Mtnbiking elbow (aka tennis or carpenters elbow)- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Mtnbiking elbow (aka tennis or carpenters elbow)

    Over the years I've done plenty of sports and had occupations that could potentially cause tendon seperation and the pain that ensues, in my elbows. Motocross, carpentry, cabinet making...you name it, but it's each time that I return to mtnbikes that the pain comes back. I believe it's got to do with how tight I grip the bars but unlike my dirtbikes, my mtnbike has no steering damper and I don't know how to lighten my grip. Does this sound like it could be the cause, does anyone know a preventative measure? I'd really like to stay with the sport but do not want to go through with the surgury again, I had my right elbow operated on back in the 90's, and now my left elbow is doing the same thing.

  2. #2
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    I have the same thing from time to time. I notice it more on bikes with alloy bars and hard grips (eg lock-ons) than I do with carbon and soft grips (I generally run ESI's). There are some easy exercises you can do to helps prevent it, too. Do a search on tennis elbow exercises. FWIW, Steve

  3. #3
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    Good job! Try CT cream.

    I went from falling timber, to working in a bike and ski shop. With all the wrench turning and waxing and scraping of skis, and edge filing of snowboards I got "Tennis Elbow" quite severely.

    I could lift 50 pounds with the palm turned up, but could not pick up a jar with the palm turned down with the fingers extended. This went on for about 4 months.

    I did some research and got some cream called "CT Cream".(Carpal Tunnel Cream) In less than a month I was back to normal. It really helped.

    I recently told a friend at work about it who was wearing a pressure band on both arms to try to relieve his symptoms. He tried it, and within weeks he took off the bands, and swears by the stuff.

    I don't have any connection or financial motive here, I have just seen a few people have their symptoms helped by this stuff. It has arnica in it which my girlfriend who is a massage therapist has also recommended. For $20 it is worth a shot. Here is a link to the site if you want to check it out. They do have a return policy.

    http://www.ctcream.com/

  4. #4
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    I'm with Stevo; Monkeylite bar and Ergon grips may help. I certainly notice more elbow discomfort when I ride my "beater" bike with alloy bar and regular grips, I'll be upgrading that bike soon.

    It may not work for you but it's a relatively inexpensive upgrade.

  5. #5
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    Grips and gloves can help dampen vibrations that cause the muscles in the forearm to work harder. Stretches and ice will also help, but consistency is the key with those. Look for a chiropractor in your are that specializes in Active Release Techniques. That's what I do here in Vegas and I must say for soft tissue injuries it works very well. Go to www.ActiveRelease.com and find a provider in your area.

  6. #6
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    bar ends?

    Some interesting suggestions posted so far. Arnica is definitely good stuff.

    Quote Originally Posted by DirtyGoose
    and I don't know how to lighten my grip.
    What happens when you try to lighten up your gripping force?
    - Not enough control over steering? I'm not sure how to help that, maybe a wider bar?

    -Hands slip of the bars? If this is the case, Well...bar ends are a huge help for me here. I'm definitely not a death gripper, after 20+ year of riding rigid I'd probably be toast if I was. I figured out how much bar ends help retain my hand when I broke off a bar end in a wreck and had to ride a few hours in Moab without it, my hand kept shooting off the end of the bars !

    It might be worth trying some.
    Spend time behind bars

  7. #7
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    Make sure you are not locking out your elbows while riding.

  8. #8
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    Well, I finally came down with a case of epicondylitis. I'm gonna try some suggestions on here. Hope they work.

  9. #9
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    As a fellow epicondylitis sufferer I have tried just about everything suggested above except the cream. Did a web search on it and found a tennis forum that didn't give it very high marks, but I have spent more money on dumber things in the past so who knows, I might give that a try too.

    What I have done to be able to keep riding is carbon bars, Ergon grips, a support brace for forearm and working on core muscles so that all of my upper body weight is not being supported by my arms. Also I did use bar ends for a while and they were great for being able to change hand position which would rotate the forearm and give relief from the ache.

    I would try to lighten your grip as well. If you think about having a light grip anytime that you are not riding technical trails, you might get used to the feeling of using just enough grip pressure for the situation.

  10. #10
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    Thanks for all the suggestion guys, there's some good stuff here. Now if only the weather would improve I could get out and apply some of this knowledge.

  11. #11
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    Elbow pain

    I developed tendonitis in the elbow when I rode my new hardtail for 25 mile trail ride for first ride.I lowered the air pressure 5 lbs in the Fox F100, new Ergon grips, longer stem and relaxed my grip on the bar. This cured the tendonitis problem after 3 months. Old 66 year old farts don't heal quickly..

