Crossfit Elbow Pain – Tendonitis or Tendonosis
From Crossfit Oakland
Tendonitis and Overuse Injuries
1. The term tendonitis is largely a misnomer – you probably don’t have swelling at the tendon (the definition of tendonitis). Instead, it’s likely tendonosis, a term which simply means pain at the tendon, and is therefore vague enough to be essentially meaningless, diagnostically.
2. Tendonosis, in CrossFitters, is almost universally caused by overuse (repetitive stress over a period of time) as opposed to by acute tendon trauma during a specific incident.
3. Such overuse tendonosis, is also by far the most common CrossFit ailment, and odds are good you’ll face bouts of it (most commonly in the elbow, though also frequently in the shoulder or outer knee) at multiple points along your years of training.
4. During such bouts of tendonosis, a good rule of thumb is: if it hurts, don’t do it. You’ll know pretty quickly whether they’re a good or bad idea.
5. For a period of about two weeks, stop whatever movement caused the tendonosis (pullups, overhead presses, running, etc.) completely.
6. After two weeks, start the movement again. Slowly. If it’s pullup related, say, try two or three slow pullups, two or three times a day. Up the volume each week, but bit by bit. It should take you at least six weeks to get back to full out. This is, by far, the most important solution to overuse trauma: stop doing what hurts, then start it again, but gradually build it back up.
7. Beyond that, targeted stretching helps. This is the main focus of Physical Therapy. Physical Therapy stretches aren’t top secret, however, so you can do the same stuff on your own, in less time and for free. Most people don’t actually stick with the exercises, or push themselves through parts of the exercises that are uncomfortable, without outside supervision, which is why appointments make sense. As a CrossFitter, that likely isn’t a problem for you 😉