View Full Version : Elbow Pain

Ron Nelson
04-12-2005, 09:51 AM
I haven't seen any other threads about the elbows around here, and knowing that we all do copious amounts of pull ups it has ne wondering. I have what I think is tendonitis in my right elbow and similar pains in my left. I find that it gets worse when I do close grip pull ups and is less when I do wide grip.
I also think that doing the Burgener warm up with a 45# O-bar may have added to the problem. Stopped doing that, still have the pain.
Tried ice/Advil/ice. No help.

Daniel Overvoll
04-12-2005, 10:01 AM
I developed tendonitis in my Right elbow/forearm/hand after driving on washboard roads for a week in Argentina. I got back home and the trainers hooked me up to a machine which sends electrical current pulses through your arm. Went 2x a day and 3 weeks later I had no more numbness or pain.

William Hunter
04-12-2005, 10:09 AM
Whoa! DanO, why don't you let Ron "git some" before you actually give him a helpful answer?

Ask him about hairy palms, or tell him that the Advil works better when you ingest it vs. rubbing it on your elbow.

Oh well, customary PT measures usually work pretty well. Maybe in addition you should warm up more thoroughly with some Dan John wrist curls. Seriously, often the first rep of a pullup or a lift is the most damaging so make sure it's ready.

Donald Woodson
04-12-2005, 10:16 AM
OK, I'll goferit.

Tried switching hands Ron?

Lincoln Brigham
04-12-2005, 10:40 AM
I've got the same problem. I think I picked it up on a 300 mile trip on my motorcycle, gripped the handlebars too hard for too long. From what I've heard from physical therapists, the best tricks for tendonitis are cross-fiber massage, alternating heat/ice treatments, and doing negatives. Haven't tried the negatives yet but I think that would entail taking a gripper, closing it with both hands and slowly opening it with the affected hand. Sets of 8 or more.

Frank C Ollis
04-12-2005, 10:45 AM
Start grappling. Then your elbows will NEVER hurt. I promise. No really.

Beth Moscov
04-12-2005, 01:43 PM
Frank is right - I can vouch for it. Just got back from morning BJJ - focus on arms bars. Elbows not aching at all! In fact, I think they are numb!

(ice helps.)

Frank C Ollis
04-12-2005, 02:02 PM
I have been training bent arm locks really heavy lately, my arms hurt from my neck to my fingers.

On a side note, what percentage of CrossFitters grapple, it has to be pretty high?

Matt Gagliardi
04-12-2005, 02:20 PM
About 10 years ago I managed to give myself a horrible case of tendonitis when I seriously ramped-up my pushup numbers. Being schooled in Sports Med, I was able to "manage" my way through things with the standard modalities (Advil, ice, etc.). However, since I wasn't going to stop exercising, it was always hovering in the background...I couldn't quite get rid of it fully.

One acupuncture treatment (in conjuction with what I'd already been doing)...tendonitis gone. I can't recommend it highly enough.

Ron Nelson
04-12-2005, 02:32 PM
It sounds like I'm right there with most of you. I can seem to manage it if I change my grip. I had a feeling it was coming along with the increase in strength in the forearms as well as biceps (the 2 areas Coach says will fatigue first in the pull up and goes away once the upper back is more highly recruited). Sounds like I will have to manage with the Advil. I'm at a relatively low dose so no worries with the kidneys for now. Also, I like the suggestion of negatives and better warm up- I'll give it a go because I ain't giving up pull ups!!

I'm ambidextrious.
I shave the palms regularly and was using the Advil patch (2 Advils w/ duct tape)
I'd like to give it a go. Last time I did anything close to grappling was in HS when we had to wrestle in PE. I got slammed by a BIG dude and never looked back! I'm in better shape now, so who knows? I might have to go down and see Jeff in Ramona and get some knowledge!!

Good start! Keep 'em coming!

Dan Silver
04-12-2005, 07:12 PM

I really don't appreciate your pathetic solicitation of masturbation jokes. Not only is it offensive and vulgar but your corruption of the injury thread is very concerning, as this is one of the few places Crossfitters can turn for free health advice in a world of HMO's, unavailable Doctors and no health benefits. You're sick, rude, dirty and I suggest you think before you post.

F it's hard typing with only my left hand.


Daniel Overvoll
04-12-2005, 07:28 PM
Yeah, but that still leaves 8 fingers free, Dan.

