Having issues with your elbow is not ideal for smashing out a good workout. Similar to shoulder pain, if you are consistently exercising or lifting weights, you probably have or will experience this kind of discomfort. All is not lost!.
First, let's discuss the anatomy of the elbow so we get a feel for how it works. The medial (inside) and the lateral (outside) epicondyles are critical attachments points for many of the ligaments and tendons. The olecranon process sits in the fossa of the humerus. This is the "hinge" of the elbow! It also plays a big role in making sure the elbow does not hyperextend.
The humeroulnar joint, is another hinge joint in the elbow and the humeradial is a pivot joint. Together these bad boys play a role in our ability to supinate (palm up) and pronate (palm down) our hands.
The most common issues with elbows is soft tissue restrictions that stem from tightness and knots occurring from friction between the muscle and tendons. This happens as there is a whopping 16 muscles that cross the elbow! It's a big deal. Not only does that mean it's accountable for MULTIPLE ligaments, nerves, arteries and veins, it nearly as overcrowded as the parking can be at The Fit Shop!
When friction is introduced, the tendons, ligaments and muscles stick together and forms thick fibrotic tissue known as "gunk". This stuff impacts the way in which nerves function, ligament integrity and the overall health of the tendons in your elbow!
Elbow pain can also be a dysfunction of higher order movements up the chain. If you are lacking flexibility in your forearm, shoulder or upper back there can be repercussions on your poor elbow!
If you are experiencing a lot of elbow pain, there is a good chance you will need to get a myofascial release on your forearm. Consistent soft tissue work and stretching can also work as a wonderful preventative. Also become conscious of exercises that you may flare your elbows out in. Handy tip- pull those bad boys IN. People can flare their elbows out when performing exercises such as bench press or even push-ups. Increasing their risk of an injury! Tuck your elbows into the 45 degree angle from your body. By pulling your elbows in, you are allowing your upper back to assist in stabilising and can alleviate elbows instantly.
Ignoring elbow pain will only make it worse later on down the track. You can easily reduce your chances of experiencing elbow pain by taking the time to take care of it. Much like your knees, you use your elbow all the time, so take care of them.