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Chronic tennis elbow

Hi Ho Silver2011-09-23 04:13:23 +0000 #1
For the last couple months I've been plagued by tennis elbow (tendonitis?) in both arms. I have no idea what I've done to cause this. Any ideas? And even more importantly, any suggestions as to what I can do to fix the problem, short of not using my hands and arms for several weeks?

Jean
OakLeaf2011-09-23 04:27:42 +0000 #2
well.blogs.nytimes.c...ix-for-tennis-elbow/

Get your bike fit sorted - if you've had a fit but the fitter didn't look at you in all the hand positions you use, consider that. Don't keep a death grip on the bars, just a light touch. Look at your ergonomics at work and your home computer.

Work out trigger points in the forearms - a spiky ball is good for that.

... all I can think of off the top of my head ...
KnottedYet2011-09-23 04:46:14 +0000 #3
Wrist and elbow posture are huge, in all daily activities. I second the bike fit.

And you could try letting the elbow reset or reboot itself:

Push your elbow as straight as it goes and hold for 1 second (use your other hand to push the elbow from behind while you hold the edge of a table) 15 times. If you feel even a tiny bit better or move even a tiny bit better, do it again another 15 times. If it seems to help, do it 15 times every couple hours until you've been symptom free for a week.

If that seems to make you feel worse and move worse after doing it, bend your elbow as far as it goes using your other hand to push, and hold it for 1 second 15 times. If that helps even a tiny bit, do that instead 15 times every 2 hours, etc.

Only choose ONE direction to repeat 15 times every 2 hours. If one makes the structures in and around the elbow settle back into place and feel better and work better, the other is likely to screw them up again.

If your tendonitis is caused by a problem at the other end of the muscles, there are a host of movements you can do at the wrist the let the structures settle back and calm down... but too many to deal with via the internet.

If getting a bike fit and self management don't seem to improve things in a week or two, I'd suggest going in to the doc.
spokewench2011-09-23 05:16:18 +0000 #4
Quote:

Originally Posted by Hi Ho Silver

For the last couple months I've been plagued by tennis elbow (tendonitis?) in both arms. I have no idea what I've done to cause this. Any ideas? And even more importantly, any suggestions as to what I can do to fix the problem, short of not using my hands and arms for several weeks?

Jean

THe issue of what you have done to create elbow tendonitis is a big question. What activities, and regular day to day things do you do? Many things can cause elbow tendonitis. Does it hurt on the inside of the elbow or the outside?

The only cure that I know of, that really works, is rest and ice. You can do cross tissue massage and stretching i.e. bend your wrist up and down slowly to stretch the tendon area. All tedonitis issues are hard to get rid of because the blood flow to the area is just not all that good. Anything that will increase that circulation helps the healing process.
Hi Ho Silver2011-09-23 04:27:23 +0000 #5
Quote:

Originally Posted by spokewench

THe issue of what you have done to create elbow tendonitis is a big question. What activities, and regular day to day things do you do? Many things can cause elbow tendonitis. Does it hurt on the inside of the elbow or the outside?

The only cure that I know of, that really works, is rest and ice. You can do cross tissue massage and stretching i.e. bend your wrist up and down slowly to stretch the tendon area. All tedonitis issues are hard to get rid of because the blood flow to the area is just not all that good. Anything that will increase that circulation helps the healing process.

The only possible cause I can think of is that I moved into a new place a couple months ago and had to haul lots of heavy boxes around. Outside of that, I haven't done unusually strenuous of late.
Hi Ho Silver2011-09-23 06:17:17 +0000 #6
Quote:

Originally Posted by KnottedYet

Wrist and elbow posture are huge, in all daily activities. I second the bike fit.

And you could try letting the elbow reset or reboot itself:

Push your elbow as straight as it goes and hold for 1 second (use your other hand to push the elbow from behind while you hold the edge of a table) 15 times. If you feel even a tiny bit better or move even a tiny bit better, do it again another 15 times. If it seems to help, do it 15 times every couple hours until you've been symptom free for a week.

If that seems to make you feel worse and move worse after doing it, bend your elbow as far as it goes using your other hand to push, and hold it for 1 second 15 times. If that helps even a tiny bit, do that instead 15 times every 2 hours, etc.

Only choose ONE direction to repeat 15 times every 2 hours. If one makes the structures in and around the elbow settle back into place and feel better and work better, the other is likely to screw them up again.

If your tendonitis is caused by a problem at the other end of the muscles, there are a host of movements you can do at the wrist the let the structures settle back and calm down... but too many to deal with via the internet.

If getting a bike fit and self management don't seem to improve things in a week or two, I'd suggest going in to the doc.

Thanks for the advice - I'll try one of the exercises you mentioned ...probably the one in which the elbow is bent (because straightening the elbow is uncomfortable at this point).
KnottedYet2011-09-23 05:21:57 +0000 #7
Quote:

Originally Posted by Hi Ho Silver

Thanks for the advice - I'll try one of the exercises you mentioned ...probably the one in which the elbow is bent (because straightening the elbow is uncomfortable at this point).

They're not exercises, they're more like corrections.

And it could well hurt while you do it. In fact, if something is badly out of place and irritated it will hurt as you nudge it back to where it belongs. (just like if you dislocate your shoulder it hurts like heck, nearly kills you as the doctor relocates it, but feels better after)

What matters is how you feel after, and how you move after.

Sometimes the most painful direction is the one you need to go to settle things back where they belong.

Go ahead and try bending 15 times first. If you feel better after and move better after, go for it every couple hours. I'd say about 5% of tendonitis responds to bending. About 95% responds to straightening, which is why I suggest it first.

On the other hand, it may not be the elbow that needs to be settled. It could be the wrist or something else. In which case, elbow movements aren't going to make any difference.

When tendonitis is chronic, something is stuck off whack. You need to unstick it. Ice and pain meds and rest can make it feel better, but they won't unstick it. Just like ice and pain meds and rest could make a dislocated shoulder feel better, but the problem won't end until the doctor gets ahold of ya and pops it back into the socket.

The body is constantly going off whack and constantly correcting itself. It's amazing and elegant and efficient. We don't notice until something gets stuck and the body can't correct without a little concious help.
tulip2011-09-23 06:30:19 +0000 #8
I developed tennis elbow from overuse on a computer and mouse. It was over a long period of time. What are you doing on a repetitive basis? It doesn't have to be tennis.

I went to PT for 4 months and had hot wax baths up to my elbow, trigger massage, corrective stretches. I wear a brace for sleeping. I learned to mouse with my non-dominant hand. I had to stop typing for a while. Now I take frequent breaks and have a super ergo keyboard and mouse with my left (non-dominant hand).

Do you do alot of texting or phone work? Those tiny movements repeatedly can really cause problems for the tendons in the arm, like over-using my mouse hand did for me. It won't get better until you identify what's causing and either stop that motion or modify it.

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