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Thread: OT: Is this "Tennis Elbow"?
08-05-2007, 11:55 PM #1
For the past few weeks my right elbow has been a bit sore. If I extend arm and try and pick up even a cordless drill I can feel a burn through the joint. Doing push-ups does not seem to hurt at all. Is this whats called tennis elbow? Anyone else out there had similar troubles? My coworker says "welcome to old age". I'm only 38.
A bit of history: About 6 moths ago I stumbled at work and landed (cought myself) on this same arm. Later that day I could not even use my wire strippers with out pain in my wrist. I did not think much of it at the time and never filled an accident report. I suspect I may have sprained it. It's still a bit sore but does not hinder me from work.
Any thoughts? Or just cowboy-up and go see the doc?
08-06-2007, 12:12 AM #2
38's a good time to start. It seems like limb injuries never go away. Maybe it depends on the weather. Some days are good. Some days are not so hot. Have a doctor look at it. Almost guaranteed you will recover faster. I get the best relief with a Ibuprofen/day. Best to get it documented. WWQ
08-06-2007, 01:36 AM #3
Yep! sounds like it to me. i had it a couple of years ago, and once in a while I can still feel it if I have done any heavy lifting. One thing that helped me is i bought a wrist band, and put it on my arm just below the elbow. the pressure helps to lessen the pain. Be prepaired, it is real slow to heal. mine took over a year before it got better, though it never really went away.
08-06-2007, 09:03 AM #4
I had trouble with my shoulder. after 3 mo. of paid went to my doctor, then went to physical therapy. All is well. And they reduced the swelling in my wallet! Old Bill
08-06-2007, 11:05 AM #5
The more you use the elbo/arm the less pain you have? Went to the doctor last week for same thing he said "tennis elbow" legiments inflamed take some over the counter anti-inflamatory pills try not to use as much if not better in a few weeks come back for a shot. Seems to be working.
08-06-2007, 11:25 AM #6
Sometimes it never heals if you cannot do without the use of that arm for an extended length of time you may end up like me. If you work a mouse too long the fingers go numb or tingle. If you cannot lift a tool with your arm fully extended. A good test is trying to pick up a MSC catalog at full arm extension if it hurts you have joined the club. Cortizone shots are only a temporary fix usually good for about 6 months and you can only get them about once every two years, if you continue with your daily routine the best solutions is not to use that arm period. I have daily pain in my right shoulder and believe me when I say it will not get better unless you drastically change your habits.
08-06-2007, 11:57 AM #7
I had a bad case of tennis elbow. I went to a chiropracter trained in a patented technique called "active release". He had the pain reduced very quickly and had me back to normal in about 2 months. You may have to search for a trained practitioner (who might be a chiroprater, a phsical therapist, or another specialty).
08-06-2007, 12:03 PM #8
I was bench pressing a few weeks ago, and BOTH elbows were hurting when I was done. Right one had hurt before, but left one this time joined it. An elbow brace from a sporting goods store, some downtime, and light use with smart moves will do you some good. I'm not prone to pain killers, etc, because a little pain lets me know when I'm about to really overdo it. Not a macho thing, just practical. By the way, yes, I think you've got tennis elbow, but I went to the same medical school as Sam Kennison. Anyone remember that joke of his?
08-06-2007, 12:10 PM #9
+1 on the technique SteveM recommended. My Chiropractor does it also, it's called ART or Active Release Technique, and it's a brief controlled muscle/tendon stretching process. You can do it yourself if you know what to and have a helper.
RR - is that the sex after death joke? I miss SK.
08-06-2007, 12:51 PM #10
I don't think that you have tennis elbow. It is more of a repetitive stress injury. It really sucks - I've had it many times from a squash addiction.
Your elbow suffered a bit more acute trauma. You should look into a diagnosis and probably you'll end up in physio...
This being said, I don't even play a doctor on TV!
08-06-2007, 01:20 PM #11
All of the things I love to do seem to promote both "tennis elbow" and "golf elbow". Both relate to gripping and rotary motion of the wrist, which happens with wrenching, manual machining, and riding. Even minor injuries can cause a dramatic increase in pain.
