Why Does My Elbow Hurt When I Do Pushups

Why Does My Elbow Hurt When I Do Pushups?

Pushups are one of the most popular and effective exercises for building upper body strength and toning your muscles. However, if you experience elbow pain while performing this exercise, it can be quite frustrating and may even hinder your progress. Here, we will explore the reasons behind this discomfort and provide you with some interesting facts to help you understand why your elbows hurt during pushups.

1. Overuse and Repetitive Strain: One of the main reasons for elbow pain during pushups is overuse and repetitive strain. When you perform pushups regularly or with incorrect form, it can put excessive stress on your elbow joints, leading to discomfort and pain.

2. Tennis Elbow: Another common cause of elbow pain during pushups is a condition called tennis elbow or lateral epicondylitis. This condition occurs when the tendons in your elbow become inflamed due to repetitive motion or overuse. The repetitive nature of pushups can exacerbate this condition and cause pain during the exercise.

3. Incorrect Form: Maintaining proper form is crucial when doing pushups, as it helps distribute the load evenly across your muscles and joints. If you have incorrect form, such as flaring your elbows outwards or arching your back, it can put unnecessary strain on your elbows and lead to pain.

4. Weak Muscles or Imbalances: Weak muscles or muscle imbalances in your upper body can also contribute to elbow pain during pushups. When certain muscles are weaker than others, they may not be able to handle the load properly, causing excessive stress on the elbow joints.

5. Preexisting Conditions: Some individuals may already have preexisting conditions, such as arthritis or tendinitis, which can make their elbows more susceptible to pain during pushups. These conditions can be aggravated the repetitive nature of the exercise, leading to discomfort.

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Now that we have explored the reasons behind elbow pain during pushups, let’s move on to some common questions you may have:

1. Should I continue doing pushups if my elbows hurt?
If your elbows hurt during pushups, it is advisable to take a break and allow your elbows to rest and recover. Continuing to push through the pain can worsen the condition and lead to further injury.

2. How can I prevent elbow pain during pushups?
To prevent elbow pain, focus on maintaining proper form during pushups. Keep your elbows close to your body and engage your core muscles to reduce strain on your elbows. Additionally, gradually increase the intensity and volume of your pushup routine to allow your muscles to adapt.

3. Can I modify pushups to alleviate elbow pain?
Yes, modifying pushups can help alleviate elbow pain. You can try performing pushups on an incline or using pushup handles to reduce the stress on your elbows. Additionally, incorporating other upper body exercises that do not aggravate your elbows can help maintain your upper body strength.

4. Should I consult a doctor if my elbows hurt during pushups?
If the pain persists or worsens, it is recommended to consult a doctor or a physical therapist. They can evaluate your condition, provide a proper diagnosis, and suggest appropriate treatment options.

5. Can I do other exercises to strengthen my upper body without causing elbow pain?
Yes, there are several other exercises that can help strengthen your upper body without causing elbow pain. Some examples include chest presses, dumbbell rows, shoulder presses, and bicep curls. It is important to focus on maintaining proper form and gradually increasing the intensity of these exercises.

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6. How long does it take for elbow pain during pushups to go away?
The duration for elbow pain to go away can vary depending on the severity of the condition and individual factors. With proper rest, modifications, and rehabilitation exercises, most cases of elbow pain during pushups improve within a few weeks.

7. Can I use ice or heat therapy to alleviate elbow pain?
Yes, both ice and heat therapy can be beneficial in reducing elbow pain. Applying ice packs for 15-20 minutes several times a day can help reduce inflammation, while heat therapy can help relax the muscles and improve blood circulation.

8. Can I take over-the-counter pain medication for elbow pain during pushups?
Over-the-counter pain medications, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen, can provide temporary relief from elbow pain during pushups. However, it is important to consult a healthcare professional or pharmacist before taking any medication.

9. Can stretching help prevent elbow pain during pushups?
Yes, stretching exercises can help prevent elbow pain improving the flexibility and range of motion of your muscles and tendons. Incorporating forearm stretches and tricep stretches into your warm-up routine can be beneficial.

10. Should I stop doing pushups altogether if my elbows hurt?
Stopping pushups altogether is not necessary if you experience elbow pain. Instead, it is recommended to modify your technique, incorporate rest periods, and gradually reintroduce pushups into your routine once the pain subsides.

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11. Can I use resistance bands to strengthen my muscles without causing elbow pain?
Yes, using resistance bands can be an effective way to strengthen your muscles without causing excessive strain on your elbows. Resistance band exercises, such as bicep curls or tricep extensions, can help improve your upper body strength.

12. Can pushup variations help alleviate elbow pain?
Yes, pushup variations can help alleviate elbow pain reducing the stress on your elbows. For example, performing pushups on your knees or doing wall pushups can be less demanding on your elbows while still providing a workout for your upper body.

13. Can I do strength training exercises for my elbows to prevent pain during pushups?
Yes, incorporating strength training exercises specifically targeting your elbow muscles can help prevent pain during pushups. Examples include wrist curls, wrist extensions, and forearm pronation and supination exercises.

14. When should I seek medical attention for elbow pain during pushups?
You should seek medical attention if the pain is severe, does not improve with rest, or is accompanied swelling, redness, or a loss of range of motion in your elbow joint. These symptoms may indicate a more serious underlying condition that requires medical intervention.

In conclusion, elbow pain during pushups can be attributed to various factors such as overuse, incorrect form, weak muscles, or preexisting conditions. By understanding the reasons behind this discomfort and implementing proper modifications, rest, and rehabilitation exercises, you can alleviate elbow pain and continue to enjoy the benefits of pushups in your fitness routine. Remember, it is essential to listen to your body and seek medical advice if the pain persists or worsens.

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