  12. #12
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    Elbow pain

    I developed tendonitis in the elbow when I rode my new hardtail for 25 mile trail ride for first ride.I lowered the air pressure 5 lbs in the Fox F100, new Ergon grips, longer stem and relaxed my grip on the bar. This cured the tendonitis problem after 3 months. Old 66 year old farts don't heal quickly..

  13. #13
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    Yup. Tennis elbow gets quite the wussy wrap but it is no joke. I got it after coming back to tennis after 10 years and it was WICKED. I used a combo of advil, icy hot, and the band (this works best) to get rid of it. And whatever you do, loosen up your grip whether tennis or biking and let the racquet or bike doing what they were meant to do!

  14. #14
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    It can take years to heal....mine did.

    I know others who are screwed.

    There are tons of stretches that help, but you need to avoid overuse until it heals. There are hand strengthening exercises too, but again, not good until the irritation and weakness is gone.

    For the record, I ride rigid, and have no issues which is frankly quite amazing. I'm on the bike at least 6 hours a week in season.

    I drive big rigs for a living and shifting gears a million times a day was the initial cause of my tennis elbow. I had to completely modify my work to get the injury to heal. I changed everything: how I shifted, steered, opened the door, hooked up the airlines, etc....

    and even then it took 2 years to heal.
    occasional cyclist

  15. #15
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    Riding a rigid too and on longer rides suffer elbow pain. Some of that is age. Some the onset of arthritis I'm guessing.


    I'd be curious as to what gloves everyone is wearing.



    (I'm considering a carbon fork, ESI Chunky grips, and padded gloves to add a little comfort)

  16. #16
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    Lots of good suggestions. There's 2 facets to lateral epicondylitis. First strength/flexibility and second functional loads (ie: what you want the forearm extensors to do for you).

    So my suggestion is to stretch, ice after loading and start eccentric strengthening (there's heaps on the web Google eccentric tendon strengthening). Conditioning the muscle/tendon unit can take a bit of time - about 3-6 months in my experience.

    To address the functional load aspect of this problem, lightening your grip as suggested is great. In tennis they often alter grip width by placing over wrap on the grips. Slightly larger grip circumference helps to reduce stress in the wrist tendons as they work best in mid range.

    Hope this helps :-)

  17. #17
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    I've dealt with Cubital Tunnel Syndrome and well as some mild tendonitis. Usual rest and ice will keep things at bay. When I use my old hard-tail it can inflame the tendon but funny thing is that when on my FS I rarely feel it.

  18. #18
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    ouch, my elbows be hurtin' from a'pullin the bike up to climb ledges and rocks all the time. Need to fig out how to strengthen those mugs.I'm using Po Sum On it's like an herbal Siamese Icy Hot but smells like juicy fruit instead of bengay. Peace

  19. #19
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    I have issues with my elbow if I do anything that locks my elbow in a fixed tensed position for any length of time. I have had it flare-up during riding as the result of too much death grip through rough trail sections on my rigid bikes. I have also had some of the worst examples of tennis elbow as the result of simply carrying suitcases through the airport with my arm in a bent position under the minimal weight stress of a suitcase that can't weigh over 15-20lbs. Its this kind of prolonged tension on the elbow that seems to be the trigger for me and definitely not the weight itself as I can work out with dumbells and weight machines and never have a major issue as long as I am exercising range of motion with my elbow.

  20. #20
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    same issue here with my left arm (tennis elbow). the GA-1 grips did improve the pain when riding but between the mtb and the motorcycle it is tough to avoid it completely. i may give that cream twowheelsdown2002 recommended. my wife is an occupational therapist and she told me to stop riding to heal up, yeah right! i would rather eat the pain than sacrifice my ride.

  21. #21
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    Chode, read my post above. You need to be really careful with that injury or you might eff it for good.

    Drew
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  22. #22
    dru
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    It's not your elbow......

    the pain is from weak overused hand muscles.

    there's tons of stuff on the net about it.

    Drew
    occasional cyclist

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by dru
    Chode, read my post above. You need to be really careful with that injury or you might eff it for good.

    Drew
    got it, thanks. I rely on my left hand so I dont want to make the situation worse and do permanent damage. Hurts like hell when I squeeze my hand into a fist. I have noticed improvement since I stopped riding a month ago.

