/ Injuries! help please!

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TAI on 10 Dec 2012
I have been climbing for a little over a year now, and I have plateaued at climbing V5/7a+. This has mainly been due injuries which I have sustained in both elbows.

I have had this problem for months now, and it has stopped me from training. The pain has been on both the outside and the inside of my elbow, it comes and goes but does this often enough to prevent me from improving.

I think it may be a RSI or tennis elbow type of injury, but I have no-idea on how to get rid of it i.e. exercises or some such, any ideas?

Thanks! help will be appreciated!
Elrond - on 10 Dec 2012
In reply to Rhapsody:

Perhaps try the Armaid? I haven't personally tried it, but I have heard much good stuff about it for elbow injuries. May be worth a try to progress further?
TAI on 10 Dec 2012
In reply to Shadowmaster: yeah, should have mentioned that, I have one and I wear it when I climb but I still have the injury... so I'm not sure it's working.
iksander on 11 Dec 2012
In reply to Rhapsody: Bad news... stop climbing til it gets better
The Ivanator - on 11 Dec 2012
In reply to Rhapsody:
The guru on climbing injuries and effective recovery is Dave Macleod, there are some interesting articles on his blog under the injuries category:
Not sure if your specific problem is described, but I found following some of the tips from Dave's blog really accelerated my recovery from a pulley injury. The ice therapy he recommends (immersion in chilled water twice daily for 10 minutes+) is particularly effective. You could try emailing Dave through his site for advice, I believe he is currently working on a book devoted to advice on climbing injuries.
Good luck with the recovery.

ESTBrokenspirit - on 11 Dec 2012
Try taking some celery seed tablets from Holland & barrets , It helps me when the tennis elbow flares up , its a good antiy inflammatory that seems to work well on tendons .When I first tried it I was suffering big time and thought I was gonna have to give up climbing forever .within a week I was 90% better . Use short term .
If you do give it a go please can you let me know you results .
John_Hat - on 11 Dec 2012
In reply to Rhapsody:

Go see physio or a consultant? If its been a problem for months probably not a bad idea..

..or you could randomly take advice from a load of unqualified folk you don't know on the internet... up to you really!

turtlespit - on 11 Dec 2012
In reply to Rhapsody:

Look at this exercise -

My girlfriend, who's climbed for 10 years, and regularly does yoga (2-3 times per week)developed some elbow tendonitis in July when she stopped doing yoga for 6 weeks. Resumed yoga plus the above exercises and it was pain free by November. She continued to climb (trying routes F7a-F7b) but backed off on moves that would cause elbow pain.

I also do the above exercises; exercises for the top of the forearm as a preventative measure.

Re: stopping climbing to recover, here's a good article from Dave MacLeod -

The Ex-Engineer - on 11 Dec 2012
In reply to Rhapsody: Once the pain dies down enough for you to do some easy climbing again, do 100+ press-ups EVERY time you climb, either during or after the climbing session.

If you aren't already doing several hundred press-ups (or bench-presses, dips etc.) each week then it is pretty much certain that you are suffering from not doing enough antagonistic muscle training. You have been pulling too much with your elbows and not pushing enough. Change that, do press-ups and there is a very good chance you will completely solve the problem over a few weeks, if not a couple of months.

If you already have a perfectly balanced training plan of complimentary exercise and antagonist muscle training then go and see a physiotherapist, if not, get to like doing push-ups.
chris j on 12 Dec 2012
In reply to Rhapsody: Bad elbows?

Lots of information and various opinions in these threads:,9343.msg382448.html#msg382448,19421.msg347830.html#msg347830

Interesting article here:

Getting rid of it will probably be a long term process. As others have mentioned, press-ups and antagonist exercises are important to prevent it coming back. Some problems that manifest in the elbow actually turn out to be caused by misalignments and impingements in the shoulders (consequences of that hunched over posture many climbers end up with) - seeing a physio and having your range of movement and posture assessed and recommendations for exercises would probably be a good idea.