T.E. is on the top/outside above the bony part of the elbow joint. G.E. is felt on the bottom of the bony part. The same group of stretches help both.
I've had shots, I've worn braces, and both are temporary solutions at best. The only things that solve it are regular (every morning in the shower) stretching or getting surgery. Guess what I opted for.
I was looking for video or pictures, but this site has a fair written description of the stretches:
08-06-2007, 02:52 PM #12
I got my first case of tennis elbow this past January, at age 56. It came on without warning. My wife and I were doing some blacksmith work, and I picked up a 2 lb hammer and all of a sudden, I could barely grip the hammer. My elbow hurt like hell. Wife looked at the fire in the forge and the job at hand and said she'd finish if I'd help. She's 5'-3" and 130 lbs. She gave me a couple of Advils, took a sledge and struck for me and that's how we finished the job, with me gritting my teeth.
I went to an orthopedic doc, and he asked me what I had been doing. He said that I had a good run if I had my first case of tennis elbow at age 56. He took an x-ray and then sent me for P/T. The P/T got things almost back to normal. It took a cortisone shot to get rid of the last of it. I wear an elbow strap whenever it looks like I am going to do any sort of physical work, and warm up with some stretches.
The orthopedic doctor has warned me that hammering is one of the worst things for tennis elow. He claims it is not the effort of picking up the hammer or swinging, but the sudden stop when the hammer connects with whatever it's hitting against. He also claims repetitive motion such as working with tools can bring it on.
I found that I was not done with tennis elbow a few weeks ago. I split a little cordwood for a barbecue fire, forgetting about the warmup stretches and not wearing the strap. I was back on anti-inflammatory drugs and wearing the wrist strap and applying ice and heat for the next few days.
The physical therapist sketched up an exerciser, which I made. It is a piece of 3/4" black steel pipe, a couple of collars on it, a bootlace and a 1 lb hammer head. Basically, I grasp the pipe in my fists, arms held close to my sides and forearms out level. I then winch up the hammer head from the floor, nice and slow, and winch it back down again. I am supposed to do this for ten reps, and I am working up to it.
Plenty of people I know have had their episodes of tennis elbow. Supposedly, it does not ever go away. If you take care (warmup stretches and wearing an elbow strap), it minimizes the chances of a flare-up. My wife also sent me off to Pilates ( a kind of body work/exercise), and that has also done wonders.
I think the thing that hurts almost as much is the name: "Tennis elbow". I never hit a tennis ball (or a golf ball) in my life, and don't plan on it. At least they could call it "mechanic's elbow" or "blacksmith's elbow"...
08-06-2007, 03:09 PM #13
Racer Al said "top/outside above the bony part" and that is exactly where it hurts. Even lifting my coffee cup makes me cringe. Based on what everyones comments, I have an appointment with the doc next week. Thanks for all the input. Is that elbow brace something I can get at the sporting goods store?
08-06-2007, 04:06 PM #14
Being a tennis coach I have seen a bit of TE and GE. Tennis players can get both as can other folks. Its repetitive motion that is the cause. Rest, Ice, Compression, Excericse is the cure (RICE).
You can google for TE excerises. Start easy , go slow, build strength. I have seen it start in students and shown them the excercise and they have had improvement within a week.
If you stop doing the motion that causes the problem and don't do the strengthening you will get it again big as life when repetitive motion resumes.
The easiest excercise involves just squeezing a soft foam ball or very dead tennis ball. Start with 8-10 reps several times a day and work up. Ice with thin cloth between ice and arm after excercise and several times a day. Other excercises include wrist curls with low weights. Diagrams can be found at tennis sites on the web.
It is not hard to stop TE if you catch it early and do the therapy.
08-06-2007, 06:24 PM #15
I have had this for 3 years.Started in the right and after a year I got it in my left.I went thru therapy and shots.Had 4 in 1 year.Told the doc that I wanted no more since they didnt help at all.This year my shoulder started to hurt.I was feeling terrible all the time.My job requires alot of pulling,jerking ,tugging and cranking.Was told to stop all that.I told the doc that if he like getting paid then thats what it takes.My sister paid for 4 visits for acupuncture.After the 2nd visit it was almost totally gone.I hadnt felt this good in over 2 1/2 years.It works!!
