Elbow hyperextension can lead to you being sidelined with major injuries – or even retired. . .
TREATING & RECOVERING FROM HYPEREXTENDED ELBOW INJURIES
Your joints tend to hyperextend when you are expecting to hit contact with something but it’s not there. This is the same phenomenon as when you’re hitting mitts and either you’re (a) too far from the mitts or (b) your training partner didn’t give enough feedback to catch your punch. You experience a sharp pain right away in your elbow and your arm feels weak.
Some other symptoms include swelling around the joint area, tenderness, weak arms, and pain when bending or straightening the elbow. In many cases, the hyperextension is very mild, especially if you got it from missing the mitt, and you can return to training without being bothered by it too much. But in some cases, it can be very severe, to the point where your elbow dislocates.
Hyperextension happens when your joints go past their range of motion. Your elbow joint’s range of motion is from 0 to 145 degrees, 0 degrees being your arm completely straight. Anything beyond this range will cause your ligaments to stretch too much. Stretched ligaments can cause a lot of pain and can lead to tears if severe.
ELBOW HYPEREXTENSION: TREATMENT & RECOVERY
Like with any injury, the sooner you get it on ice, the better. This helps to bring down the swelling. Less swelling means less pain, and recovery will be much faster. Ibuprofen is also a popular part of healing protocol, as it further reduces pain. Icing the elbow joint a few times a day for 10-20 minutes at a time is the way to go for the first two to three days.
Fortunately, in most cases, you can still train, but for obvious reasons, avoid doing anything that involves extending or flexing the elbow. This includes clinching, elbows, punching with the affected side as well as kicking on that side (kicking involves having to throw your arm out for more power/balance).
Using an elbow brace can be a good idea to immobilize the joint, and also serves as a reminder to not do motions that can potentially aggravate it further.
Practicing correct form on exercises can help to prevent hyperextension as well. Stand close enough to your training partner so you won’t have to “overreach” to hit the mitts or pads. When in a plank position, make sure your elbows aren’t locked out. Locking your elbows hyperextends the joint and could lead to injury over time.
After resting the affected side for a few days while applying ice multiple times a day, it should feel a lot better. But if it gets worse or the recovery is minimal, seek a medical professional right away as this could be something much more serious than mild hyperextension.
(Title image credit to Vice Fightland.)
- Plant-based fighter, foodie, and aspiring physical therapist. Angela is currently living in Bangkok and training full time.