William Hunter
04-12-2005, 08:04 PM
That's what I'm talkin' about!!!

Ron Nelson
04-12-2005, 10:28 PM
Ever cry because you're laughing too hard.
Me neither.

As my friend used to say, "you'll smoke a turd in Hell for that one!"

but my lips hurt really bad!

Donald Woodson
04-13-2005, 04:37 AM
:rofl: That hurt :rofl::rofl::rofl: That hurt bad!!:rofl:

William Hunter
04-13-2005, 05:23 AM
"you'll smoke a turd in hell"

Ron, you should post that in "Black stuff on lips thread".

Frank C Ollis
04-13-2005, 07:10 AM
You had me going for a minute there.

Maybe you should look into some voice recognition software. Both hands free!

Laura Rucker
04-13-2005, 09:32 AM

Boys will be boys.

LOL. You guys crack me up. Good one, Dan.

Ron Nelson
04-13-2005, 09:40 AM
Somehow this whole thread has avoided the bucket. Maybe the mods are laughing with us and not at us???:uhoh:
Just so's to keep this in "Injuries;" did some pull ups with no or little pain. Push ups, no pain. FGB, pain. But not in my elbows.

Switching to Nair for the palms.

Lynne Pitts
04-13-2005, 04:30 PM
Dan wins the dubious distinction of being exactly the 3d to use the F-word on the board. That'll be 25 HSPU, please. There are wimmin and children here folks; let's keep it family-friendly, eh? And somewhat on topic??

Steve Shafley
04-13-2005, 06:12 PM
Honestly, I've tried not to use it. My unimaginative use of that particular word on other forums makes up for it, though.

Dan Silver
04-13-2005, 06:32 PM
I knew it would raise some eyebrows but I really couldn't help myself. The joke demanded it. Sometimes you've gotta use a big bat to hit one out of the park.

Off to do the HSPU's.


Lynne Pitts
04-13-2005, 06:55 PM
Out of the park? I don't think that one made it out of the infield. Maybe that bat isn't as big as you think...:wink:

Dan Silver
04-13-2005, 07:36 PM


By the way... HSPU's nose to ground. Heavily broken (7-5-4-3-3-2) mostly due to, get this, thigh cramps (?). I suspect FGB has alot to do with that.


Jeff Martin
04-13-2005, 08:05 PM
I believe the moderator hit one out of the park.

Donald Woodson
04-14-2005, 05:51 AM
OW! Nice shot Lynne!
Dan, looks like yer gonna need yer own injury thread after that one.
How many fingers am I holding up? :lol:

William Hunter
04-14-2005, 07:00 AM
I'm continually impressed with the athletic achievements of this board AND the hilarious posts.

Does CF make you funnier?

Frank C Ollis
04-14-2005, 07:31 AM
I think Lynnes' post goes well with the phrase, "objects in your mind are larger than they appear."

I can't beleive this started with elbow pain.

You know the F word is the most versatile word in the English language. We should create a designated substitute, how about, ":angry:"?

Ron Nelson
04-14-2005, 11:28 AM
:angry:ing A!!!
Yeah, it's a good fit!!
On the topic of my elbows; Jeff suggested I try one of those bands that go around the top of the forearm. Anyone else try one with any success??

Should have talked to your boy Barry B. He could have recommended the "Cream" or the "Clear" to help with that "warning track power!!!!"

Jeff Martin
04-14-2005, 11:55 AM
Notice how I made a suggestion to Ron offline,as I am now afraid of both Dan's and Lynne's insightful comments.

Remember the "e" Remember the "e" Remember the "e"

Dan Silver
04-14-2005, 12:12 PM

Barry Bonds is not my "boy" nor are any members of my local baseball franchise, The Giants. I hate traffic much more than I love baseball. Pac Bell (oh, it's SBC now?) Park has screwed the traffic in SF so bad that I'm praying for a year of toothpicks and lemon juice rain to fall on that cursed thing.


Donald Woodson
04-14-2005, 12:18 PM
Ron, I used to drive rivets building jets. About as impactful and repetitive as it gets. I had carpel tunnel syndrome in both elbows really bad.
Company doctor set me up with a pair of them. Worked like magic for me. Positioned just right, they separate your tendons so they don't rub together and get inflamed.
Whether it'll help your particular problem, I can't say, but they are cheap enough to try.

Ron Nelson
04-15-2005, 10:25 AM
Bought one, wearing it now. It'll take some getting used to, but I think it's helping already!

