Golfers Elbow

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    Golfers Elbow

    Has anyone here had experience with acute medial epicondylitis or "golfers elbow"?

    I am quite certain i have self diagnosed this correctly and am looking for some ideas around healing it.

    A little backstory; About two months ago i injured my wrists in a fall and it affected my grip and it caused pain in the wrists to do pullups, but I did not want to stop doing pullups in my training program so a modified my grip and went to a grip with my fingers hooked over the bar without fully clenching the bar with my thumb. The pain and discomfort has been building in my right elbow. I have been gunning for 20 pullups so have been training fairly hard for this and looking for resources to help me advance to my goal. In my search I found this videa by Jeff Cavalier,, and he describes my condition precisely and that it can develop by a "hook" type grip.

    Well my wrists have healed but now I have this condition in my right elbow.

    If you have had this condition and have or know how to heal from it please let me know, and what therapy works.

    I am wondering if i should stop pullups and other activities that irritate it until it heals, or if i can keep training and incorporate some other therapy for the medial epicondylitis? I will add, that since my wrists have healed and I returned to a full, firm grip on the bar, the elbow doesn't hurt during the pullup exercise, but does with pushups. I've made progress on my pullup goal and hate to stop the training...but long-term want a healthy body.

    Thanks in advance!

    First off, get your elbow checked out by a doctor if you can. Self-diagnosis is all fun and games until someone self-diagnoses bubonic plague. Or something like that. Anyway, the point is that it's risky to not get a medical assessment with things like these, particularly if they're not showing any signs of recovering.

    If I was in your situation, I'd probably look for alternative exercises to replace pull-ups for a while. The muscles that attach to the inner elbow (i.e. those that are pulling on it, potentially irritating the tendons) are the flexors of the forearm: flexor carpi ulnaris, flexor carpi radialis, palmaris longus (and a few others, but these are the major ones). Not using those too aggressively might be a good idea, at least for a while.

    Additionally, massaging them can help. There's some amount of scientific support for the idea of trigger points, basically irritations of the muscle near the motor endplate (where the nerve attaches to the muscle) - since the nervous system is a little complex, there's this fun concept called "referred pain" where the pain is actually in a different place than where the irritation is going on. So, if you have a rough idea of where those motor endplates are located for the muscles in question (sometimes there are several locations), you can apply some light-to-medium massage there (pressing too hard can actually make things worse) - you'll know you found the right place if you're getting kind of an echo of the pain. More generally, trigger points tend to have a somewhat unique sensation to them if you press on them, which is somewhat similar to soreness but not quite the same.

    More information:
    Best of luck!


      I have/had an golfers elbow and in my experience it is good to train/stretch forearms/biceps/triceps/shoulders in a reasonable way. I will try to give you some insight in my healing process at some point, but I have not the time to do this right now. For pullups: use rings or hammer grip, it puts less stress on your elbow... I had pain, when I pulled 'too high' so I only did 4/5 of a rep, what helped a lot to be pain free... till later.


        jast and HellYeah thanks for the feedback. jast , i did have my conditioned confirmed by a MD, he suggested a band around the forearm to restrict the stress from full flexing on the elbow. I'm going to take your advice and take a break from push ups and pullups for at least two weeks to give it some rest, see how it feels then. And thanks for the links to the articles, interesting stuff. I'll take the opportunity to work on legs, core and do a bit more cardio.

        HellYeah , i'll try the alternative grips when i ease back into it, and i look forward to hearing more about your healing process when you have the time. Thanks.


          It took me some time, but here it goes:

          First of all, I do not know exactly, where my golfers elbow did come from, I have had it for some time.
          Possible reasons, cause it got worse, when I did these things: pullups, bouldering and riding the bike.

          I have had pain after I did these things, but most of the time after riding the bike.
          The most pain I had was while doing the last part of the chinup, in flex hold possition.

          What I did was:
          - bouldering to the point where it did not hurt.
          - stretching my forearms in any direction (palms down, palms up, rotation)
          - strengthen the forearms in the same directions...

          - I have also worked on my shoulder and thorasic mobility...

          I did not do pullups for some time, almost a year...

          Riding the bike still hurts... but the other things I can do again... most of the time without pain...