You’re not alone if you’ve ever done a push-up and felt a sharp pain in your elbow. Many people experience elbow pain when doing push-ups, which can be frustrating.
You’ll definitely have a question, “why does my elbow hurt when I do Push-ups?” In this article, I will explore the reasons why your elbow might be hurting when you do push-ups and what you can do about it.
Before we dive into the reasons why your elbow might be hurting when doing push-ups, let’s take a moment to review the anatomy of the elbow. Understanding the anatomy of the elbow is crucial in identifying the reasons behind the pain experienced during push-ups.
The elbow joint is one of the most complex joints in the human body, as it is responsible for both flexion and extension of the arm. It is made up of three bones: the humerus, the ulna, and the radius.
The humerus is the upper arm bone, while the ulna and radius are the bones of the forearm. These bones are held together by a series of ligaments and tendons, which provide stability and allow for smooth movement.
Additionally, the elbow joint is surrounded by a complex network of muscles, which work together to enable various movements of the arm.
It is important to understand this complex network of bones, ligaments, tendons, and muscles in order to properly diagnose and treat any elbow pain experienced during push-ups.
Why Does My Elbow Hurt When I Do Push-Ups? 4 Common Reasons
Experiencing elbow pain while performing push-ups can be a frustrating and painful experience, but understanding the various reasons that can lead to elbow discomfort can help prevent this pain. Here are some reasons why your elbow might be hurting when doing push-ups:
Overuse is one of the primary reasons why you might experience elbow pain during push-ups. Push-ups are strenuous exercises that require a significant amount of upper body strength, and if performed excessively without proper rest and recovery, they can lead to inflammation and pain.
It is important to give your elbow joint enough time to rest and recover from the stress caused by push-ups.
2. Poor form
Poor form is another common cause of elbow pain during push-ups. When performing push-ups, it is important to maintain proper form, including keeping the elbows close to the body and not letting them flare out to the sides.
Failure to do so can result in unnecessary stress on the elbow joint, leading to pain and injury. Maintaining proper form can help distribute the weight more evenly, reducing the strain on the elbow joint.
3. Weak muscles
Weak triceps muscles can also be a significant cause of elbow pain during push-ups. If these muscles are not strong enough to handle the strain placed on them during the exercise, it can lead to pain and injury.
Incorporating exercises that target these muscles into your workout routine can help strengthen them, thus reducing the strain on the elbow joint.
4. Other factors
In addition to these reasons, other factors such as previous injury, underlying medical conditions, and improper equipment can also contribute to elbow pain during push-ups. It is important to address any underlying issues and take necessary precautions to prevent injury.
By understanding the reasons behind elbow pain during push-ups, you can take proactive measures to prevent further injury and enjoy pain-free workouts.
Also Read: Shoulder Pain Pull Ups
How To Fix Elbow Pain from Push-Ups
If you are experiencing elbow pain during push-ups, there are several things you can do to alleviate the pain and prevent further injury. Here are some proactive measures you can take to help your elbow joint recover:
1. Rest and recovery
Rest and recovery are crucial in allowing your elbow joint to recover from overuse and inflammation caused by push-ups.
It is important to give your elbow joint time to rest and recover from the stress caused by push-ups.
Taking some time off from push-ups and other upper body exercises can help your elbow joint recover and reduce the pain experienced during the exercise.
2. Proper form
Maintaining proper form is essential when performing push-ups to avoid placing unnecessary stress on the elbow joint.
This means keeping the elbows close to the body and not letting them flare out to the sides. Proper form can help distribute the weight more evenly, reducing the strain on the elbow joint.
3. Strengthening exercises
Strengthening exercises can also be helpful in reducing elbow pain during push-ups. In cases where weak triceps muscles are the cause of the pain, incorporating exercises that target these muscles into your workout routine can help strengthen them, thus reducing the strain on the elbow joint.
4. Ice and heat therapy
Using ice and heat therapy can also help alleviate the pain and inflammation caused by push-ups.
Applying ice to the affected area for about 20 minutes several times a day can help reduce inflammation, while heat therapy can help increase blood flow to the area, which can speed up the healing process.
Tips to Avoid Elbow Pain During Push-Ups
To prevent elbow pain during push-ups, it is essential to take preventative measures. It can be tempting to jump into a workout routine and push yourself to your limits, but taking the time to ease into your exercise routine can prevent injury and pain down the line.
Here are some additional tips to consider incorporating into your routine:
1. Start slowly and gradually increase the number of push-ups you do
This will allow your muscles and joints to adjust to the movements and gradually build strength. Starting with small sets of push-ups and gradually increasing the repetitions and intensity over time can help prevent overuse injuries.
2. Make sure you warm up your muscles before starting your push-up routine
A proper warm-up can help prepare your muscles and joints for exercise, increasing blood flow and preventing injury. Consider incorporating light cardio or stretching into your warm-up routine.
3. Pay attention to your body and listen to any pain signals
Pain is your body’s way of telling you that something is wrong. If you feel pain during push-ups, stop the exercise and rest. Continuing to push through the pain can exacerbate the injury and lead to more severe pain and damage.
