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Golfer’s Elbow? Pain ABOVE the Elbow


Original Post
John Gassel · · Somerville, MA · Joined Jul 2011 · Points: 611

I’m pretty familiar with golfer’s elbow problems since it’s a nagging problem I’ve had over the years. For me the tendon is usually sore below the medial epicondyle (bony prominence). This time around it started in that familiar way. That’s healed up pretty well, but I’m left with similar type of pain above that spot leading up towards the tricep. 

Is this still considered golfer’s elbow or is it a different injury? What sort of self treatment do folks recommend?

Alan Coon · · Longmont, CO · Joined Feb 2013 · Points: 150

Hey man. Just had a flare up myself. This is going to sound like bs but it works for another jg that is sore/ inflamed. Going buy 100% frankincense oil and apply it to a cotton ball and apply it to the area before bed and when you wake up. Yes it smells but that stuff is amazing. I could barely flex my wrist for years from climbing/baseball/ turning a wrench and the pain was gone the next day. I now know I can get agrressive with stretching it and still keep the swelling/inflammation down. Worked on my elbow as well. Try it out dude you won’t be sorry. Just make sure it’s 100 percent pure oil and not the 20 percent watered down stuff. You can even just use it on the grocery since it’s so pricey ($20/30 for 100ml)

FrankPS · · Atascadero, CA · Joined Nov 2009 · Points: 275

See a doctor.

Optimistic · · New Paltz · Joined Aug 2007 · Points: 290

I would take this to a physical therapist, not a doctor. But if you want to work on it yourself and get advice from here, you need to be much more specific about where the pain is, what makes it better and worse, and what, if anything, you think might have directly contributed to the injury. A picture of your elbow, with your finger pointing to the painful spot, would be helpful. Hope you heal up soon! 

T G · · Boulder, CO · Joined Jun 2015 · Points: 1

Is your pain medial/inside the joint or at the back of the joint (under triceps loading)? If medial, it's still likely medial epicondylitis. If posterior it could be triceps tendonitis/tendinosis. You'd experience them as different injuries, though. For medial epicondylitis you really need to strengthen upstream of the injury, too: the shoulder girdle, trapezius, lats, and rhomboids in addition to being aggressive with the typical elbow PT you're used to doing. And you really should think about your climbing technique if you're having ongoing issues with repeated bouts of tendinosis...

Seb303 · · Denver, CO · Joined Sep 2015 · Points: 10

Have you tried the ArmAid?  That or a stick with the same type roller balls on it.  I had pain in the exact spot you described and using Armaid 2-3 times a week makes it disappear.  Also works on forearm tendinitis.  You could also add in some antagonistic training with rubber bands or rubber stick.  I certainly don't think your climbing technique has anything to do with it.  Every climber I know who climbs over 5.12 and trains regularly has experienced some form of tendinitis.

John Gassel · · Somerville, MA · Joined Jul 2011 · Points: 611

Thanks for the comments so far. I'll try to get a picture posted up here but I need to get another person to man the camera.  Anyways, it's definitely on the medial side.

For medial epicondylitis you really need to strengthen upstream of the injury, too: the shoulder girdle, trapezius, lats, and rhomboids in addition to being aggressive with the typical elbow PT you're used to doing.

I definitely agree.  The same advice is really clear through the golfer's elbow help by Ester Smith on selftreatment.com in her video that I purchased.  I was pretty diligent about doing the full protocol when I first got got the video and my symptoms were pretty severe.  Since then I've fallen into just the elbow speicifc rehab exercise portion.

and you really should think about your climbing technique if you're having ongoing issues with repeated bouts of tendinosis...

Yeah, it tends to flare up this time of year annually.  I'm pretty certain it's due to the high volume of ice climbing in the winter.


John Gassel · · Somerville, MA · Joined Jul 2011 · Points: 611
Seb303 wrote:

Have you tried the ArmAid?  That or a stick with the same type roller balls on it.  I had pain in the exact spot you described and using Armaid 2-3 times a week makes it disappear.  Also works on forearm tendinitis.  You could also add in some antagonistic training with rubber bands or rubber stick.  I certainly don't think your climbing technique has anything to do with it.  Every climber I know who climbs over 5.12 and trains regularly has experienced some form of tendinitis.

Oh yeah, I definitely have an armaid. I typically just use it on the forearm though.  I'm curious if you use it on your upper arm area (bicep/tricep) for this sort of pain?

grog m aka Greg McKee · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Aug 2012 · Points: 70

I had ET on and off for 4 years. I have had it in both elbows and a bunch of different locations. It went through dormant phases but always reappeared, until one year ago.. For me, the root cause of the issue was muscle imbalances. Your biceps, lats, and forearm flexors become very developed from climbing. But your triceps, pecs, and extensors get underdeveloped. So the key was really stepping up my workout game for those muscles. I recommend the same for everyone. 

And I am not talking about 30 push ups every time you go climbing. Im talking a dedicated day (I take one lunch a week) to chest and tricep muscles. 

Slim Vincent · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Feb 2017 · Points: 0

https://tomrandallclimbing.wordpress.com/2012/11/23/golfers-elbow-a-possible-solution/


This worked for me better than anything else I've found.

NCD · · Boulder, CO · Joined Jan 2015 · Points: 50
Slim Vincent wrote:

https://tomrandallclimbing.wordpress.com/2012/11/23/golfers-elbow-a-possible-solution/


This worked for me better than anything else I've found.

Yep, I found some solid benefit to this stretch also. I found the same article linked in another discussion awhile ago and when I went to PT this week it was one of the stretches prescribed. What made a difference for this and other stretches seems to be locking the elbows straight as possible.

This was probably already linked but if not it’s a must read and of more value than any of my doctor or PT visits. http://rockandice.com/climbing-injury-prevention/dodgy-elbows-revisited/

I found these in another discussion also and not sure about direct help with elbow tendinitis but they seem fantastic regardless. https://youtu.be/-hlWgH3_0NU

MTruelove · · Fort CollIins · Joined Nov 2011 · Points: 0

See a PT. A lot of people tend to self diagnose including myself. I thought I was struggling with elbow tendinitis for a very long time and it turned out to be a combination of really tight muscles and poor posture. I was given a few different stretches to do but the best thing i have ever done for myself was get dry needling done. After years of on and off pain, I am now able to climb pain free and feel better than ever. In short, if you can't fix your elbow pain maybe just go talk to a professional. It may seem like a pain but it was the best thing I ever did for myself. Ask about dry needling. Hope this helps. 

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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