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Q&A: How To Fix Inner Elbow Strain

by Robert Maxwell

I'm currently training for my first masters powerlifting competition. I have a problematic inner elbow strain right now. Any advice?

 

I'm glad you asked, because I'm just getting over a similar issue myself. A straining left inner elbow. What worked for me was methodically following these steps:

 

1) Identifying which exercises were exacerbating the strain (anything involving the arms at first and surprising, also my low bar squat grip), and stopping these for a while.

 

2) Gently stretching and icing daily. I did some online research and visited my physiotherapist to determine the best stretching movements to get blood to the area and promote healing, while remaining light enough to avoid any further irritation or injury.

 

3) After several weeks, slowly coming back to some upper body exercises, very light at first (although there’s still some I don’t do at all yet, like pull-ups).

 

Trouble was, squatting every week was still messing me up because my grip position kept re-irritating the elbow, even with icing and therapy. That’s when my friend and competitive powerlifter Malcolm Noland suggested I stretch out my chest and shoulders throughly before squatting, to improve upper back and shoulder flexibility and take the strain off my elbow. It worked. No elbow pain during squats now and the pain is slowly disappearing during other exercises, too. Bottom line: figure out why the pain is happening in the first place,

stop or adjust the responsible movements as needed, rehabilitate thoroughly, and determine if lack of mobility might be the root cause.

 

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