4. Incorporate other exercises that target your triceps muscles
Incorporating other exercises that target your triceps muscles, such as triceps dips or overhead extensions, can help build strength in the muscles that are responsible for the movement during push-ups. By strengthening these muscles, you can reduce the strain on your elbow joint and prevent injury.
In addition to elbow pain, there are other injuries associated with push-ups that you should be aware of. These injuries include:
1. Shoulder impingement
Shoulder impingement is a common injury that occurs when the rotator cuff muscles and tendons in the shoulder become compressed or pinched, causing pain and discomfort. This injury can be caused by performing push-ups with improper form or overuse of the shoulder muscles.
If you experience shoulder impingement, it’s important to rest and avoid any activities that aggravate the pain. Physical therapy and exercises to strengthen the rotator cuff muscles can also be helpful in managing this injury.
2. Wrist sprains
Wrist sprains are another common injury that can occur during push-ups. This injury is typically caused by improper wrist alignment during the exercise, leading to pain and inflammation.
To prevent wrist sprains, it’s important to keep your wrists in a neutral position and avoid bending them too much during the exercise. If you do experience a wrist sprain, rest and ice can help reduce swelling and pain. Wrist braces and physical therapy may also be recommended to help manage the injury.
3. Lower back pain
Lower back pain is also a common issue associated with push-ups. This is because the exercise puts a lot of strain on the lower back, especially if you’re not using the proper form.
To avoid lower back pain, it’s important to engage your core muscles and keep your spine in a neutral position throughout the exercise.
If you do experience lower back pain, rest and gentle stretching can be helpful in reducing discomfort. Physical therapy and exercises to strengthen the core muscles may also be recommended to prevent future injuries.
It is important to listen to your body and take appropriate action if you experience any symptoms of elbow pain during push-ups. While rest and recovery can often alleviate mild discomfort, there are times when seeking medical help is necessary.
It is important to understand the signs and symptoms of a more serious injury so that you can take appropriate action and prevent further damage.
1. Persistent pain
Persistent pain that does not improve with rest and recovery is a sign that something more serious may be going on. It is important to seek medical attention if you are experiencing persistent pain, as this could be a sign of a more serious injury such as a fracture or tendon tear.
2. Swelling or redness
Swelling or redness around the elbow joint is another symptom that may indicate a more serious injury. This could be a sign of inflammation or infection, which requires prompt medical attention to prevent further damage.
3. Numbness or tingling
Numbness or tingling in your arm or hand can also be a sign of a more serious injury. This may indicate nerve damage, which requires prompt medical attention to prevent permanent damage.
4. Difficulty in movement
Difficulty moving your elbow joint is another symptom that may indicate a more serious injury. If you are experiencing difficulty moving your elbow joint, it is important to seek medical attention to determine the cause of the problem and receive appropriate treatment.
If you are experiencing any of the symptoms listed above, it is important to seek medical attention. A healthcare provider can assess your condition and recommend appropriate treatment options, which may include rest, medication, physical therapy, or even surgery.
By taking appropriate action, you can prevent further damage and get back to your normal activities as soon as possible.
Q: Should I stop doing push-ups if my elbow hurts?
Yes, it’s important to give your elbow time to rest and recover. Continuing to do push-ups with elbow pain can worsen the injury and lead to more serious problems.
Q: Why does my elbow hurt after push-ups?
Elbow pain after push-ups can be caused by overuse, poor form, or weak triceps muscles. It can also be a sign of more serious conditions such as tendonitis or elbow joint inflammation.
Q: How do you get rid of tendonitis in the elbow?
Treatment options for tendonitis in the elbow include rest and ice, physical therapy, anti-inflammatory medication, and in some cases, surgery. It’s important to consult with a healthcare provider for an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan.
Q: Can I still workout with elbow pain?
It depends on the severity of the pain and the cause of the pain. It’s generally recommended to rest and recover from elbow pain before resuming exercise. However, low-impact exercises that don’t put a strain on the elbow joint can be done with caution. It’s important to consult with a healthcare provider for personalized recommendations.
Elbow pain during push-ups is a common issue that can be caused by a variety of factors, including overuse, poor form, and weak muscles.
It is important to take steps to prevent elbow pain by gradually increasing the number of push-ups, using proper form, and incorporating exercises to strengthen your triceps muscles.
Also, there are other injuries associated with push-ups, such as shoulder impingement, wrist sprains, and lower back pain, which can be prevented by maintaining proper form and gradually increasing the intensity of your workouts.
If you experience persistent pain or other symptoms, it is important to seek medical attention. By taking care of your body and listening to its signals, you can continue to enjoy the benefits of push-ups without experiencing pain or injury.
Hi, I am Parth Chowtia, an MSK/Sports Physiotherapist with a degree in Sports Medicine from Leeds Beckett University, UK. I have five years of experience working with top brands and like to share guides on preventing and managing injuries resulting from sports and exercise participation at all ages and levels of ability.