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  1. #1
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    Bad Arm Pain - Any thoughts?

    I quit riding for almost two weeks after having very bad right arm pain. Not sure what was causing it but I could not fully extend my right arm. I can use my arm fine to curl a 30 pound dumbbell weight, 100 reps with no pain whatsoever but could not lift a cup of coffee out of a microwave with my arm turned sideways without bad pain. Yesterday, I got back on the bike and the pain got worse after slowing improving over the two weeks which convinces me it is the cycling that is causing it.

    Some info: I use gel cycling gloves, I do change my hand position from time to time, and I do not do long rides, 10-20 miles but had been riding almost every day. I never had any pain before from cycling so find it odd this is now happening. I wore a neoprene elbow brace for two days but it did not help. I ride on roads only, tires at 120 psi and have a Trek 4.5. I tracked down a name of a local Orthopedist but rather get your opinion before seeing him.

    Below is a pic of my arm circled in orange where the pain is bad and the x mark is the worst point, feels like a bad bruise. It extends to my wrist area at times too. Nothing else is wrong with me, no aches anywhere, only my right arm is a mess.

    Anyone experience this? What could be done to get rid of it other than quit riding? Thanks.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Bad Arm Pain - Any thoughts?-im004153m.jpg  

  2. #2
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    Yes, i made a post a few months back about the same pain. It was because i was putting way to much weight on my arms and always locking my elbows, i adjusted the way i ride and it all went away. Loosen up and work on your posture

  3. #3
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    Tennis Elbow

    Most likely Tennis Elbow or "Lateral Epicondylitis". Pain is usually worst when the Brachioradialis muscle is engaged which involves turning your thumb up with your forearm extended.

    Positioning can be culprit here as well as any number of other repetitive type motions that can be part of your daily routine. Cycling may be contributing to the problem, but may not be the entire cause.

    I would recommend you see your orthopedist and work out a strategy for getting rid of the problem as soon as possible. This pain can get worse very quickly and lead to chronic, repetitive occurances if not addressed properly. My wife recently spent several months dealing with the same injury and even ended up in a sling for a few days when she could no longer lift her arm.

    Good luck with it! Don't just ignore this one.

  4. #4
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    SlurpeeKing, I read your thread you posted in February. I don't know what locking my elbows means. I feel comfortable riding but will see if I can loosen up while riding.

    DesertDoc,

    Good point, it may not be just the cycling. I injured my right wrist from splitting wood and carrying 4 cords over a two day period some two years ago. It may be a carryover from that injury and the cycling is only part of the issue. I will not ignore the problem. Seeing the orthopedist may be opening up a can of worms but doing nothing is probably worse.

  5. #5
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    For me "locking" means riding with my arms straight and stiff, after a while i would start to get extreme pain in the same spot. I changed my position, don't grip as hard, and make sure to keep a slight bend in my posture. This has worked for me.

  6. #6
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    Stem too short, stem too high, saddle too low, saddle to forward.
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  7. #7
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    I was just about to post the same question when I saw this. Mine is less on the forearm and more concentrated in the elbow, but it started about a month after I started road riding this winter. Never happened on my mountain bike, but with road riding I tend to stay in the same position for long periods of time while I'm constantly moving on the mountain bike.

    I'm focusing more on keeping my elbows bent and not keeping death grip on the bars and the pain is less intense now, and I'm seeing improvement.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by DesertDoc
    Most likely Tennis Elbow or "Lateral Epicondylitis". Pain is usually worst when the Brachioradialis muscle is engaged which involves turning your thumb up with your forearm extended.

    Positioning can be culprit here as well as any number of other repetitive type motions that can be part of your daily routine. Cycling may be contributing to the problem, but may not be the entire cause.

    I would recommend you see your orthopedist and work out a strategy for getting rid of the problem as soon as possible. This pain can get worse very quickly and lead to chronic, repetitive occurances if not addressed properly. My wife recently spent several months dealing with the same injury and even ended up in a sling for a few days when she could no longer lift her arm.

    Good luck with it! Don't just ignore this one.
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  9. #9
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    I suffered an over use injury in about the same spot. Like you, if I extended my arm straight out I couldn't pick up a can of beer.I ended up having surgery on both the inside & outside of my right elbow. The doc did an Xray & an MRI confirmed it. Since I live fairly close to Cleveland, the doc that works on the Indian's pitchers did the surgery. I was very faithful with PT, did my homework & recovery was fairly speedy.
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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Versatile
    I suffered an over use injury in about the same spot. Like you, if I extended my arm straight out I couldn't pick up a can of beer.I ended up having surgery on both the inside & outside of my right elbow. The doc did an Xray & an MRI confirmed it. Since I live fairly close to Cleveland, the doc that works on the Indian's pitchers did the surgery. I was very faithful with PT, did my homework & recovery was fairly speedy.
    This is shaping up like a nightmare. I'm seeing an orthopedist Friday afternoon.

    As poster Trouble mentions, I thought too that the stem may be too short. I got out my Trek manual and it sounds so complicated with endless warnings I rather not touch the thing. Torque this torque that, under torque can cause a fall, over torque can cause a fall, I may just take it to a bike shop.

