Elbow pain sucks. If you've ever had it, you know that.
Whether it's tennis elbow (outside part) or golfer's elbow (inside part), elbow pain is annoying as hell.
It can hurt to lift a plate, open a door, or put your elbows on your desk (mother's around the world are going bananas right now celebrating). And if you've dealt with elbow pain you know this:
IT CAN TAKE A LOOOOONG TIME TO GET RID OF IT.
I want to unpack elbow pain a little bit today and give you a couple of my keys to unlocking that elbow pain and kicking it to the curb.
Elbow pain can move around a bit. Sometimes it hurts just above the elbow. Sometimes it hurts just above the elbow. Other times it hurts above for one thing and below for another. Here's what you need to know: just below your elbow by your forearm all the muscles in the forearm blend together to form a tendon. You have one big tendon on the inside and outside of your elbow. This is usually the painful guy or gal.
There are two main reasons for this tendon being the trouble child. First, tendon's don't get great blood flow compared to bones and muscles, so they are a little slower to heal anyways and a little more vulnerable to injury.
Second, this tendon gets pulled on a lot by the muscles, and also gets pushed against the bone that makes your elbow joint. This combo of pulling and compressing puts a lot of stress on your tendon making it a sensitive spot.
How do I get rid of it?
You'll see or hear most people treat their elbow pain with stretching, ice, accupuncture, a tennis elbow gel strap, CBD cream. The list is endless. But all of these things are just helping make you more comfortable, they aren't helping your tendon to heal and get stronger.
So #1: work on your grip strength.
This can be done a number of ways but start with just grip squeezes.
Use a squishy ball or one of those grip strengtheners and hold the squeeze for 20-30 seconds
Grip holds will help get the muscles active, pulling on the tendon without over doing it. This gives the tendon the signal to put down some new tendon tissue and heal.
And #2: work on slow, HEAVY wrist curls
Two key words here: SLOW and HEAVY
I'm talking so slow you feel like you might fall asleep while doing these
And I'm talking so heavy it feels like your grip is going to give out
Important with both of these exercises: if it hurts a lot, either slow down or go lighter. You want to work at the edge of what you can tolerate. Should be a little bit of discomfort here but pain isn't worse the next day.
I know, I know. I'm recommending strengthening and not stretching. But it's true. If your tendon is painful because it's getting pulled on, pulling more won't help. The key is to get the muscles working to bring some blood flow in to help the tendon calm down. Finally, be patient, it can take a long time. Tendons don't get great blood flow, so they will take longer to heal.
Try these out for your elbow pain. When you try it out, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or DM me on Instagram at @tim.golfstrong and I'd love to chat with you more about your situation!