Climbers Elbow (What's that?!)

20 Nov, 2017

Climbers Elbow is characterised by pain in the upper arm or front of the elbow due to inflammation and strain of the brachialis muscle. Brachialis acts to assist the biceps in flexing the forearm at the elbow joint.


  • Sharp pain or achiness at the front of the elbow or upper arm

  • Achiness referring to the base of the thumb or front of shoulder

  • Redness or warmth in the front of the elbow

  • Weakness bending the arm

  • Pain aggravated by resisted bending of the elbow

  • Pain worsening when straightening the elbow

  • Inability to fully straighten the elbow

  • Cracking or crepatice when moving or touching the tendon

  • Inability to fully straighten the elbow

Mechanism of injury:

Indicative of the name, Climbers Elbow is a common condition seen in active individuals playing contact sports or activities requiring repetitive overhead movements (e.g. body building, gymnastics, rock climbing, throwing sports). It is also common in heavy labourers, jobs requiring heavy lifting or those with poor strength/flexibility.


Physiotherapy treatment may include initially ice, as well as soft tissue therapy, dry needling, prescription of specific stretching and strengthening exercises in combination with heat therapy in order to reduce pain and inflammation, as well as improve elbow strength and range of motion.

Early treatment is key! If diagnosed and treated adequately, the condition can be cured within 6 weeks. Longer prognosis and recovery time can occur as a result of inadequate rest time and further overuse.

Do not let your elbow pain limit your fitness goals or prevent you doing what you love. For more information on how our Physiotherapists can assist you, contact us at your closest clinic today.


Eleni Tsagaris

Physiotherapist Potts Point and Mona Vale