Can cycling trigger elbow pain?

Elbow pain that occurs while cycling might be an indication of tennis elbow. The condition arises if the tendons that link the forearm muscles to the elbow are inflamed due to overuse and stress. Using a poorly fitting bike might be a contributing factor to elbow pain.

What are the indications?

Individuals with tennis elbow who engage in cycling often experience pain or burning sensation on the exterior side of the elbow when raising the wrist upwards or making a fist.

The bony protrusion on the exterior of the elbow might feel tender to the touch while the grip starts to feel weak.


The application of an ice pack along with anti-inflammatory medications can provide initial relief.

Postural issues

Poor posture or using a poorly fitting bike can add up to the discomfort. When standing over the bike, the individual should have around 1 inch of space amidst the body and top tube or bar on the frame of the bike.

The individual should be able to sit fully upright when pedaling leisurely with a minimal bend in the elbows. The flexed elbows make it easier to absorb shock during a ride which causes less strain on the elbow.


Even though most ignore the elbow pain and continue cycling, it is vital to allow the injured arm to rest. The application of an ice pack along with anti-inflammatory medications can provide initial relief.

Once the symptoms improve, a soft tissue massage can be soothing. A doctor should be consulted if the condition does not settle with rest or if it becomes seriously swollen or discolored. In addition, if there is difficulty in performing activities using the damaged arm, further treatment might be necessary.

Disclaimer / More Information

The information posted on this page on elbow pain from cycling is for learning and educational purposes only. To learn more about the causes, register for first aid training at one of our training centers located throughout Canada. The training centers are in Edmonton, Calgary, Vancouver, Kelowna, Saskatoon, Victoria, Surrey, Mississauga, Winnipeg, Red Deer, Toronto, Ottawa and Halifax.


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