    Now I see why some people get fitted to a bike, sounded like nonsense to me before but getting surgery the last thing I need. I'm going riding now anyway, screw it. No pain no gain.

  11. #11
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    Somebody said it earlier, but Tennis Elbow is super common with cycling. I've had it, sucked big time.

  12. #12
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    I get inside elbow pain, or "golfer's elbow", with I've been spinning a lot over the winter. And yes, it really does hurt and takes a long time to go away once the damage has been done.

  13. #13
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    Wait, you can do 100 reps of 30lb curls with a dumbbell? Mmmmhmmmm

    Every time I start to get "tennis elbow" like symptoms I take a week off of all sports and it usually goes away. Good luck at the docs!
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  14. #14
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    You may want to check out a rheumatologist as well. Good luck.

  15. #15
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    I had pain in the similar/same area and just had surgery to fix this (well 5 weeks ago).

    I am not a doctor and and you should see one quickly to get a diagnose...but from what you described it sounds like lateral epicyclical.

    Mine problem was the left elbow, and it wasnt from me riding my bike (prob not the main culprit), anyway ice, ice and more ice, rest and ibuprofen.
    It wouldnt go away so I received a cortisone shot and that actually helped for a couple months than it was back again, so had another shot..(I will tell you that they sure do sting), however when I went in again last month the Dr said if it wasnt better after two its time for the knife.



  16. #16
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    Might noy be cycling related at all, but perhaps due to other strain. I have a similar pain in my right elbow, but in my case I think it's caused by my 100 lb. Akita trying to pull my arm out of its socket everytime she sees a squirrel. It usually feels better aftera bike ride.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by eplanajr
    Somebody said it earlier, but Tennis Elbow is super common with cycling. I've had it, sucked big time.
    DesertDoc and you were right, dead on. I saw the Orthopedist this afternoon and in one minute he told me it is Tennis Elbow. He took X Rays and said I had fluid in my elbow but no damage to it. Told me to put an ice pack on 4-6 times a day for 20 minutes each time. Also said several times a day to try to straighten my arm and slowly bend my hand downward. He said to put the elbow support just below the painful area to apply pressure. He wants to see me in 6 weeks and said he may have me do physical therapy. I don't plan on going back to him if it heals ok.

    About the bicycle stem height which someone else mentioned could be a factor, the doctor did not know about it. I think someone in Sports medicine would know more.

    I'm getting wrist supports and another elbow support for my other arm. This likely all would have been prevented if I had worn supports. I run with knee supports but never thought I had to protect my arms while cycling. After I get the supports for both arms I'm going back on the bike. Just have to stop by a CVS store.

  18. #18
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    Not always good to be right...

    Sorry to hear that you do indeed have to deal with Tennis Elbow. The advice you have is solid. I might add a couple suggestions:

    1) The arm band or "support" you buy should be fairly wide. The majority of supports sold for this condition are fairly similar, but at least 1.5 to 2 inches wide or more - no narrow straps. Wear it snug, but not really tight.

    The band helps relocate the fulcrum point of the muscle and takes pressure off the insertion point. Wear it as much as you can.

    2) Don't do things that aggravate the elbow. This is definitely not a situation where you want to "work through the pain". The joint will heal much faster if you can take it easy.

    3) Definitely follow up with your orthopedist once the condition has improved. The last thing you want is to have a re-injury that involves work or car accident (and other insurance sources) and then have an unresolved prior injury on your records. It may cost a few bucks now for the visit, but it will save you major problems if you ever re-injure the area. (Hope you don't, but it could happen)

    Good luck with it.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by DesertDoc
    Sorry to hear that you do indeed have to deal with Tennis Elbow. The advice you have is solid. I might add a couple suggestions:

    1) The arm band or "support" you buy should be fairly wide. The majority of supports sold for this condition are fairly similar, but at least 1.5 to 2 inches wide or more - no narrow straps. Wear it snug, but not really tight.

    The band helps relocate the fulcrum point of the muscle and takes pressure off the insertion point. Wear it as much as you can.

    2) Don't do things that aggravate the elbow. This is definitely not a situation where you want to "work through the pain". The joint will heal much faster if you can take it easy.

    3) Definitely follow up with your orthopedist once the condition has improved. The last thing you want is to have a re-injury that involves work or car accident (and other insurance sources) and then have an unresolved prior injury on your records. It may cost a few bucks now for the visit, but it will save you major problems if you ever re-injure the area. (Hope you don't, but it could happen)

    Good luck with it.
    Thanks for the feedback.

    My elbow support is exactly 2 inches wide. I tried on two types, the long one I could not wrap tightly, it felt like it was less effective than the 2 inch one. When I go to CVS, I will give it a second try and compare it again. CVS is excellent because you can open the boxes and fit them as they are not sealed and the store has no problem with customers trying them out.

    About the follow up with the doctor, an unresolved prior injury is not something that crossed my mind. Good advice I will follow, thanks. I hope never to see the doctor again but like you said, you never know if it may be necessary down the road.

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