How to adapt your workout following an injury

From knee pain stopping you from running to ever having an elbow injury, you know how painful and frustrating it can be. Whether you’re a seasoned athlete or just someone who enjoys working out, an elbow injury can seriously affect your ability to exercise. In this article, we will discuss different types of elbow injuries, how to modify your workouts during recovery, and exercises that are safe for your elbows.

Types of Elbow Injuries

There are several types of elbow injuries that can occur. Some of the most common are:

Tennis elbow

Tennis elbow is a type of tendinitis that occurs when the tendons on the outside of your elbow become inflamed. This can be caused by repetitive motions, such as playing tennis or typing on a computer.

Golfer’s elbow

Golfer’s elbow is similar to tennis elbow, but the pain is on the inside of the elbow. This condition is caused by repetitive motions, such as swinging a golf club.

Elbow sprains and strains

An elbow sprain or strain can occur when the ligaments or muscles around your elbow are stretched or torn. This can happen during a fall or a sudden impact.

Medical Treatment

For minor injuries like sprains and strains, rest, ice, compression, and elevation (RICE) is usually recommended. In addition, over-the-counter pain medications such as ibuprofen and acetaminophen can help manage pain and reduce swelling. Physical therapy may also be recommended to improve range of motion and strengthen the muscles around the injured area.

For more serious injuries like fractures and dislocations, medical intervention is necessary. X-rays or other imaging tests may be used to diagnose the injury, and a doctor may recommend immobilization with a cast or brace to allow the bone to heal. In some cases, surgery may be required to realign bones or repair damaged tissues. After surgery, physical therapy is typically necessary to regain strength and mobility in the affected area.

In some cases, a doctor may also recommend corticosteroid injections to reduce inflammation and pain. However, these should be used with caution and only under the supervision of a medical professional, as they can have negative side effects.

It is important to seek medical attention promptly if you suspect an elbow injury, as early intervention can help prevent further damage and promote faster healing. Additionally, following a doctor’s recommended treatment plan and adhering to physical therapy exercises can help ensure a safe and successful recovery.

Modifying Your Workouts During Recovery

If you’ve recently suffered an elbow injury, it’s important to modify your workouts to avoid further damage. Here are some tips:

Take a break from activities that cause pain

If you experience pain during a certain activity, such as lifting weights, take a break from that activity until your elbow has fully healed.

Avoid repetitive motions

Repetitive motions can cause or exacerbate an elbow injury. Try to vary your workouts to avoid putting too much stress on your elbow.

Use proper form

Using proper form during exercise can help prevent injury. Make sure you’re using the correct technique when performing exercises that target your arms.

Warm up before exercise

Warming up before exercise can help prepare your muscles and joints for activity. Try a few gentle stretches or a quick cardio workout to get your blood flowing.

Safe Exercises for Your Elbows

Although you may need to modify your workouts during recovery, there are still plenty of exercises that are safe for your elbows. Here are some examples:

Triceps extensions

Triceps extensions are a great way to strengthen the back of your arms without putting too much stress on your elbows. Use light weights and perform the exercise slowly to avoid aggravating your injury.

Bicep curls

Bicep curls can be performed with light weights and are a great way to strengthen your arms without putting too much stress on your elbows. Make sure you’re using proper form to avoid injury.


Push-ups are a great exercise for your chest, shoulders, and triceps. If you have an elbow injury, try doing push-ups on your knees to reduce the stress on your elbows.

Resistance band exercises

Resistance bands are a great way to strengthen your arms without putting too much stress on your elbows. Try exercises like bicep curls, triceps extensions, and shoulder presses with a resistance band.

How to Prevent Elbow Injuries

Preventing elbow injuries is important for maintaining overall physical health and avoiding pain and discomfort. Here are some tips for preventing elbow injuries:

    1. Warm up properly before exercising or playing sports to increase blood flow and flexibility in the muscles and tendons around the elbow.
  1. Use proper form and technique when performing exercises or playing sports to avoid putting unnecessary strain on the elbow joint.
  2. Gradually increase intensity and duration of exercise to avoid overuse injuries.
  3. Use protective equipment such as elbow pads when playing sports that involve contact or falls.
  4. Take breaks and rest when feeling fatigued or experiencing pain in the elbow joint.
  5. Maintain overall strength and flexibility through regular exercise and stretching to support healthy joints and muscles.
  6. Avoid repetitive motions or activities that place excessive stress on the elbow joint.
  7. Eat a healthy, balanced diet to promote strong bones and muscles.

By following these guidelines, individuals can reduce their risk of elbow injuries and maintain healthy, pain-free joints.

In conclusion, modifying your workouts during elbow injury recovery is crucial to avoid further damage and maintain your fitness level. Take a break from activities that cause pain, avoid repetitive motions, use proper form, and warm up before exercise. Remember, there are plenty of safe exercises you can do to strengthen your arms and prevent future injury. Keep these tips in mind and keep working towards a healthy, strong body.

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Cliff Morton


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