Elbow Hurts When Doing Push Ups: Causes and Solutions
Push-ups are a popular exercise that primarily target the chest, shoulders, and triceps. However, many people experience elbow pain when performing this seemingly simple movement. If you’re one of them, you’re not alone. Elbow pain during push-ups is a common complaint among both beginners and experienced fitness enthusiasts. In this article, we will explore the possible causes of elbow pain during push-ups and provide some solutions to help you overcome this issue.
Causes of Elbow Pain during Push-ups:
1. Incorrect Form: One of the most common causes of elbow pain during push-ups is improper form. If you’re not maintaining a straight line from your head to your heels or flaring your elbows out excessively, you put undue stress on your elbows, leading to pain.
2. Weak Muscles: Weak triceps or shoulder muscles can contribute to elbow pain during push-ups. When these muscles are not adequately strengthened, the load is transferred to the elbows, causing discomfort.
3. Overuse/Repetitive Strain: Overdoing push-ups or performing them too frequently without allowing ample recovery time can lead to overuse injuries, including elbow pain.
4. Tendonitis: Elbow tendonitis, also known as tennis elbow or golfer’s elbow, can be aggravated the repetitive motion of push-ups. This condition causes inflammation and pain in the tendons around the elbow joint.
5. Previous Injuries: If you have had prior elbow injuries, such as sprains or fractures, performing push-ups may exacerbate the pain and discomfort.
Solutions to Alleviate Elbow Pain during Push-ups:
1. Check Your Form: Ensure that your body is aligned properly maintaining a straight line from head to heels. Keep your elbows tucked in at a 45-degree angle to reduce stress on the joints.
2. Modify Your Hand Position: Experiment with different hand positions, such as wider or narrower, to find a grip that is more comfortable for your elbows.
3. Strengthen Supporting Muscles: Incorporate exercises that specifically target the triceps and shoulders, such as tricep dips and shoulder presses, to build strength and stability in these areas.
4. Gradually Increase Intensity: If you’re just starting with push-ups or returning after a break, gradually increase the intensity and volume to allow your muscles and joints to adapt.
5. Take Breaks and Rest: Allow enough time for recovery between push-up sessions to avoid overuse injuries. Listen to your body and give it the rest it needs.
Now, let’s address some common questions related to elbow pain during push-ups:
1. Can push-ups cause long-term damage to my elbows?
While push-ups can cause discomfort, they typically don’t cause long-term damage unless performed improperly or excessively. However, if you experience persistent pain, it’s important to consult a healthcare professional.
2. Should I continue doing push-ups if my elbows hurt?
If your elbows are in pain during push-ups, it’s best to take a break and allow them to recover. Modify your exercise routine and focus on strengthening exercises that don’t aggravate the pain.
3. How can I prevent elbow pain during push-ups?
Focus on maintaining proper form, strengthening supporting muscles, and giving your body enough time to recover between workouts. Gradually increase the intensity and volume of your push-ups to avoid overuse injuries.
4. Are there any alternative exercises to push-ups that are easier on the elbows?
Yes, some alternatives to push-ups that put less stress on the elbows include chest presses, dumbbell flyes, and resistance band exercises.
5. Should I ice my elbows after push-up workouts?
If you experience mild discomfort or inflammation, applying ice wrapped in a cloth to your elbows for 15-20 minutes can help reduce swelling and relieve pain.
6. Can push-ups help alleviate elbow pain in the long run?
When performed with proper form and gradually increased intensity, push-ups can strengthen the muscles around the elbows, potentially relieving pain in the long run. However, it’s essential to listen to your body and not push through excessive pain.
7. Can elbow pain during push-ups be a sign of an underlying medical condition?
In some cases, elbow pain during push-ups can be a symptom of an underlying medical condition, such as tendinitis or arthritis. If the pain persists or worsens, it’s recommended to consult a healthcare professional for a proper diagnosis.
8. Should I warm up before doing push-ups to prevent elbow pain?
Yes, warming up before any exercise, including push-ups, can help prepare your muscles and joints for the activity, reducing the risk of injury.
9. What should I do if my elbows hurt even when performing modified push-ups?
If your elbows continue to hurt even when performing modified push-ups or alternative exercises, it’s advisable to seek medical advice to rule out any serious underlying conditions.
10. Can improper breathing technique contribute to elbow pain during push-ups?
Improper breathing technique can lead to increased tension in the upper body, including the elbows. Focus on breathing deeply and exhaling as you push your body away from the ground during each rep.
11. Are there any specific stretches that can help alleviate elbow pain after push-ups?
Stretching exercises like triceps stretches, wrist flexor stretches, and forearm stretches can help alleviate elbow pain after push-ups. Perform these stretches gently and hold for 15-30 seconds on each side.
12. Can push-ups cause nerve impingement in the elbows?
Push-ups themselves are unlikely to cause nerve impingement in the elbows. However, excessive stress on the elbows or improper form can potentially irritate the nerves, leading to symptoms like tingling or numbness. If you experience such symptoms, it’s advisable to consult a healthcare professional.
13. Is it normal to have some discomfort during push-ups, or should they be pain-free?
Some discomfort, especially in the muscles being worked, is normal during exercise. However, if you experience sharp or intense pain in your elbows, it’s a sign of improper form or an underlying issue.
14. Can I use elbow sleeves or braces to alleviate elbow pain during push-ups?
Elbow sleeves or braces can provide mild support and compression, which may help alleviate elbow pain during push-ups for some individuals. However, it’s important to consult a healthcare professional to determine if such aids are suitable for your specific condition.
Remember that everyone’s body is unique, and what works for one person may not work for another. It’s crucial to listen to your body, make modifications as needed, and seek professional guidance if the pain persists or worsens. By practicing proper form, gradually increasing intensity, and taking care of your overall elbow health, you can continue to enjoy the benefits of push-ups without experiencing discomfort.