5 Common Causes of Pull Up Elbow Pain

Pull up elbow pain is so common amongst fitness enthusiasts. If you’re a calisthenics lover, you’ve undoubtedly dealt with joint pain. Those kipping pull ups really do a number on your body! With pull ups, your body goes against gravity. Think about it. You’re easily pulling up at least 100 or 200 pounds of weight. So, you can see how pull ups put a tremendous amount of pressure on your joints.

Years of doing pull ups can lead to overuse injuries and takes a toll on your body. Particularly, if they’re done with improper technique. By learning proper body mechanics, you can prevent potential roadblocks and pain down the road. Here are 5 common solutions and causes of pull up elbow pain.


Causes of Pull Up Elbow Pain

Tendonitis: elbow tendonitis is probably the number one cause of pull up elbow pain. Tendons are bands of tissue that connect bone to muscle. With repetitive use, tendons become inflamed from doing too many pull ups with improper conditioning. Excessive weighted pull ups also puts pressure on tendons.

Overworked tendons react by swelling and feeling hot and tender to the touch. It’s tempting to ignore your pain and keep doing chin ups. Big mistake! This leads to ongoing damage to the tendon and causes calcification.

Treat tendonitis by putting a temporary halt to pull ups. Apply heat or cold and use non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) to reduce swelling.

Bursitis: don’t let bursitis get in the way of your pull ups! With bursitis, fluid filled sacs called bursae develop on the outside of the elbow joint. These sacs get inflamed and can get infected which causes even more problems. Swelling near the joint, pain, and stiffness all can occur from repetitive overactive muscle movement.

So, how do you heal pull up elbow pain from bursitis? Stop doing pull ups. At least temporarily until the initial pain subsides. Also, try the RICE method. Rest. Ice. Compression. Elevation.

Torn Tendons: too many one arm pull ups can lead to a partial or even complete tendon tear. Tendon tears of the triceps, biceps, and forearm happened often. Partial tendon tears only rip a portion of the tendon. With complete tears, the tendon is torn in half. Those at greatest risk for tendon tears are bodybuilders, athletic men over age 30, smokers, and those using steroid medications.

How do know if you have a torn tendon? You might hear a sudden popping sound after movement, bruised skin, and swelling. Surgical repair is the solution for severely torn tendons.

Pinched Nerves: nerve entrapment is a little known cause of pull up elbow pain. With nerve entrapment, you might feel numbness, tingling, and of course pain. You’re most likely to experience ulnar versus radial nerve pain.

The ulnar nerve runs along the neck, down the arm, to the inner elbow. Any type of pressure on this nerve or its surrounding tissues will cause elbow pain. A pinched nerve in the neck may cause pain that can be felt in the elbow during pull ups.

Tight muscles pinch and compress nerves in the body. Relaxation techniques, foam rolling, and tennis ball massage can help reduce this tension. Treat nerve compression with rest, medication, and potentially surgery.

Arthritis: Ah…the perils of aging. Degenerative diseases of the joints like arthritis leave you in pain when doing pull ups. Arthritis destroy the joints. Luckily, elbow pain associated with arthritis is less likely than other medical conditions. NSAIDS, splints, ice, heat, stretching exercises, and even adaptive exercises alleviate elbow pain. With patience and time, solving your pull up elbow pain is possible.Just contact a doctor and explicit your situation for him if your pain doesn’t stop.


We suggest this fixing elbow pain guide to get permanent elbow pain releif also watch this video for more informations and how to deal with elbow pain during pull ups