Why Does My Elbow Hurt When I Do Push Ups?
Push ups are a common exercise that target the chest, triceps, and shoulders. While they are highly effective for building upper body strength, many people experience elbow pain when performing this exercise. Understanding why this happens and how to prevent it can help you continue reaping the benefits of push ups without the discomfort. In this article, we will explore the reasons behind elbow pain during push ups and provide some interesting facts about this common issue.
1. Overuse and Repetitive Stress: One of the primary reasons for elbow pain during push ups is overuse and repetitive stress on the joint. Push ups require the elbows to bend and straighten repeatedly, leading to increased strain on the muscles and tendons surrounding the joint.
2. Incorrect Form: Another common cause of elbow pain during push ups is incorrect form. When performing push ups, it is crucial to maintain proper alignment and technique. Incorrect form, such as flaring out the elbows or placing excessive weight on the wrists, can put unnecessary stress on the elbows and lead to pain.
3. Weak Muscles: Weak muscles, particularly in the triceps and forearms, can contribute to elbow pain during push ups. When these muscles are not adequately conditioned, they may not be able to support the joint properly, leading to discomfort and potential injury.
4. Previous Injuries: Individuals who have previously injured their elbows may be more prone to experiencing pain during push ups. Previous injuries, such as sprains or strains, can weaken the joint and make it more susceptible to discomfort when performing strenuous exercises like push ups.
5. Tendonitis: Tendonitis, an inflammation of the tendons, can also cause elbow pain during push ups. Tendonitis often occurs due to overuse or repetitive movements, making push ups a common trigger for this condition.
Now, let’s address some common questions about elbow pain during push ups:
1. Should I continue doing push ups if my elbow hurts?
If you experience elbow pain during push ups, it is best to take a break and allow your elbow to rest and heal. Continuing to push through the pain can worsen the injury and delay the healing process.
2. How can I prevent elbow pain during push ups?
To prevent elbow pain, ensure you are using proper form, gradually increase the intensity of your workouts, and incorporate exercises that strengthen the muscles surrounding the elbow joint.
3. Can push ups cause long-term damage to my elbow?
While push ups can cause temporary discomfort, they typically do not cause long-term damage to the elbow joint. However, if you consistently experience pain, it is essential to seek medical advice to rule out any underlying conditions.
4. Should I modify my push up technique?
Modifying your push up technique can help alleviate elbow pain. Options include performing push ups on your knees, using push up handles or bars to reduce strain on the wrists, or switching to alternative exercises that do not aggravate the elbow joint.
5. How long does it take for elbow pain to heal?
The healing time for elbow pain can vary depending on the severity of the injury. However, with proper rest, icing, and avoiding activities that aggravate the pain, most cases of elbow pain during push ups should improve within a few weeks.
6. Does age play a role in elbow pain during push ups?
Age can play a role in elbow pain, as older individuals may have weaker joints and muscles. However, elbow pain during push ups can affect people of all ages, especially if they have underlying conditions or poor form.
7. Can I continue exercising while my elbow heals?
While it is essential to rest your elbow to allow it to heal, you can still engage in exercises that do not cause pain or strain the joint. Focus on strengthening other parts of your body while giving your elbow time to recover.
8. Are there any exercises I can do to prevent elbow pain during push ups?
Yes, exercises that strengthen the triceps, forearms, and wrists can help prevent elbow pain during push ups. Incorporate exercises such as tricep dips, forearm curls, and wrist curls into your routine.
9. Should I see a doctor if my elbow pain persists?
If your elbow pain persists despite rest and self-care measures, it is advisable to consult a healthcare professional. They can evaluate your condition, provide a proper diagnosis, and recommend appropriate treatment options.
10. Can push ups worsen an existing elbow injury?
Push ups can worsen an existing elbow injury if performed with incorrect form or if the joint is not given enough time to heal. Always listen to your body and consult a healthcare professional if you have concerns about aggravating an existing injury.
11. Can push ups help with elbow pain in the long run?
When performed correctly and with proper form, push ups can help strengthen the muscles surrounding the elbow joint, potentially reducing the risk of future pain or injury. However, it is essential to start slowly and gradually increase intensity to avoid overuse.
12. Should I warm up before doing push ups?
Warming up before any exercise, including push ups, can help prepare your muscles and joints for the activity. Spend a few minutes engaging in light cardio or dynamic stretches to increase blood flow and reduce the risk of injury.
13. Can I still do push ups if I have a history of elbow pain?
If you have a history of elbow pain, it is crucial to listen to your body and consult a healthcare professional. They can provide personalized advice and modifications to help you safely perform push ups without exacerbating the pain.
14. Are there any alternative exercises to push ups that target the same muscles?
Yes, several alternative exercises can target the same muscles as push ups without putting excessive strain on the elbows. These include chest presses, tricep dips, shoulder presses, and planks.
In conclusion, elbow pain during push ups can occur due to various factors such as overuse, incorrect form, weak muscles, previous injuries, and tendonitis. By understanding these causes and taking appropriate measures, such as using proper form, modifying technique, and allowing for proper rest and recovery, you can continue to perform push ups safely and effectively.