08-06-2007, 10:58 PM #16
Ahh, the ol tennis elbow. Very familiar, I don’t even play tennis..Haa
Does it hurt when you pick something up with your hand facing flat, palm towards the earth? But you can still pick up any amount of weight with your palm facing upwards? If the pain is like the first you may have TE..
I went though a six month physical therapy session along with cortisone treatment. No good.
Finally had surgery, never felt better. They remove a tendon from the bone. Roughen up the bone to get it "bloody" is how my Dr. described it. Then reattach the tendon.
I was in a cast for an month and PT for another six months. Feels perfect now.. Still aint gonna play any tennis thought.. Haa. JRouche
08-06-2007, 11:55 PM #17
"Does it hurt when you pick something up with your hand facing flat, palm towards the earth?" YES!
That's exactly how it hurts.
I have only done a little reading on it, but it seems that this is the tendon coming off the bone -correct?
Since repetitive motion is not part of my normal work routine, I'm wondering if this was all caused by my falling and catching myself with my arm rather than my face. If the shock was enough to sprain my wrist, could the damage to my elbow be from this as well? My shoulder has felt a bit stiff/sore as well, but attributed that to compensating for the elbow. One thing I notice is that if I sleep with that arm under the pillow, circulation starts to get cut off. It's the way I have always slept.
I am surprised by all the postings on this- I never hear anyone talking about this in the work place. It was a good thing I posted and now have an appointment. Thanks for all the advice and input!
08-08-2007, 10:27 PM #18
The tendon isn't "coming loose" from the bone, it's inflamed at the point where the the tendon attaches to the bone (insertion, in the medical lingo).
08-08-2007, 11:08 PM #19
Pretty close. It's actually the "Origin" rather than the insertion. The insertion is the end that moves, in this case the base of the 3rd metacarpal. You are absolutely correct about the inflammation.
08-09-2007, 03:12 AM #20
I repaired overhead cranes in a former life.
Once upon a time, a coworker dropped 70 feet of inch thick electrical, magnet wire, down the "hole". Drug me into the drum. 7/8 wire, so drum scored to that.
Anyhow, while I am wiring it up, the wire falls,grabs me and throws me into the drum. Elbow bumps SOMETHING, probably the ridges on the drum.
Go home, come to work the next day, can't pick up a 1/2 inch ratchet. Simply CANNOT hold it up. Delayed injury report, send me to the Therapy people, a local hospital, they run this hot thing up and down, they use this electerical device to contract the muscles, they use heat and cold.
3 months of that.Radio has a program about Cortisone, says if the Doc shoots it in wrong, eats the tendons, or, another place, eats the cartilage.
Next day, anther session, the Doc says without Cortisone you will never get better, "I have had it for 4 years in my left elbow."
I asked why he didn't have a Cortisone shot and he replied that " This is my livlelihood."His left arm.
I said "THIS is MY liveliehood", my strong right arm.
I bumped my arm onto a sharp edge. Pretty damned hard, but, till then, had gotten beat up pretty good. That was only 7/8 wire, most was 1 1/8 wire.
And I have not played tennis for about 40 years.
You may read and think about this or not. I do NOT trust any DOCTOR who makes a living at something like this. They make no money unless they get people to manipulate.
DO as you will.
Ah, ****, I should tell you about my other coworker who was ready, and had been tested, and proven to have "Carpal Tunnel Syndrome". Was all ready to have surgery.Always snoozed after lunch leaning against the lockers, on his right arm.
One day, after he got his appointment to go for surgery, he thought about it, moved to the other side of the table, snoozed for half an hour over there. Woke up, LEFT arm is all *****ed up, right arm is OK.
Since I am not a Doctor and have no dogs in this fight, I would think you have done some damage to your arm. I don't think that 3 months or so of PT with the roller things, and the electrical things, and all the rest of them things are going to help you.
They did not with me for about the same thing.
But, they WILL make lots of money for them who do this stuff to seperate companies from YOUR money.