You’ve made some tremendous fitness gains this year. Smart decision! Resultantly, you’re 25 pounds lighter. You’re tight. You’re lean.
But the pain and swelling in front of your elbow that started two months ago hasn’t let up. In fact, it’s worsened.
Gotta push through. Gotta burn fat. Gotta reach that pivotal fitness point.
Stop and rest it? Nonsense! Not after working this hard and getting this far.
Whoa! Hold it for a sec. You’re smart. After all, look at the decisions you’ve made and the transformation you’ve experienced. Can’t stop now, right?
Look. I’ll be the first to congratulate you on your decision to optimize your health and figure. I love to hear about successes like yours. However, you’re facing a greater challenge if you choose not to allow time for healing.
From the sounds of it, you might possibly have a brachialis muscle contusion compounded by overuse. If this is the case, you may wish to consider ways to stay active in fat burning and muscle development but without putting strain on the wrist and elbow flexor muscles.
If you don’t rest the area, you may be heading for bigger problems. First, the area will NOT heal, and will likely only worsen. The scar tissue that is forming is weaker than normal tissue. If you continually strain the new and immature scar, you’ll further weaken the area, prolonging recovery.
Second, you may also be at risk for developing myositis ossificans in the injured brachialis muscle, which is basically bone that gets laid down within the injured muscle tissue. Not good! If you think you’ve got a problem now, think for a moment about being completely sidelined by having a muscle that may become basically non-functional.
You are an intelligent person (given your choice to transform your health and figure). You’re also smart enough to know that the area must be given a chance to heal.
Here are some potential choices you may wish to consider in order to selectively rest your elbow and wrist flexor muscles.
1. Opt for high intensity workouts that tax major lower extremity muscle groups (see www.AlpinePTmissoula.com and click on Intensity Interval Training in the “Health Information” section). That way, you can accomplish your workout goals while giving your elbow needed rest.
2. Consider purchasing a pair of Flexolate workout straps (developed by fitness guru and local Missoulian, Terry Baldwin). Go to: www.flexsolate.com. With the straps, you might be able to sneak in workouts that focus on the triceps and lat muscles, while avoiding heavy gripping , wrist flexion, and elbow flexion.
3. Get a reality check. Book the next available flight to Costa Rica for at least 6 weeks. While there, you must hold all eating and drinking utensils in your other hand. Make sure to lather up with sunscreen every morning and then lie down at the beach on one of four sides for at least an hour in each position.
Get it? I know you do. You’re smart.
For more information on the aches and pains that may be hampering your workouts, recreation, or sport, be sure to visit our clinic website at www.AlpinePTmissoula.com.
Brent Dodge is the founding owner of Alpine Physical Therapy and is a board certified orthopedic specialist. He holds additional certifications in Functional Dry Needling, Manual Physical Therapy, and Strength and Conditioning.
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