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Elbow Pain and Over Gripping
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nobelium106


Mar 4, 2014, 9:57 AM
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Elbow Pain and Over Gripping
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OK, so here is my dilemma.

Background - Ever since I first started climbing about a year ago, I have had off and on pain on the inside of my elbow. Fortunately, I was climbing through a class at my college, and was able to get some info from the guys who ran the local gym. I got basic advice about climber's elbow. This was mostly about good stretches, icing, rest, and reliance on form, especially since I was living in the overhanging bouldering caves at that point and, being a bit of top heavy dude, already had more weight on the arms that I was relying on too much. After a while, all goes well. Later I found that if I took too much time off and tried to jump back in to quickly, the same thing happened, so i learned to pace myself in getting back up to speed.

Now - I started doing lead climb training here, at the same gym (great place, haven't been able to stay away since that first class). However, I found that this elbow pain has been persistent ever since. With a lot of work and careful climbing, I can postpone it for a few routes, but never indefinitely. While working on what should have been a smooth 5.8 with one of the guys there (also the teacher for the college class), I found that even with hardly any pull on my arms this pain was coming in strong, and I was burning out waaaay too fast. The teacher saw the burning out part of all this, and started talking to me about over gripping. Now I admit, until this point (this point being pretty recent), even when trying to minimize the use of my biceps and such to get up, I tended to attempt a dry weld on every hold.

The Question - It seems likely to me, but could this elbow issue still be coming up due to using too much forearm when grabbing the holds? Or are these unrelated issues and I'm grasping at straws? Any ideas, advice, or even nitty gritty physiology details are all appreciated

-Nobel


shockabuku


Mar 4, 2014, 6:45 PM
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Re: [nobelium106] Elbow Pain and Over Gripping [In reply to]
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nobelium106 wrote:
OK, so here is my dilemma.

Background - Ever since I first started climbing about a year ago, I have had off and on pain on the inside of my elbow. Fortunately, I was climbing through a class at my college, and was able to get some info from the guys who ran the local gym. I got basic advice about climber's elbow. This was mostly about good stretches, icing, rest, and reliance on form, especially since I was living in the overhanging bouldering caves at that point and, being a bit of top heavy dude, already had more weight on the arms that I was relying on too much. After a while, all goes well. Later I found that if I took too much time off and tried to jump back in to quickly, the same thing happened, so i learned to pace myself in getting back up to speed.

Now - I started doing lead climb training here, at the same gym (great place, haven't been able to stay away since that first class). However, I found that this elbow pain has been persistent ever since. With a lot of work and careful climbing, I can postpone it for a few routes, but never indefinitely. While working on what should have been a smooth 5.8 with one of the guys there (also the teacher for the college class), I found that even with hardly any pull on my arms this pain was coming in strong, and I was burning out waaaay too fast. The teacher saw the burning out part of all this, and started talking to me about over gripping. Now I admit, until this point (this point being pretty recent), even when trying to minimize the use of my biceps and such to get up, I tended to attempt a dry weld on every hold.

The Question - It seems likely to me, but could this elbow issue still be coming up due to using too much forearm when grabbing the holds? Or are these unrelated issues and I'm grasping at straws? Any ideas, advice, or even nitty gritty physiology details are all appreciated

-Nobel

Not sure what "using too much forearm" means. I don't know what else would cause your hand to grip something but likely not overgripping will help a little. Most say it's an overuse injury, I get the impression it's certainly more aggravated by high intensity (i.e. bouldering, campusing, lots of pullups).

You should read this guy's blog: http://www.rockclimbing.com/...post=2642372#2642372. I used similar treatment for my tendonitis though it was on the other side of the joint.


kennoyce


Mar 5, 2014, 6:27 AM
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Re: [nobelium106] Elbow Pain and Over Gripping [In reply to]
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DISCLAMER: I AM NOT A MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL, YOU SHOULD GO SEE A DOCTOR.

So it sounds to me like you are suffering from tendonosis. The way it's been explained to me is that there are two main types of injuries that you can get in your elbow tendons, Tendonitis, and Tendonosis. Many times climbers say that they have tendonitis when it's really tendonosis. Tendonitis is an inflammation of the tendon and causes sharp immediate pain, whereas from what I understand, tendonosis is caused by the breaking down of the tendon (which is also accompanied by inflamation) and is felt as more of a dull continuous pain that gets worse with use.

The problem is that tendons take a lot longer to strengthen then muscles due to the lack of blood flow through the tendon. When you work a muscle, the muscle is broken down, then can quickly rebuild itself and make itself stronger, with a tendon, you work it, it gets broken down, but then it doesn't have time to rebuild itself before you are breaking it down again, so it is constantly getting weaker rather than stronger unless you either don't work it too hard, or give it a much longer time to heal.

Again, the above is just what I've heard and may or may not be 100% correct.

What I do know is that reverse wrist curls always help with my elbow tendonosis. to do reverse wrist curls, I sit on a couch, put my elbow on the arm wrest, and hold a 20lb dumbell in my fingers, palm up, with my wrist straight. I then slowly lower the weight until my wrist is bent at 90 degrees. Next, you use your other hand to lift the weight as you bring your wrist back to straight and repeat. I'll generally do 3 sets of 10 of these 3 times a week on non climbing days and it helps out immensley.

From what I understand, somehow this excercise promotes the strengthening of the inner elbow tendons without breaking them down (that's why you lift the weight back up with your other hand), and it always gets rid of my elbow pain after a couple of weeks of doing it.

I hope that something in this long rambeling post was helpful;)


nobelium106


Mar 19, 2014, 9:14 AM
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Registered: Feb 22, 2014
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Re: [kennoyce] Elbow Pain and Over Gripping [In reply to]
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Thanks for your responses, especially that blog
In reply to:
shockabuku
. I can't say for certain if controlling my grip or the stretches/exercises is doing it, or both, but there is a very noticeable difference in how much time I can actually spend on the walls. Thanks!


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