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Golfers Elbow????? What to do?
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cmagee1


Jan 13, 2011, 8:48 PM
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Golfers Elbow????? What to do?
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Hey all! Ive been climbing for around 3 months now. It being winter, I havent had a chance to get outside, but Ive been going to the gym at leas once a week since late October. However, I finally got around to buying a pass and have gone to the gym 3 times this week. I just progressed to climbing V2's pretty consistently, with the occasional V3. Mostly traverses with a few overhang or taller problems. The last time I was at the gym, yesterday, I noticed I tired a little quicker than usual, but didnt think much of it. however, today I was doing some fingertip pull ups and noticed a slight pain on the inside of my elbow right under that little bony protrusion. It just felt like a tweak though so I did a couple more sets. In short, the pain didnt stop after 30 seconds like I thought it would.
I have experience with stress injuries. I played soccer 6 days a week for a club team during my biggest growth years, leaving my knees and ankles practically wrecked for life. So naturally, the pain felt familiar, its a bit of a dull ache accompanied by the sick feeling that it might mean some down time. The pain hasnt stopped for the past two hours as Ive looked up symptoms and treatments. However I couldnt find anything talking about what to do if you catch it in the early stages. Like this is the first time its hurt at all. I immediately have stopped putting any stress on it. But I want to keep climbing! I dont want to lose the muscle Ive gained, Spring is coming and Smith Rock is calling my name!! How can I keep climbing without making the issue worse???


TheRucat


Jan 13, 2011, 8:59 PM
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Re: [cmagee1] Golfers Elbow????? What to do? [In reply to]
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cmagee1 wrote:
however, today I was doing some fingertip pull ups

I would say this is your problem. Like most beginners you seem to be focused on strength. Steer clear of the hangboard and take a few rest days. At this stage in the game you should not be focused on strength. This will likely lead to more injuries, hone your technique.


cmagee1


Jan 13, 2011, 9:25 PM
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Re: [TheRucat] Golfers Elbow????? What to do? [In reply to]
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Thanks for the input! Yeah I was wondering about that. Im definitely taking a break from the door frame for a while. Is there anything I can do to train technique at home then? Im just frustratingly stoked on climbing so its pretty much all I think about. Also any tips for further injury prevention? Its still only in one elbow so I think I got it early.


funintheslots


Jan 14, 2011, 7:44 AM
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Re: [cmagee1] Golfers Elbow????? What to do? [In reply to]
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I spent 9 months with this injury. This may help: http://tinyurl.com/4c6dekr

Number one for me was quit overstressing it - minimize crimpers, find joy in slopers, get plenty of rest between sessions.

Best of luck.

~R


saint_john


Jan 14, 2011, 8:58 AM
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Re: [funintheslots] Golfers Elbow????? What to do? [In reply to]
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you sound a lot like me...
I've been climbing for a few months and have been sending V2/3 problems at the gym. I'd climb everyday if my body would allow it.

At this point you do not need to do any climbing-specific strength training. just climb and work on technique. do easy problems over and over and over again. your strength will increase over time.


(This post was edited by saint_john on Jan 14, 2011, 9:04 AM)


Jooler


Jan 14, 2011, 9:24 AM
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Re: [cmagee1] Golfers Elbow????? What to do? [In reply to]
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I gotta agree with the article funintheslots posted. I had very similar symptoms to this about a year ago, which lasted for approximately 9 months. After seeing physio, they basically said the same thing as that article, my muscles have strengthened faster than my tendons, and now my tendons aren't happy! So I'll just reiterate what others have said, lay off the strength training for a while and let your tendons catch up.


cmagee1


Jan 15, 2011, 2:16 AM
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Thanks so much for your replies! So would you guys say that I should stop climbing altogether or keep going to the gym, just sticking to jugs and slopers? Also, how do I grab smaller holds without crimping??


Partner j_ung


Jan 15, 2011, 6:49 AM
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Re: [cmagee1] Golfers Elbow????? What to do? [In reply to]
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http://www.rockclimbing.com/...ers%20elbow;#2444903

There you go. Only a few days old. He claims 100% effectiveness and very low cost.


Jooler


Jan 15, 2011, 2:43 PM
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Re: [cmagee1] Golfers Elbow????? What to do? [In reply to]
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I wore an elbow brace and just did routes/problems I found easier, stopping as soon as I felt any discomfort. Don't go hard, but I don't think you need to isolate grips. Good luck!

