Possible Medial Epicondylitis (Golfer's Elbow) Flare-Up (Pull-Ups) - How to Remedy Before Entry?


Hello everyone,

Good news first: I passed my PJFT+ and my entire medical, so I am onto AIB next. In a single go I can do 10-11 pull-ups with good form without elbow pain.

Not so good news: I was doing sets of pull-up on Saturday to build up to a maximum of 16-18 with an eye towards the gym test at CTCRM. I ended up doing 10, 8, 7, 6 and 5 with 2 minutes rest in-between. Afterwards was not so bad but Sunday and today I have felt a low-level (I can still type and do things, but it is there) pain.

A bit of background info may be pertinent: up to February 2021, I'd never had any issues with elbow pain or tendonitis despite a good few years of gym training (I am now 22). I was working with my PT training in lockdown (we had a set of those adjustable weights, a telescopic pull-up bar etc.) and had been doing a lot of upper body work when one day I felt this awful pain in my elbows. Even pushing a door caused it to seriously flare up and it would be difficult to sleep that night. I speak to the doctor over the phone and I am told I have medial epicondylitis (Golfer's Elbow). I rest it completely for a couple weeks and then gradually reintroduce exercises (under my qualified PT's supervision) which utilise the inner elbow tendons - like pull ups and curls - to gradually strengthen them again. Until Saturday I thought I was entirely past it.

I have stopped doing the stretches, Theraband work and other things I had been doing, and I suppose part of the reason why I've been free of it has been because, other than a 2 sets of 10 pull-ups every other day before my PJFT+, I've been focused entirely on the exercises required to pass the PJFT+ - which haven't placed significant strain on the inner elbows.

I know that I will need my upper-body strength to be in a strong place for training when I eventually get down to Lympstone, but at the same time I don't want to make a problem that I could remedy worse by 'training through it' and shoot myself in the foot. That, of course, rules out pull-up programs like the Russian Fighter Pull-Up Program which has 5 days in a row of volume.

What should I do?

As an aside, how common is it for recruits in training to get medial or lateral epicondylitis - and what happens to them? I'd guess they go into Hunter, but I'm not sure how serious it would be for a medical discharge to be considered.

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