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Elbow Pain When Lifting: Causes and Treatments

Experiencing elbow pain when lifting can transform routine activities and gym sessions into a painful and frustrating experience. Your elbow is a complex joint made up of bones, muscles, tendons, and ligaments that work together to provide strength and stability to your arm. When one part of this system is injured or overworked, it can result in elbow pain, making lifting painful and challenging.


The Root Causes of Elbow Pain When Lifting

Overuse Injuries

Overuse injuries are prevalent among athletes and individuals engaging in repetitive lifting motions. These injuries occur when the muscles and tendons around the elbow joint are overworked, leading to inflammation and pain. Some common examples of overuse injuries include tennis elbow, golfer’s elbow, and tendonitis. Ignoring these overuse injuries may lead to chronic pain and long-term damage. 

Joint Conditions

Joint conditions such as osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis may lead to elbow pain when lifting. Osteoarthritis results from the wear and tear of the cartilage that cushions the bones in the joint, leading to pain and stiffness. Conversely, rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder that primarily affects the lining of the joints, causing painful swelling that can eventually result in joint deformity and erosion of the surrounding bone. Both conditions contribute to discomfort and can limit the range of motion, making lifting movements particularly challenging.

Nerve Compression

Another common cause of elbow pain when lifting is nerve compression. This occurs when the nerves around the elbow are compressed or pinched, leading to tingling, numbness, and pain in the arm and hand. The ulnar nerve, located on the inner side of your elbow, is particularly prone to compression during activities such as weightlifting, causing a condition known as cubital tunnel syndrome. If left untreated, nerve compression can result in permanent nerve damage, making it essential to address the issue promptly.

Ligament Sprains and Tendon Strains

Ligament sprains and tendon strains are also common culprits of elbow pain when lifting. These injuries occur when the ligaments or tendons around the joint are stretched or torn due to sudden movements or overexertion. They can cause significant discomfort and limit your ability to lift weights or perform other activities requiring arm strength. For severe strains and sprains, it is crucial to seek medical attention for proper treatment and rehabilitation.

Effective Treatments for Elbow Pain

Addressing elbow pain requires a multifaceted approach, combining immediate pain management with long-term rehabilitation strategies. At the Performance Sports Medicine Institute, we offer a comprehensive treatment plan that considers the root cause of your pain and tailors an individualized approach to help you recover. If you experience elbow pain when lifting, the following treatments may provide relief and help restore your arm’s functionality.

Pain Relief

Effective pain management is crucial in the early stages of elbow pain treatment. Initially, combining rest with ice therapy is recommended to mitigate pain and inflammation — rest aids in healing by preventing further injury, while ice therapy helps reduce swelling and provide temporary relief. For chronic conditions, heat therapy may be applied to relax muscles and improve blood circulation. Over-the-counter medications are also beneficial for pain and inflammation control. 

Always consult a healthcare professional to determine the best treatment approach and integrate these methods into a holistic recovery plan.

Rehabilitation and Strengthening

Rehabilitation and strengthening are pivotal for long-term recovery from elbow pain when lifting. Physical therapy and sports medicine play essential roles in this process, offering personalized exercises and treatment plans tailored to individual needs. At Performance Sports Medicine Institute, our experts utilize a comprehensive approach to ensure your rehabilitation is effective and sustainable.

Ergonomic Adjustments

Ergonomic adjustments can help prevent future injuries and alleviate elbow pain when lifting. Ensuring proper form and lifting technique while engaging in physical activity prevents overuse injuries and joint strains.

Fine Relief from Elbow Pain

Don’t let elbow pain disrupt your lifestyle and diminish your performance. Take the first step toward recovery with our specialists at Performance Sports Medicine Institute. Our team is dedicated to providing you with the highest quality care and customized treatment plans designed to address the root cause of your discomfort. Book your appointment with us today and discover how we can help you get back to the activities you love pain-free.


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