  24. #24
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    I suggest deep tissue massage to the forearm muscles.

    If you've got lateral epicondylitis, your extensor group muscles are probably tight.
    If you've got medial epicondylitis, your flexor group muscles are probably tight.

    Either way, there's some imbalance in the entire forearm muscle group. The likely possibility is that these tight muscles are constantly pulling at the tendons attached to the epicondyle.

    I can stick my elbow into the forearm muscles of my other arm to massage it out. But, when I can't do it myself, I go see someone else.

    If it's a chronic injury, don't ice it! PM or email me if you have further questions about your issues. I'd be happy to discuss.

  25. #25
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    I had tennis elbow years ago and thought it was from Mt biking too much..Turns out I got it from typing a lot on a laptop computer for work. I did PT and it bearly helped. Then I got a cortisone injection and it worked great. I also had to make my computer more ergonomic. Good luck!

  26. #26
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    update: it's been a couple of months since i have stopped riding my mtb and motorcycle and my arm is back to normal. i followed a few exercises my wife(O.T.) suggested and started building it's strength little by little. i looked like a clown in the gym pumping 5lb weight with my left hand but it worked. light weight with multiple reps and squeezing a tennis ball helped. i think this season i am going to wear a support for it just in case this is injury happens again.

  27. #27
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    Hopey makes a bicycle steering damper.

    I developed something like that after a racket ball game where I hurt my shoulder. Lost about 75% of my arm strength over night. The pain was in my upper forearm. Not sure if this was related but it healed up after several years. I just hurt my shoulder again and my forearm hurts again in the same area. Not as bad as the first time so I hope it won't take as long this time. Point being that it may not be elbow related.

    But it sounds like you are healing up so all this is just fyi.
    Last edited by modifier; 01-25-2011 at 09:46 AM.
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  28. #28
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    I've done acupuncture, now PT with ultrasound and phonophoreisis of cortisone into the tendon. That seems to be helping; we'll see when I start trying to lift weights again! I think stretching the extensors and flexing is probably dealing with the core issue better than anything else. BTW, this injury started 2 friggin' years ago, when I did an OTB and landed on all 4's in front of the bike. So don't ignore it, it won't go away.

  29. #29
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    I've raced motorcycles off road since 1976. Done motocross, enduros & observed trials. Never a forearm problem until I took up BOWLING!! I had league bowled back in my 20's and decided to get back into the sport with my son & wife. Except in 2008 I was 49.....

    Apparently a ill fitted custom bowling ball gave me an absolutely raging case of lateral epicondylitis. I did PT, I did cortisone injections I stopped bowling, mtn biking & trials riding. Nothing worked except for the temporary relief of the cortisone shots. Life kinda sucked.
    So, I bit the bullet in May of 2009 and had surgery. Lo and behold it worked!!

    I'm back to mtn biking, trials riding and some bowling. Chronic elbow pain is some serious crap!!

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    funny how i didn't relate my own problem to trail riding/downhill. Last year (all summer/fall) i experienced annoying-to-somewhat-severe elbow tendonitis. It seemed to go away essentially the whole second half of this past winter (enough to make me actually forget about it), but I've just taken my first two rides of the season, friday and today. Yep, BAM - totally feeling my elbow now.

    I had not tied the pain to biking before, but now it seems obvious. last fall i'd tried stretches, icing, etc, but it didn't seem to do much...anyway - I'll try some of these remedies, and maybe those Ergon GA1s....

  31. #31
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    mine went away around january and now it is a little tender after a few rides. i realize now that it's triggered from me pulling up on the bars when i wheelie over logs.

  32. #32
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    just curious if anyone had any other thoughts on grips. I'm about to order the Ergon GA1 all mountain grips, but i wonder if they will really help over my current, still-pretty-new grips on my Spesh Enduro (their Thick lock on grip)...

  33. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by starry
    just curious if anyone had any other thoughts on grips. I'm about to order the Ergon GA1 all mountain grips, but i wonder if they will really help over my current, still-pretty-new grips on my Spesh Enduro (their Thick lock on grip)...
    i have the GA1's and they helped out considerably but it isn't the cure all in my opinion.

