Tennis Elbow

General climbing discussions. Climbing, Bouldering, Mountaineering. Anything!!
**Keep the arguments to the suject, not the members!
Post Reply
Posts: 9
Joined: Tue Sep 14, 2010 8:40 pm
Real Name: Geoff Moore

Tennis Elbow

Post by GEOFFREYM » Wed Jan 29, 2014 8:54 pm

Hi I have got tendinitis in my elbow (tennis elbow). Been to chiropractor and had acupuncture. Been told not to climb for 3 months. Any suggestions/quick fixes ??

User avatar
Posts: 299
Joined: Mon Jul 02, 2007 9:55 am
Real Name: Brian Weaver
Location: Pretoria

Re: Tennis Elbow

Post by brianweaver » Wed Jan 29, 2014 10:35 pm

Not climbing is the wrong answer. I've been through something similar. What you need to do is a little research on how to strengthen the alternative muscles in the your arms (like triceps) to decrease the amount of tension that is going through your elbow. You definitely need to take it easy on climbing but by stopping for 3 months you won't benefit at all, in fact the process will probably slow your recovery. has some good advice. Do a lot of alternative reading to make sure you are informed about your decision. Don't put all your trust someone who is not a climber to give you advice about a climbing injury.
I hate this real world place... I'd be more than happy to live out there rather...

User avatar
Posts: 714
Joined: Sun Mar 22, 2009 7:34 pm
Real Name: Everyday Troll

Re: Tennis Elbow

Post by Forket » Thu Jan 30, 2014 12:53 am

we had this convo earlier this week amongs some very frequent climbers.

General consensus:

Push ups
Msm (can be purchased from dischem. Not the tablets. The powder. Its a tendon fixer and strengther)

My elbows started hurting 2 weeks ago. Did some dips, a lot, some easier climbing, now im good again:)

Posts: 84
Joined: Fri Aug 04, 2006 9:21 am

Re: Tennis Elbow

Post by toejam » Thu Jan 30, 2014 7:27 am

Keep climbing!

Chris F
Posts: 770
Joined: Fri Sep 22, 2006 1:45 pm
Location: Aberdeen, Scotland

Re: Tennis Elbow

Post by Chris F » Thu Jan 30, 2014 10:48 am

Surely a smart physio (pref one with some knowledge of climbing injuries) would be better than a chiropractor?

Brian's article is good, also read the "dodgy elbows" article here. which covers some common ground. The stretch described really helps me.

In fact read all the articles, you will probably need most of them at some point.

The bottom one about Dupuytrens is relevant to Forket's post, as taking Glucoasamine / MSM supplements has been linked to acceleration of this condition. Taking it definitely made mine worse, so make sure you have no signs of it or family history before taking these supplements.

User avatar
The Jimmy
Posts: 238
Joined: Fri Feb 24, 2006 10:15 am
Real Name: Niel Mostert

Re: Tennis Elbow

Post by The Jimmy » Thu Jan 30, 2014 11:15 am

First step is to make sure you (or someone qualified) diagnoses your injury correctly, i.e. tendonitis vs. tendonosis vs. whatever. Then I'd recommend a lot of reading up and depending on the severity of your injury, looking into finding a good physio, preferably one with climbing experience. The treatments for the different types of elbow injuries vary considerably and you could end up getting much worse before you get better. And this is me speaking from personal experience btw 8)

good luck!

Posts: 590
Joined: Thu Jun 02, 2005 7:13 pm

Re: Tennis Elbow

Post by Stu » Thu Jan 30, 2014 11:36 am

Had the same thing, try and climb through it. Obviously not pushing the limits on a daily basis...

User avatar
Posts: 235
Joined: Fri Nov 19, 2010 3:04 am
Real Name: Dirk Talma
Location: Pretoria

Re: Tennis Elbow

Post by dirktalma » Thu Jan 30, 2014 11:52 am

Posts: 423
Joined: Mon Jan 16, 2006 8:21 pm

Re: Tennis Elbow

Post by Hector » Thu Jan 30, 2014 2:36 pm

I've just recovered from a bout of golfer's elbow (pain on the inside knob of the elbow, whereas tennis elbow is on the outside knob). Biokineticist's exercises, platelet injections and sports physician's advice did nothing. After much despondency and expense, and no climbing for 6 weeks I started the eccentric exercises described here:
They worked amazingly well.

I found researching eccentric tendon exercise theory very helpful (most of it is about Achilles' tendon injuries but the same theory can be applied to forearm tendons). This is good: ... ng2011.pdf

The ideas I found useful:
1. Muscles get stronger more quickly than tendons, partly because they have better blood flow
2. When training hard, strengthening muscles can strain slower-developing tendons
3. Eccentric exercises are designed to stress the tendons without activating the muscles that caused the injury
4. In the case of forearms this is done by slowly lowering a weight, resisting gravity. The exact motion depends on which tendon is hurt.
5. Slowly increasing the intensity of the tendon stress over weeks makes them stronger. Eventually they'll match or exceed the muscle strength
6. Do lots of stretching before eccentric exercises
7. Expect the tendon to be sore while eccentrically exercising, but it shouldn't be sore afterwards
8. I was surprised at how much weight I used. 5kg with a lever of 10 to 20cm from my hand for the wrist rotating exercise. 10kg for the wrist extension exercise. Importantly the weight is built up over time, and how much weight is not a competition.
9. It was very helpful to study good anatomical drawings of the forearm to figure out exactly where it was sore, which muscle caused the injury, and what movements made it worse
10. I’ve been told the treatment for acute injuries (where a sudden shock causes tendon damage) is different to progressive injury treatment like mine (where damage occurs incrementally over time)
11. It’s important to do other antagonistic muscle exercises as well, to make sure you don’t get another injury when you start climbing again. Push ups are great for shoulders and sore elbows. Emphasise good form with your elbows tucked in close to your torso. Do them slowly and don’t lower all the way down if your core is sagging through. Shoulder stretches and the usual arsenal of shoulder exercises for climbers also help
12. When you start climbing and training again avoid crimps like the plague. Open hand everything
13. It is helpful to get as many opinions as possible, but be sceptical and filter everything with what you’re actually experiencing. I don’t think many medics understand the stress we put our forearms and fingers through. They’ll say stuff like “you can climb, but just don’t pull hard with your elbow.” Seriously?

I started easing back into climbing after 6 weeks, but if I’d started the exercises earlier this would have been way sooner. It took about two weeks of exercises before I noticed an appreciable difference in pain while climbing. After that it got better quickly. Its four months now and my elbow’s still slightly sore, but it’s not affecting my climbing anymore.

Post Reply