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Treat inner-elbow muscle tightness right away to prevent further injury.
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Whether you've just completed a vigorous upper body workout or enjoyed a leisurely jog, your elbow joint repeatedly bends as you participate in physical activity. Post-workout muscle tightness inside the elbow is not a surprise in a joint with numerous over-lapping structures. Your elbow is an intersection of activity with muscles, tendons, ligaments and nerves crossing over the joint. In many cases, a little post-workout stretching and relaxation eliminates tightness and protects you from further injury. However, if you're in a lot of pain, go see your doctor.
Inner elbow muscle tightness can be due to a tight muscle or tendon that crosses the joint, but it can also be a sign of a more severe injury, such as medial epicondylitis. This condition, more commonly known as golfer's elbow, results from overused and inflamed tendons of your inner elbow. For your own safety and overall health, consult a licensed medical professional for a detailed diagnosis as soon as inner elbow tightness occurs.
Treat it Early
After your workout take care of your tight inner elbow immediately by applying the RICE principles: rest, ice, compression and elevation. Rest from the activity you were participating in and rest from other tasks of daily living that may aggravate the inner elbow area like carrying grocery bags. Apply crushed ice to the tight area for approximately 20 to 30 minutes. If the pain persists, repeat the icing process every two hours for 24 to 48 hours. By applying the ice directly to the tight area you are also compressing it to reduce the spread of swelling. Finally, elevate your arm above the level of your heart to increase the blood flow back to your heart.
Stretch It Out
When connective tissues in the body become tight, the best solution is to stretch them to reduce the tight feeling. Following this principle, stretch your inner elbow by opening it up. With the palm of your tight arm facing up, straighten your elbow. Hold the stretch for 30 to 60 seconds, three times per day. To increase the stretch, bend your wrist downward, opening the wrist joint up toward the ceiling. Stretching should not be painful. If it induces pain, back off and return to the immediate treatment regimen.
Strengthen Your Defenses
Reducing tightness in the inner elbow also involves strengthening. As you contract the muscles of your outer elbow area, like your triceps, your inner elbow stretches out, releasing any tightness. To practice, try a triceps pushup. Using a chair or small bench sit with your palms beside your hips, grasping the chair. Keep your fingers facing forward. Walk your feet out and lift your buttocks off the chair and forward. Slowly lower your body, bending your elbows to 90 degrees, straightening them to lift your body back up. Repeat 10 to 12 repetitions, three to five times per day.