Category Archives: Elbow tendon injury

My Elbow Tendon Injury from 3 Years Ago

A radio talk show personality I listen to (and I don’t want to say the name because I don’t want to admit I listen to him) was saying something about his elbow tendon injury that’s taking too much time to heal. Well, that was my experience when I had an elbow tendon injury 3 years ago.

That began in October 2016 and went into 2017. I don’t think I wrote about that here, because I see that I had a long absence here between November 2015 and January 2018. One problem was that sitting at the computer and trying to write was difficult, because of the arms issue.

So, in mid-October 2016 my left arm at the elbow was having pain and difficulty doing things, and I concluded that something happened because of carrying heavy bags from Trader Joe’s to here. I was assuming that it was a bruise on the elbow but there was no visible bruise. It took a while to eventually learn from info on the Internet that it was an injured tendon. So for weeks I was doing the wrong things like putting Arnicare on the elbow area every day, and using the heating pad. Some things I read online said to put ice on it, but after two days of that the ice made it worse.

Eventually I learned from being more specific in searches that it was not an elbow bruise but a tendon injury. My specific symptoms included pain in that forearm near the elbow area when doing things with my left hand such as squeezing or pinching the fingers like when I’m wiping something at the kitchen sink, etc. The info online was pointing to elbow tendon injury, based on my specific symptoms.

Unfortunately, there are people online including professional physical therapists or other practitioners who suggest putting ice on an elbow tendon injury. My experience was that the ice made it worse. Ice is really for a bruise, especially just after something actually happens, or at least within the first 24 hours of an injury. After that the ice is probably not helpful. After the first 24 hours or so of a bruise, heat is more helpful, such as with a heating pad or hot water bottle. But with a tendon injury, ice is not good. (i.e. ignore the “I” part of the so-called “RICE” treatment method when it comes to tendon injuries.)

One thing that was useful early on, I think, was elevation, holding the arm up (if you can stand it) so that the elbow tendon injury area is above the heart.

Perhaps the most helpful thing for me, I think, to heal the elbow tendon injury was the massage in that area, that I learned about online. This page was probably the most informative one, and I thank Paul Ingraham for preparing that page.

The exercises that I found for my specific kind of problem were also helpful.

And rest is helpful, too. The problem began in October of 2016, and it wasn’t until maybe January of 2017 that I finally realized that stopping my morning push-ups was a good idea. (Ya think?) I have been doing push-ups and sit-ups since the 1980s. In 2017, I didn’t resume doing the push-ups until around April as the problem got better, and even then I started with a very low number and gradually increased the number over a period of months.

But in early 2017 when I was more careful with things, like carrying heavy stuff, to protect my left arm while trying to heal I would carry most of the things with my right arm. Well, that caused a reaggravation of an upper right arm injury that I had in the early 1990s (that also was difficult to heal at that time). I think that was also a tendon injury. So, in late January 2017 I got one of those schlepping things to help me to take things back from grocery stores. Obviously, I don’t have a car. (I guess, even if you exercise and try to stay fit, when you’re in your mid-50s as I am, things aren’t as easy as they were 20 or 30 years ago!)

I think that by April of 2017 the arms were getting better, especially by May. Unlike other kinds of arm, elbow or shoulder injuries, tendon injuries are harder to heal and take more time.

It’s also good to make sure you’re getting enough magnesium, which is important for our muscles, nerves and joints. I think that a possible magnesium deficiency at the time in late 2016 may have been a contributor to my issue, but I’m not 100% sure about that.