Do You Experience Elbow Pain When Lifting? Here’s Why.

Elbow pain refers to traumatic injuries due to stiffness in the elbow joint or the muscles, tendons, and ligaments holding it. Elbow pain can not necessarily mean having a hidden disease.

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The causes of elbow pain can be due to various reasons, such as creating pressure or bending elbows for a longer duration. This includes excessive physical training, and doing things that we do in our everyday routine such as typing and painting. It also includes:

  • Performing bicep curls,
  • Bench press,
  • Shoulder exercises,
  • Strength training exercises,
  • Weight lifting and upper body exercises
  • Sleeping in an awkward position
  • Using sports medicine and playing sports like tennis, or football.

1. Elbow Anatomy Summary

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The elbow anatomy gives information about the structure of the elbow. The elbow is a type of hinge point made up of three bones, the radius, forearm bones known as the ulna, and upper arm bones known as the humerus. Likewise, it also the joint in the elbow is supported jointly by the ligaments, muscles, and tendons. The upper arm bone humerus includes two bony bumps or skeletal ridges underneath it named the epicondyles

Epicondyles are of two kinds at the internal and external part of the elbow, the inner part of the bump is referred to as the medial epicondyle, and the outer part of the bump is referred to as the lateral epicondyle.

The elbow permits four primary functions flexion, extension, supination, and pronation. Tennis elbow and Golfer’s elbow commonly have repetitive motions that involve pressure during bending and stretching of the elbow and wrist, which appear in different muscle training exercises.

2. 11 Common Symptoms of Injury in an Elbow

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  1. Feel pain in the elbow area.
  2. Restricted Movement of the elbow.
  3. It is swelling around the joints.
  4. A popping sound when the elbow hurts.
  5. The elbow seems misshapen or distorted, or bent from its actual position.
  6. Pain during wrist movements.
  7. Weak grip.
  8. Slight pain also during relaxation.
  9. Pain when holding any object or lightweight.
  10. Pain when making a fist.
  11. Joint pains.

3.  Elbow Pain Treatments

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Elbow pain treatment mainly involves nonsurgical treatment options that don’t require the skin to be cut or inserted with an instrument in the body. To treat elbow pain, the following methods are usually involved:

a. Self-Aid

An Ice-pack can help reduce inflammation as it has a calming effect on the elbow pain, and continuing it for a few days can make a difference. Covering the elbow with the help of a bandage can help in lessening the pain. Self-treat oneself with medicines such as paracetamol, ibuprofen, or naproxen and pain relief sprays such as Volini or Moov in case of minor aches or pain. Hence, treat elbow pain effectively.

b. Medical Treatment

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If self-treatment doesn’t reduce elbow pain or make it better, one should seek medical assistance to improve conditions caused by elbow pain. In case of redness or swelling, sensing dislocation or misshaping, struggling to move the elbow, and continuous pain, one should seek medical help to reduce the condition.

C. Physical Therapy

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A physical therapist is someone who helps a patient by curing elbow hurts without the usage of drugs and surgery. Physical therapy is conducted through physical therapy sessions that include heat and cold compresses, exercises, or bending of the elbow to bend it forward and backward can gradually lessen the elbow pain. Physical therapy is also beneficial for blood flow and stimulating flexibility and power. Doctors also often recommend consulting a physical therapist in case of elbow pain.

A physical therapist can treat your elbow pain by massaging ice on your elbow, muscle stimulations, and ultrasounds.

2. Elbow Pain When Lifting Weights

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Elbow pain when lifting weights can be due to various reasons like physical training or exercises that involve the chest, tricep, and shoulders that can cause a strain on the elbow. Weight lifting exercises such as squats, bench presses, deadlifts, pull-ups, and tricep exercises involve lifting too many weights, which develops elbow pain.

The most typical cause for elbow pain during and after lifting a weight could be associated with additional expected errors in the bicep curl shape of an individual. Experiencing pain in the inner or outer part of the elbow has higher possibilities related to extra mistakes in the bicep curls form of an individual.

One should not endure the pain for a longer duration of time. It is better and more important to consult a doctor.

a) Common Causes for Elbow Pain from Bicep Curls

1. You’re holding the Weight or Dumbbell Firmly

Holding the weight or dumbbell firmly can trigger the flexor tendon that lets your wrist bend or curl forward. Triggering the flexor tendon by holding too tightly while the wrist is in a neutral position can lead to pain in the inner elbow and hence, causes a golfer’s elbow.

2. You’re Not Holding Your Wrist in a Firm, Neutral Position Throughout the Curl.

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Similar to holding your weight and lifting weights with the dumbbell too tight, if you are letting your elbow hurt wrists move forward will trigger the flexor tendon and can lead to internal elbow pain.

On the other side, if you bend your wrists backward during a curl, the weight will trigger the attachment tendons in your wrists connected to the exterior side of your elbow, which can generate outside-the-elbow joint pain and hence, lead to tennis elbow.

3. You’re Using Excessive Weight

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Using excess weights for performing bicep curls involves gripping and forearm strength instead of your bicep strength.

Gripping a weight too tightly, stretching, or bending your wrist during bicep curl training leads to internal and external pain in the elbow.

If your grip strength is not that right, it leads to over-gripping the rod or dumbbell, or if you are holding too much weight that is affecting your bend while maintaining the posture, or the forearm strength causes stretching of your wrist. Not maintaining a proper form can lead to elbow pain and injury.

4. You’re not Changing Your Bicep Curl Training

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Not varying in your bicep curl training and overdoing it leads to elbow pain and injury. Performing the same kind of bicep curl exercise causes elbow pain and damage as it involves stretching and bending with the same strength on the elbow. Elbow pains such as tennis elbow and Golfer’s elbow are then caused after this kind of training. One should not perform the same bicep curl daily to avoid the causes of elbow pain and injury.

