Climbers Elbow, Part 2-Prevention

In the previous article we presented the most current thinking about the cause of persistent climber’s elbow.  Tendon pain is the most common elbow problem in athletes, especially in climbers. At risk populations also include those that are involved in activities which involve repetitive and /or forceful and heavy manual tasks. To recap, in our last article we questioned traditional ideas held by many climbers and healthcare professionals that the primary problem causing elbow pain was an inflammatory condition.  We challenged this position with pioneering research suggesting that it is a degenerative problem caused by the tendons failure to repair after hard climbing and training. 

So in this article we explain the preventative measures available to climbers and other athletes which can reduce the risk of developing this disabling condition

Prevention should be better than cure!   1. Why straight arm climbing will set you free?

Straight arm climbing is one the best investments you can make to prevent this condition from stopping you climbing.   This important and often neglected aspect of climbing technique is critical for protecting your elbow tendons. ​​


To understand why we first need to go back to our physical education class at school and anatomy class 101.  What are the muscles and tendons responsible for flexing our fingers, the muscles that allow us to hold on to the rock?  There are really two muscles that are notable requiring our consideration.

The forearm flexors include:

  1. The Superficial flexors

  2. The Deep flexors

The forearm flexor muscles are particularly important in relation to persistence elbow pain. The reason for this is because of their anatomical arrangement.  The flexor digitorum superficialis is the more superficial of the two muscles and attaches to the medial epicondyle above the elbow joint on the arm. The flexor digitorum profundus muscle is the deeper of the two and attaches on the for