Oh, and 8 hrs of sleep, as recovery happens the best as you sleep!


socalclimber


Jan 15, 2011, 3:55 PM
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The Ailment: Golfers Elbow
The Cure: Stop playing golf


cmagee1


Jan 21, 2011, 12:01 AM
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So its now been around a week and ive climbed easy a couple times with no symptoms. when is it okay to go back to climbing hard?


erisspirit


Jan 25, 2011, 10:24 AM
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Re: [cmagee1] Golfers Elbow????? What to do? [In reply to]
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I had this problem when I first started climbing. My buddy told me to do more push ups. I thought he was nuts, BUT it Helped! My particular problem was I was trying to climb harder than some of my muscles where ready for. Getting stronger with lower impact helped a lot.

(this was just my experience, and I know jack S**t about medical anything, so take anything with a grain of salt)


aprice00


Jan 25, 2011, 12:43 PM
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This is basically the same thing that happend to me. I started climbing about 3 months ago top roping. When it got too cold I moved in doors at the local climbing gym. On the first visit I climbed solid for 45min and got shut down with inner elbow and sholder pain. For the next two weeks it was the same story around 1hr climbing 3 hours of pain. (Ibprophen helps as anti-inflamitory). I looked up symptomes and it seems that I had a form of tendonitis with aching pain in the major arm joints. The other form was pain in the outer elbow (Tennis/Golfers elbow). Everything that I found online said to avoid the triggering activities, so since that wasn't an option I decided to keep climbing and just do what I could.
Then one day I went in with a buddy (=taking turns not climbing the whole time) and NO pain.
Now I climb 3 times a week in the non balls to the wall fashion and do a push-up twiced a week. I haven't had a flare-up since.
Anyway take this for what it is; a testimony.
good luck


djlachelt


Jan 25, 2011, 4:30 PM
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Re: [cmagee1] Golfers Elbow????? What to do? [In reply to]
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I'll make the standard disclaimer... "I'm not a medical person... etc".

I've been climbing for many years and never experienced this until last year. It was when I decided to do more strength training... lots of pull-ups, etc. I got the same symptom... "medial epicondylitis".

I don't think this has specifically to do with needing your tendons to strengthen and "catch up" with your muscles. In this case it is a repetitive motion injury of the flexor-pronator muscle where it joins to the humerus.

I also don't think this particular injury has to do with crimpers vs. slopers. If you were talking about tendon problems in your fingers or hand then the caution about crimpers would be appropriate. I was doing regular pull-ups on jugs and my symptoms were aggravated by any kind of climbing (slopers, crimpers, pinch, etc).

My doctor told me that pull-ups are particularly hard on the muscle at that point because the pull-up concentrates the force into that one point.

It took me a few months before my symptoms completely went away, but I never stopped climbing completely. I just stopped the intense pull-up training, and lowered the intensity of my climbing for a while... and iced my elbow at that point whenever it bothered me.

You were really wise to lay-off immediately after experiencing the symptoms. As for when to climb hard again... I think the reinging wisdom is to let pain be your guide. If you've climbed twice w/o pain then I'd say it is OK to start ramping back-up again. Avoid the pull-ups, and slowly ramp up the intensity, length and frequency of your sessions.

I found that during a session I wouldn't feel any pain, but then later it would start to hurt. So just because you feel good while climbing doesn't necessarily mean you are not doing damage. That's why I suggest slowly ramping up the length of your sessions, so you can evaluate whether things are still OK.

Also, take to heart the previous poster's recommendation of rest. While you are ramping up I'd suggest always taking a day off between your climbing days. And even when you are healthy 3 days in a row of hard climbing is generally too much.

If you notice pain returning, then obviously back off again.

Ice is of course a good and easy treatment if you do experience pain returning.

Instead of pull-ups you can spend that time working on your core and antagonistic muscles (push-ups, etc).

Good luck.


cmagee1


Jan 26, 2011, 8:10 PM
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Thank you all for the fabulous advice! Ive now climbed a few times, including the local crag without feeling any symptoms. With any luck it was just a ghost of the injury I was headed towards. Im now much wiser about training (especially pull ups) and have been working a lot on technique. Thanks guys! Heres to many more of tendonitis free climbing! Smile


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