Why hockey can be a pain in the elbow

tennis elbow

It has all sorts of names: tennis elbow; golfers elbow; lateral epicondylitis; medial epicondylitis – but I just call it elbow pain. I know lots of hockey players of a certain age, usually over 40, who have their elbow strapped up during matches and complain of pain.Interestingly, it’s also usually their left arm.

I had the same sort of pain where you don’t feel it too much during the match because the adrenaline is pumping but at other times it’s painful to touch anywhere around the elbow. It also hurts when you pick up objects or use your joint. Mine seemed to move around, sometimes it was on the outside of the elbow and sometimes on the inside. A bit of googling reveals these are commonly called tennis elbow (on the outside of the joint) and golfers elbow (on the inside of the joint).

It seemed to have the same type of symptoms so I’m arguing for the creation of a new name – hockey elbow. Although actually, my brother plays a lot of cricket and he has it too so we figured it was probably because of similar action and forces the sports exert on the left elbow.

Meanwhile, I also upped my strength training regime with a personal trainer. A tough 45-minute session each week lifting heavy weights and some more home sessions in the rest of the week. I was worried it would aggravate the hockey-elbow but strangely the more I lifted weights the better it seemed to get.

I am convinced that a whole regime of upper body strength work, including bicep girls, tricep dips – the whole lot – has improved the bad elbow.


I also used a FlexBar for elbow exercises and this has helped too. I keep it by my desk at work to remind me to use it every other day during a quick coffee break.

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