3 Facts About Why Your Elbow Hurts When Climbing And How To Deal With It

elbow pain rock climbing

Consider the following the questions:

Have you recently started climbing?

Have you been doing it for 2 or more consecutive days in a row?

Are you starting to experience pain on the inside or outside of your elbow?

If you’ve answered Yes, to any of the 3 questions above then …

There is a high probability that you have come down with a condition which is unofficially referred to as climbers elbow but …

Here’s some good news!

There are some very simple steps you can do this very minute to not only stop the hurt and pain but …

Continue to rock climb as you go through the healing and recovery process.

First things first:

This is very common among both novice and seasoned climbers.

So don’t feel as if you are all alone here.

The secret to a full recovery is to recognize that you are indeed injured and then …

Take the right path to recovery so you can continue conquering mountains and enjoying the outdoors (or indoors if that’s your thing).

There are basically two locations where the majority of climbers complain of elbow pain – the inside or outside.

Which is it for you?

If you are in the group who are experiencing pain on the inside of your elbow, then this condition is more commonly referred to as golfers elbow (medically called medial epicondylitis).

For those who’s elbow hurts on the outside – this is called tennis elbow (medically called lateral epicondylitis).

Golfers elbow is when you have injured your medial tendon which connects on the inner part of your elbow at the medial epicondyle.

The inside of your elbow will be quit tender to the touch as the tendon has become inflamed, irritated and swollen due to the constant force on your forearm flexor muscles when climbing.

If you are in the “majority”, you most likely have pain and discomfort on the outer part of your elbow.

Am I right?

Tennis elbow or climbers elbow if you will …

Is when your lateral extensor tendon becomes swollen, irritated or inflamed due to performing repetitive tasks or movements over an extended period of time.

In your case – climbing.

Be sure to check out the Nicros website with their recommendations on treating climbers elbow.

In new climbers – tennis elbow is REALLY common.

So what’s the deal and how does it actually happen.

Well consider this …

You’ve been doing some outdoor or indoor climbing for 2 or 3 days in a row.

This amount of force and trauma on your forearm extensor muscles and tendons is enormous.

Your forearm extensor muscles run across the top of your forearm and attach at the top of your wrist and outer elbow.

Most people just call them your forearm muscles but they are responsible for providing solid grip strength but they also allow you to extend your wrist upwards.

The problem is that your tendons don’t build up strength like your muscles do.

So while your forearm extensor muscles have built up over these few days, unfortunately the tendon which attaches these muscles to your arm bone has not.

What happens is that this extensor tendon which attaches at the lateral epicondyle of your elbow, starts to experience small little tears and micro traumas.

So by the time the third day rolls around, your elbow hurts so much that you can hardly make a fist or grip a rock with confidence.

You will notice a huge decrease in your grip strength.

Sound familiar?

As a result of the trauma and tears to your extensor tendon, you may start to experience and notice some elbow swelling and inflammation.

This is when you start to really feel the discomfort and disability of your injury.

And depending your degree of naivety,  you are best advised to stop climbing for the day and seek out treatment.

So what can you really do about it?

drugs for climbers elbow

Your first option is to reach for some anti-inflammatory medication.

This will not interfere with your healing process plus …

It will provide you with some much needed pain relief because …

You can expect over the next few days, even the most basic tasks such as opening doors and shaking hands will become painful and challenging to say the least.

Next you can apply some ice to your upper forearm/elbow region.

apply ice after climbing

10 minute intervals, twice a day should really do the trick.

Get more detailed information right here on using ice for your tennis elbow pain.

Obviously stay away from climbing for a few days.

But here’s what you must understand:

Don’t do these things for too long!

This is where the majority of people go off the rails and make their injury worse instead of better.

You will be doing yourself no favours by popping pills, icing every few hours or just sitting on the couch with your arm propped up on a pill of pillows.

You need to keep your arm moving so the fresh blood can help accelerate your body’s natural healing process because …

Tendons do not get a good supply of blood as it is.

And the effect is even worse when they are injured.

Your injured tendon is basically collagen fibres which are packed together in parallel strands to form a strong elastic tissue.

When it becomes injured, you want it to repair and heal as if there was no injury.

So it’s important that if you want your tendon to heal strong, thick and properly – you need to load the tendon by doing specific exercises that promote this type of healing environment.

If you don’t incorporate specific types of exercises that promote a strong and healthy tendon repair, the collagen strands will not line up parallel and may even heal in a perpendicular fashion.

This can result in not only the development of scar tissue but increases your chances of re-injury.

And you don’t want that …

Wouldn’t you agree?

So what are the best types of exercises and treatment programs that will ensure a smooth recovery from your injury?

tendon strengthening

Well I can tell you from personal experience that you don’t need to waste money on Doctors or Physio to learn them.

In fact …

There are roughly five exercises that have been proven to accelerate your recovery time and get you back on the rocks or mountains much quicker than you think.

And you want to know the best part?

You can do them while simply sitting in a chair watching TV or your iPad.

So here’s what I have done for you.

I’ve put together an easy to follow video tutorial that walks you through each of these 5 steps.

Click on the button below and let me show you how simple they are.

Good luck.

Watch me now

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