View Full Version : Tendonitis in the elbow

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Eric Joyce
09-05-2003, 02:30 PM
Over the years I have been training pretty hard and my body is starting to feel it. I have a case of tendonitis in my left elbow. I have tried resting it, but whether I rest it or not, it bothers me from time to time. Is there anyone out there that can recommend to me some way of healing this? Or is this just one of those things that will heal in time?

09-05-2003, 06:31 PM
First you need to see a qualified healthcare profession to determine what you have. You may have a ligament tear depending on what happened.

Studies on tendonitis of the elbow show that when it is chronic it is actually tendonosis (degeneration rather than inflammation). Several conservative methods can be employed-ice, rest, stop repetitive motion activities, tennis elbow straps, rehab, physical therapy modalities, etc. There is work being done by physical therapists and chiropractors using Cyriax's concept of cross friction massage using instrument assisted methods-Graston technique (www.Grastontechnique.com-I believe). Most of the studies are being done by Physical therapists at Indiana University. I had one bad case of pain at 6/10 in severity for over a year and failed steroid injections totally resolve in 8 treatments.

Steroid injections are another option. If this is caused by sports I'd recommend seeing someone specializing in sports injuries.

09-05-2003, 06:33 PM
PS. Over the counter NSAIDs can sometime help but watch out for Gastrointestinal complications.

09-05-2003, 11:15 PM
If it does turn out to be inflamation you could check out an acupuncturist. I've had very good results with similar injuries.


Anat Amitay
09-06-2003, 01:07 AM
If I were you, I'd go to an orthopedic doctor and maybe get some physiotherapy treatment.

What you need to check is if the pain has returned (after not being there for a while) which means it's more likely a new inflammation or something of the sort or if the pain had been going on for a very long time, not changing in intensity or place, which will mean it's chronic.

The differences are important for the kind of treatment. Ice or cold related therapy is good for acute cases while heat for chronic cases (and it isn't good to mix them).

I would have checked possible direction of problems for you, but all my notebooks are packed for my moving to a new home (i'm a physiotherapy student).

But if you will like more information, I would be happy to help from Sunday next week (the 14th), so you can e- mail me.

Hope you feel better,


Kevin Wilbanks
09-06-2003, 01:55 PM
Various therapies and treatments are nice, but the most important thing is to find the cause. Tendon problems like the one you describe are usually the result of repetitive actions that are either done with excessive loads or frequency, or flawed technique. I've had tendon problems in several places in my body, and each time the cause was some repetitious activity like distance running, clerical office work, high-volume bodybuilding routines, etc... It sounds a bit doubtful to me that an activity as varied as Aikido as I've seen it would be the root cause. Once you find the cause, the solution may involve stregthening, stabilizing, gaining flexibility, re-learn the way you do the offending activity, or some combination of these.

In my view, monkeying around with ice, heat, drugs, needles, massage, etc... is mostly peripheral stuff that deals with symptoms. Find the cause and address it properly, and the symptoms will subside on their own. In fact, ameliorating symptoms can actually work against you. Your body's pain responses can be a valuable feedback mechanism to guide cause-oriented efforts. Dampening the pain blunts the mechanism.

09-06-2003, 08:49 PM
Kevin is right. Finding the cause is crucial. Repetitive motion activities or poor biomechanics may be a good place to start. However, you need to find out if you have tendonitis or what. Need to see someone. If it is tendonitis then treatment needs to take place to prevent it from developing into tendonosis (degeneration) which cadaver studies seem to identify as more likely than Tendonitis.

Kevin Wilbanks
09-07-2003, 07:58 PM
Another good reason to find the real diagnosis is that it may help you identify the cause. The doctor or therapist or whoever should know what actions are generally associated with your particular problem.

I'm not sure about the idea that any treatment could help over and above eliminating the cause - except with pain. As I said, NOT treating the pain has always been an invaluable guide to me in making changes necessary to stop causing the damage.

I've heard cross-frictions touted before, but I've never seen the claims made about freeing adhesions or re-aligning scar tissue substantiated. It might be worth a try so long as the cross-frictioning sessions themselves don't become so extensive as to be suspects for causing further/worse damage.