Ref the Armaid, doesn't Dave mac pretty much damn it with faint praise and suggest it purely treats the symptoms rather than helping the cause?
chris j on 12 Dec 2012
In reply to chris j: My own long term elbow problems cleared up after I started a weights and stretching routine incorporating deadlifts, barbell overhead press, lateral raises, bent over lateral raises, reverse eccentric curls and stretching of the pecs, lats and shoulder muscles.

I've been away from home with work the last few weeks and unable to do this routine. No climbing but just sitting in front of a computer and I can feel my shoulders hunching forward and my elbows tightening up again. Yoga (which I am doing every day) I have found actually has very little effect on my elbows.
MrW on 12 Dec 2012 -
In reply to Rhapsody:

Oi. Get to a doctor now. Man no need to wait you've got it bad. If he recommends a physio take it. If he recommends pain killers get em. Because the physio is gonna kill. Like mad.

Ask about blood flow stimulation. I had my elbows torn up real good and my physio recommended I look into a blood flow stimulation kit. Works like magic. No problems after. Here. Check this out.
sianabanana - on 12 Dec 2012
In reply to Rhapsody:

Inside elbow sounds like golfers elbow to me? (opposite side to tennis elbow)

I do different exercises with a resistance band that seems to ease the pain and help cure it. But when I train more and don't do these exercises it comes back, so one to keep on top of.

Google it and give some a try.

Other than that, I would suggest go see a physio. Takes the guess work away and may save you the time guessing if you have the money to spend.
Nick Russell on 12 Dec 2012
In reply to Rhapsody:

If you've got to V5/F7a+ in just over a year, you must have been climbing a lot, with probably a high fraction of that bouldering. You say the elbow pain is preventing you from training, but what's the longest period you've taken with absolutely no climbing (not "just a short session at the wall", etc.)?

Anecdotal I know, but a friend of mine followed a very similar trajectory - improving very rapidly over the course of a year by spending 2-4 hours at a bouldering wall 5+ times per week. He started getting elbow problems, people would tell him to just rest for a week or so, he'd agree, but then we'd see him at the bouldering wall again 48 hours later (because the pain had eased off, so he thought it would be ok). Maybe this doesn't apply to you, but I think it's easy to kid yourself that you've rested for long enough when it's only been a couple of days!

As far as proactive treatments go, I think the advice about antagonist muscles is good (though 100+ press ups per training session sounds a little on the high side!). Have you heard of eccentrics as treatment for tennis (and golfers) elbow? Here's Dave Mac's discussion:
It may be worth a try.

Hope it gets better soon!
mick.h on 12 Dec 2012
In reply to Rhapsody:

You wear Armaid when you climb?? That must be kinda awkward

If you haven't already, Google it - really helped me with golfers elbow (aka medial epicondylitis - pain on the inside of your elbow)
TAI on 12 Dec 2012
In reply to John_Hat: Hahaha, hmmm... sounds like a plan! random advice it is! good idea though, I will have to investigate further. Thanks!
TAI on 12 Dec 2012
In reply to The Ex-Engineer: Thanks a lot! that's a good point, I don't think I do enough press-ups and other antagonistic muscle training, I will get right on it! Thanks again.
TAI on 12 Dec 2012
In reply to Nick Russell: That pretty much sums me up, the longest I've left it for is a month and I went more than a bit stir crazy, but generally waiting more than a week or so feels like a year, thanks for the advice though!
TAI on 12 Dec 2012
In reply to ESTBrokenspirit: There's a Holland & Barret's 5 minutes walk away from my house, I will look into that, cheers!
ukb & bmc shark - on 13 Dec 2012
In reply to Rhapsody:

Experiment with all of the above.

You can add this to the list too:

Didn't work for me. Running cold water after sessions (sometimes during!) is something that does.

If the problems persist then get professional advice. Once injured you are more susceptible to re-injury. A lot of talented climbers have had to give up all together. I'm sure the majority if not all could have avoided that and continued to enjoyed climbing as a lifelong pursuit. So, don't be a meathead.

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