5. What is Tennis Elbow?

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Tennis Elbow, also known as lateral epicondylitis, is expected to be common among tennis players who hold a tennis racket. Still, tennis elbow can also exist in painters, athletes, and people who perform other repetitive movements or activities mainly dependent on the wrist joints.

Patients, in the case of tennis elbow, usually complain about pain in the outer part of the elbow. They can diagnose tennis elbow; pain treatment worsens during repetitive strain injury or regular wrist movement.

a) Symptoms of Tennis Elbow

  1. Burning sensation on the outside of the elbow.
  2. Inflammation or swelling.
  3. An intense pain.

b) How to Prevent Tennis Elbow


Elbow pain when Lifting
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Tennis Elbow can be easily self-treated by limiting elbow-hurt wrist movements with a physical therapist’s help. This tennis elbow support brace is positioned just below your elbow to help you move your arm muscles and elbow freely or spread numbing gels to treat elbow pain.

c)Treatment of Tennis Elbow

Diagnose tennis elbow: During the diagnosis of a tennis elbow, doctors usually ask patients to lift their elbows, move their fingers to overuse injuries, treat tennis elbow and wrist, or apply pressure to the affected part of upper body exercises for the elbow injury.

Doctors also recommend physical therapy or surgery in case of intense elbow hurt.

 i) Physical Therapy

Physical therapists often involve nonsurgical treatment options to develop elbow pain or treat the cause of elbow pain, such as massage, Eccentric exercises, and heat treatment.

A physical therapist can help relieve pain by making you do exercises that will reduce pain by strengthening the forearm muscles. The eccentric exercise involves dropping the elbow and gradually lifting the wrist.

 ii) Surgery

The surgery takes place in extreme conditions of elbow pain.

Orthopedic surgeons are the specialized ones in sports medicine who case the proper diagnosis of damage to joints, muscles, tendons, ligaments, and spines and analyze these parts to repair the injury.

Tennis elbow is an injury in the extension tendons in your upper arm bone, scar tissue that joins muscle to the elbow bone. In open surgery, the injured portion of scar tissue in the tendon is removed, and the healthful part is attached back. The surgeons also cut a slight bit of a bone to improve blood flow to the forearm tendons and relieve pain.

Arthroscopic surgery uses an arthroscope, a slim tube with a tiny camera and light on the end to be inserted after the surgeons put in 1 or 2 cuts.

6. What is the Golfer’s Elbow?

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A Golfer’s Elbow, also known as medial epicondylitis(medial elbow pain), is contrary to that of a tennis elbow. A golfer’s Elbow is someone experiencing elbow pain caused primarily due to repetitive pressure, usually in wrist and finger movements. Golfer’s or medial epicondylitis elbow pain is a form of elbow pain due to the forearm muscles’ tendon causing pain in the inner aspect of the elbow.

In the case of the Golfer’s elbow, patients usually complain about tingling, weakness, numbness, and lessening of grip strength. A Golfer’s elbow is commonly seen in athletes involved in day-to-day activities such as weight lifting, pulling, and throwing. Diabetic patients are also at higher risk of contracting a golfer’s elbow.

a) Golfer’s Elbow Pain Treatment

Golfer’s elbow can be treated effectively by self-remedy. Relaxing your elbow until the pain is completely gone, Laying ice packs in the affected area about 2 to 4 times a day, performing stretching and strengthening exercises, placing a brace, and taking painkillers and anti-inflammatory medication. “Transverse friction massage” is a well-known technique frequently used to treat tennis and golfer’s elbows.

Tennis Elbow or Golfer's Elbow

7. Elbow Pain Due to Fracture

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A fracture in the elbow can be due to the breaking of bone near the elbow. The bone is part of the humerus, radius, or ulna. One can fracture the elbow when bumping into any hard object.

a) Symptoms of a Fractured Elbow 

  1. Swelling or inflammation
  2. bruises on the elbow
  3. experiencing elbow pain consistently.
  4. Elbow visibly out of position
  5. weakness in the wrist and hands
  6. fracturing sound at the time of banging
  7. Lack of sensation in the wrist and hands. Elbow pain during fracture is worse and requires immediate medical attention. In an emergency, one should consult an orthopedic doctor.

8. What is Repetitive Strain Injury(RSI)?

RSI is the type of elbow pain caused due to repetitive motion or overuse of the elbow or by doing exercise with the wrong technique. Common symptoms of RSI are prickling pain, throbbing, sternness, and weakness around the elbow, commonly seen in individuals involved in typing on computers, decorating, and hairdressing.

This condition of elbow pain can be treated in different ways, including self-remedy, therapies, and medication. Selfremedy methods include a warm compress that can lessen the painful muscles or joints, a cold compress using an ice pack to ease inflammation and reduce elbow pain, and avoiding extra training or physical activity to avoid worsening the condition. Therapy treatment includes stretching movements that help to boost flexibility and improve physical activity. Making use of the anti-inflammatory drug also reduces inflammation and pain.

9. What is Elbow Bursitis or Olecranon bursitis?

Elbow bursitis or Olecranon bursitis arises in the olecranon bursa, a thin fluid-filled sac located around the elbow and supports it. This condition of elbow pain around the elbow joint has a swelling impact. The common causes of this elbow bursitis are trauma that includes falling on the elbow or accidentally banging the elbow against a hard surface, infection, and gout; it is also common in sports persons who often get hurt while playing sports such as football, hockey, basketball, and volleyball players.


If the elbow pain is not treated at the right time, it can result in shoulder, back, or neck pain.

Last Updated on December 26, 2023 by