Donald Woodson
04-15-2005, 11:15 AM
Cool Ron!
You'll find that wearing it 24 hrs for a week or so will allow the tendons to heal themselves, and you'll soon not need it at all. Go ahead and try exercising with it. If you still feel pain, move it around a little to find the sweet spot.
When yer elbow's a workin' you can go back to j..... :rofl: Sorry, couldn't resist.

Mark Mueller
04-19-2005, 05:40 AM
Since this thread appears back to normal....

I've been living with elbow pain for awhile...went to the orthopedic doc and he says there is not much he can do with it.....done the elbow band thing....lots of ice......rested it util I was going crazy.....and then I tried something real simple. I changed my grip on pull-ups.....to a thumb underneath grip and I really emphasized gripping with my forefinger. middle finger and thumb. This really seems to be working.....Can any of you exercise physiologists out there explain how grip of the hand in a load bearing exercis (like pull-ups) effect the tendons of the elbow?

Matt Gagliardi
04-19-2005, 06:29 AM
Actually, you're looking for a kinesiologist and/or someone well-versed in biomechanics. I believe you may have been having issues with your flexor pollicis longus...the muscle that flexes the thumb.

Read more here:

I'm guessing here...but I'll bet you may have stopped gripping/squeezing with your thumb. Is it relaxed now when you're working? The reason that grip effects the elbow is that the elbow region is the "origin" for some of the muscles that actually perform gripping.

William Hunter
04-19-2005, 06:48 AM
Mark, which side of your elbow hurts, the outside or the inside (inside being near the funny bone, which really isn't that funny)? The flexor muscle group originate near the inside and the extensors originate on the outside. Both groups are activated when you grip. Also, when you changed your grip, do you feel that you're using your thumb more or less? What was your grip like before?

Ron Nelson
04-19-2005, 10:46 AM
OK, I'm with this. My pain is on the inside of the elbow and it's tender/painful to the touch at times. The band is helping somewhat, but last night caused swelling in the forearm/hand. I also noted earlier that the pain is greater with close grip pull ups (palms facing inward, like on rings) and less with a "chin up" grip (palms facing away). I also tend to grip with thumbs over the bar, not under and the bar is not very thick.
So, Will, you're the Doc; what's up with this anywhooo??

Jeff Martin
04-19-2005, 10:50 AM
Not to send the thread spinning off in the wrong direction, but if your hand is swelling you have pulled the band to tight.

William Hunter
04-19-2005, 12:45 PM
Ron, it sounds like medial epicondylitis aka "golfer's elbow". The swelling is cause for alarm, but my first guess is that Jeff is right when mentioning your tendon wrap may be too tight. When working out you're filling those muscles with blood and you may have to loosen it up a bit. If that doesn't help then you need ice and rest.

One point that I'm not clear on is that you mention "chin up" grip and palms facing away. In my mind these are opposite. A chin up grip is like doing barbell curls (a distant memory I swear) where a pull up grip your palms face away. Every time you grab a bar, both groups are recruited, but a palms away grip tends to activate the outside of the forearm, the extensors whereas the inside is more purely recruited with a palms facing you grip. It may be that with a palms away grip your extensors take just enough of the stress off the inside of your elbow to allow you to complete the exercise.

Continue to use ice. Try cross friction massage on the sore tendons for about 3-5 minutes at a time. Use your thumb for this. A good stretch for the flexor group is to put your arm straight out in front of you, palm up (like you're looking for a handout), and use your other hand to grab your fingers and palm and bend them down towards the floor. Make sure your affected elbow is straight.

If this doesn't help, call your buddy Dan Silver and I'm sure you two can work something out :-)

Ron Nelson
04-20-2005, 09:45 AM
Jeff and Will,
Thanks. The band was definitely too tight. Woke up this morning, no problems, and no pain.
Thanks for the tip. I always get the chin/pull thing mixed up! Just tried the stretch and it felt pretty good. I'll keep using it.

Dan makes house calls???????

Dan Silver
04-20-2005, 12:37 PM
Yeah but it's cash only.


Ron Nelson
04-20-2005, 02:21 PM
My house or Motel 6?

Dan Silver
04-21-2005, 02:38 AM
Both. We'll need the extra towels and sheets.


Ron Nelson
04-21-2005, 10:43 AM

Donald Woodson
04-21-2005, 11:01 AM
OK, looks like Kristi will be the one to get jealous.