result frequently becomes overused.

Over a period of time, overuse injuries can cause a degree of wear and tear of the surrounding tendons and result in a painful response. Depending on the injury location, this type of elbow injury can result in lateral or medial epicondylitis, or tennis or golfer’s elbow as it’s more commonly referred to.

Besides tendonitis type injury mentioned above, the elbow can also be subjected to instant overload injury through bad form or locking out at the elbows. This can result in immediate trauma to the injured region. This is often common within individuals who lift more than they are capable of and as a result substitute good form for additional load.

Treatment And Prevention Techniques

Regardless of whether you’re suffering from an overuse type injury or one off trauma, both are capable of negatively impacting on your ability to workout. So what can you do to enhance recovery rates and ensure subsequent injuries do not occur?

When you first notice the pain within the elbow, it’s important to follow the well known acronym of PRICE. That is Protect, Rest, Ice, Compress and Elevate the affected elbow:

  • Protection will eliminate any further damage to the elbow.
  • Rest will allow for the symptoms to begin subsiding.
  • Ice should be applied for the first 48-72 hours in 20 minute stints to reduce the potential for inflammation about the joint.
  • Compression to the injured joint can influence swelling within the region.
  • Elevation will help with the correct drainage of any fluid already present.

Non steroidal anti inflammatory drugs can also be considered if applicable to enhance this recovery process.

Final Word

So there you have it, several common elbow injuries as a result of both overuse and traumatic incidents as well as their optimal treatment plans. Be sure to always follow the PRICE principle and don’t allow yourself to continue to train through the pain.

If your symptoms persist then seek medical advice at the earliest possible opportunity. Prevention is always the best form of treatment, so ensure your techniques are always textbook perfect and never ever substitute good form for additional weight, it’s simply not worth it!