Good ole tennis elbow!? :(

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Hummingbird22
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Good ole tennis elbow!? :(

Post by Hummingbird22 »

Hi, all! I recently injured right elbow - not participating in sports, but apparently by doing some heavy duty sanding on kitchen walls! *sigh* This was about a month ago and I've been having elbow/forearm pain ever since. I haven't been to doctor yet, but I may have to.

I have sharp pain on the end of elbow bone (right at the lateral epicondyle) *and* a duller pain in upper forearm when I try to fully extend arm. Rotating forearm away from body also causes the dull upper forearm muscle pain. I work in a biomedical research lab and do a LOT of pipetting of chemicals, cells in culture, and various reagents - this involves a lot of hand dexterity and thumb pressing (kind of like pressing the top of a mace cannister or a handheld gameshow buzzer). I also do a good amount of typing and mousing when analyzing data. All of this seems to exacerbate the issue and I can't just rest the elbow or I literally would get NO work done and would have to take a month off of work and just sit on couch and watch tv.

I have been wearing this elbow brace for about a week and half and it doesn't really seem to help at all: (EDIT ok the forum won't let me post a link but it's the Amazon Choice/Best Seller 'Tomight Elbow Brace with Compression Pad' on Amazon.)

I was reading that if one of these arm braces does NOT help then you *don't* have tennis elbow OR your injury is severe. Well every description of tennis elbow I've read sounds just like what I have and the pain isn't absolutely terrible or anything, so I can't imagine I've terribly disabled myself. I've also read that the elbow brace should be at least 3" wide, but mine isn't even 2" wide! Could that be why it's not helping? When I put it on, I wiggle fingers and look at upper forearm to find where the tendons are moving and I place the pad part of the brace right over those moving tendons. I've tried putting the thing at various distances from elbow, but no spot really reduces the pain.

I've got *two* wrist rests for mouse - one back under elbow and one under the wrist and that seems to help a bit. Don't have one in front of the keyboard though.

So what should I do? Am I using the brace right? Should I try a wider one? Do I even *have* tennis elbow? What else could it be? Should I just bite the bullet and go see doc who will probably refer me to an orthopedist? SO over this already . . . thanks, guys!

Cynthia

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Boss Man
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Re: Good ole tennis elbow!? :(

Post by Boss Man »

Hi Cynthia, good to talk to you.

From what I can make out having seen images of that brace, it is supposed to be worn around 1" above the elbow, so if you're doing that then you're using it correctly.

Tennis Elbow is a type of bursitis and bursitis is an inflammation of the bursa which are little fluid filled sacs around a joint area, so you may not necessarily have done this, as you might have cause some tendonitis of the elbow, which means you would have inflamed some tendon in the area.

Inflammation is like a distress flare to the brain, it highlights where pain and blunt trauma have occured, so the brain can respond to the right part(s) of the body to initiate some kind of recovery process.

Sometimes inflammation can be something that should occur but doesn't. You might be wise therefore to do research on the graston technique and see what you find out, because if you go to a doctor and they refer you to a specialist, then said technique might be appropriate depending on what diagnosis has been uncovered for your ailment.

If it is some kind of tendonitis then you might require surgery on the area. Whether you would require a tendonectomy where part of a tendon is removed I couldn't say, as the tendonitis itself would have to be diagonosed before such a surgical intervention could be discussed and surgical interventions should only be tried when non-surgical interventions either don't exist for the complaint, or do exist and have been exhausted, which means they have all been tried and failed to work to an approved level.

It may be the case that somehow you splintered a small part of the elbow bone, the olecranon and if that is the case a small splinter of bone may be sticking into a bursa, a tendon or possibly a nerve, causing pain in your peripheral nervous system in the case of the latter..

I find that scenario least likely, but it wouldn't harm to consider it.

Perhaps a medic might refer you to having one or more cortisone injections, to allieviate whatever problem you have.

A different brace might help but that assumes that you do actually have tennis elbow.

Another possiblity is calcific tendinitis, which is a build up of calcium deposits that can occur in several joints including the elbow. I was x-rayed once to confirm or deny that sort of issue in a shoulder joint, which I recall would have needed injections to dissolve the calcium if confirmed, but it turned out not to be calcium deposits in the shoulder as the cause of issue.

It might be that your wrist is sprained or you've torn or strained some muscle, but in the latter two some bruising may have occured, particularly with a tear to muscles like the extensors, flexors, brachioradialis or anconeus, if the problem flairs up below the joint and the biceps, triceps or brachialis, if it's above the joint.

For now I would at least be using some kind of NSAID product if you haven't already and consider icing the area for 10-15 minutes 3-4 times a day and using now and then a cold compress, if such things are possible for you, or in other words RICE. Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation.

However this may be a bit difficult with the job you do as you say, as there is quite a bit of manipulation of the area caused by the work you do.

The suggestions I have given you should be a guide only and I think because the situation has persisted, that the most logical course of action now is to suck it up and consult a medic really.

I hope I might have been of some help.
Hummingbird22
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Re: Good ole tennis elbow!? :(

Post by Hummingbird22 »

Thanks so much for your response! I really can't see it being anything other than some form of tennis elbow. The olecranon is not affected at all, nor is any part of upper arm, plus the sharp pain at the lateral epicondyle plus dull pain in the upper forearm are hallmarks of TE. Was hoping to avoid a doctor visit, but it may be warranted. Thanks again for the insight!

Cynthia

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