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Sore Elbows and Achy Arms

Nov 28, 2017

Ever find your wrist and arms sore after a day on the tools? How about after writing on the chalkboard or the computer? Sore elbows after gripping something heavy or for a long time? Most of us have to deal with long hard days that involve some of these activities, which means most of us are familiar with elbow and forearm pain and stiffness. This post is going to help you understand some of the different conditions that cause the pain, and a simple tips to help alleviate it.

Most of us are familiar with tennis elbow, which is a condition which causes pain primarily to the outside of the elbow and forearm. “Backhand” type motions (such as tennis), or activities such as typing, knitting, bricklaying or painting which have the hand bent backwards for long periods under load can cause or worsen the problem. Tennis elbow can appear similar to an extensor tendinopathy in the forearm, a problem where the pain is in a similar location and from similar causes.

Golfer’s elbow, which is also common and relatively well-known, is a condition where the pain originates mainly in the inner elbow and underside of the forearm. The name comes from the “cocking motion” that occurs with the lower arm of the golf grip during swing, but that isn’t the only cause. Activities where the wrist is slightly bent forward, such as rotating a crank or ratchet, heavy or awkward lifting, prolonged gripping or truck-driving can contribute to this problem. Golfer’s elbow also has a bit of a doppelganger in flexor tendinopathy, with similar location of pain and similar causes.

If this arm pain has been a problem for you, there is a simple home tip to try which may help. Simply grab a pole with a similar width and weight of a broomstick, possibly a bit heavier but evenly weighted on both ends. Grip is important; wrap the thumb right around and make sure all fingers have good purchase. If your pain is on the outside of the forearm, slowly curl the wrist and hold the top position for 5 secs as shown in the first part of the picture. If your pain is on the underside of the forearm, slowly extend the wrist backwards and hold the top position for 5 seconds as shown in the second part of the picture. The good news is that research shows that manual therapy and rehab are very effective for these conditions. If you suffer any of these problems come chat with Kyle and see how we can help at King Street Natural Health Centre.


Brukner and Khan, Clinical Sports Medicine 4th Edition