  34. #34
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    i'm sad i had to find this thread . my elbow started hurting the last couple rides. i notice as i'm gripping the bars tightly and pulling up over a log or something similar. as i learned over the years, when something like this starts bothering, take enough of a rest and a lot of stretching to let it heal. then once feeling better, it's important to strengthen the appropriate muscles- never stop stretching though.

    i need some type of ergo grips so might opt for the gx1 since i need to also be sure pressure is off of my ulnar nerve.

    anyway, i hope i caught it soon enough to heal quickly.

    thanks for the info in this thread!
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  35. #35
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    Dirt rag hss an aryicle on the very subject. The injury is the same as when operating vibrating tools. It also lists techniques on avoiding the injury. Check it out.

  36. #36
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    man..I'm a freaking basket case right now - blown out seperated / broken ribs from my OTB 5 weeks ago and my own mtb elbow issues....they started last March and have gotten progressively worse although they seem to have eased a bit latey (correlation between time on bike...) Changed everyhting about my work / desk / computer setup, then a light went off in my head a week ago on the bike and wondered if its from using just one finger to brake??? who knows. I'm ordering some of that CT Cream.

  37. #37
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    Chiming in a little late because I'm new to the site sorry. I did MMA/ Jiu-Jitsu for 4 years and all my joints and muscles hurt all the time especially in cold weather. The only thing I've found that works is a product called Super Cissus Rx made by USP Labs. I don't sell their product or know anybody that sells it just giving some friendly advice. The grips and handlebars will also help a lot. Hope you get to feeling better.

  38. #38
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    I had huge success this past season with a simple tennis elbow brace/strap thingy...it's not Ace, but another brand (i'm sure the Ace would do fine).

    It essentially eliminated my problem. I wear it only when riding.

  39. #39
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    As the OP on this thread I wanted to offer my observations over the last few months as to what helps relieve my elbow discomfort. As stated above, yes the arm band helps, but doesn't make the issue go away. Stretching you wrist back and forth before and after rides (or working with powertools) also helps. Non-use is probably the most effective strategy, but who can stop using their predominant arm?

    Now here's one I only discovered recently...switch hands for mouse control on your desktop. Sounds weird I know but pay attention to the flexors in your forearm at the elbow while you move your mouse around. I can even feel the discomfort while "mousing" if I rode hard that day, and I'm using my bad arm at the computor that night. For a week now I've switched over to my left hand (not easy) for mouse control, and already am having less issue while riding or working.

    Hopes this helps someone.

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  40. #40
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    Do carbon bars really make a difference?

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    If I were you i would get a few Deep tissue massages on just your elbows. It may hurt but its well worth it. You need to address the cause of why you are having this Px. The cause is because your Forearm muscles are too tight and pulling at there attachment point at the elbow. Getting softer Ti or carbon Bars and softer grips would also help. Also concentrate on how hard you are squeezing the bar some times you dont realized you have a death grip and that is unnecessary.

  42. #42
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    A Dynaflex Powerball gyro exercisers can help with that tennis elbow. I used to get it quite often until I started using it!

  43. #43
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    Finally got me...

    I've had some minor pain for the last month but the final straw was on a triple rock pop-up this Saturday - felt like something tore and that ended my day of riding. I've got the similar symptoms of 'can lift with palm up, but not with palm down'. I know that this started from pulling back on the bars for steep climbs and popping up/over rock ledges (that's when I would feel the pain). I'm 54 (I know it's no excuse) so I guess I can start to expect these types of injuries...

    I just ordered the cream (it's cheaper than a doctors office copay!) and I will report back in a couple of weeks. I figure I would take the next 2 week off to allow it to heal + the cream therapy and see how that goes.
    "The secret of joy is the mastery of pain." (Anaïs Nin)

  44. #44
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    Had some severe elbow pain this past sunday after riding my old HT w/ 60mm blown front suspension on saturday - and found this thread. Some great suggestions/info here.

    One thing I noticed is that nobody mentioned the anconeous muscle. I dont even see much mention of it in the medical literature on line. But this is what I injured. Some of you may have, too. Or not. But just thought I'd throw it out there FWIW.

    The anconeous works to extend the lower arm, much like the triceps do - not to flex/extend the hand/wrist like the other forearm muscles do. But it attaches at the lateral epicondyle and when injured creates symptoms similar to traditional forearm epicondylitis, but it has nothing else in common with the forearm entensors/flexors and the mechanism of injury is totally different. Its not a grip/pull thing so much as an arm extension action that does it (imagine all the mini push-ups and shock absorption one does while riding over rough terrain (especially w/ blown front suspension!)).

    Anyway, treating/rehabing the forearm muscles traditionally associated with epicondylitis (flexors/extensors) will at best have an indirect and tenuous affect on the anconeous muscle, if it is in fact that muscle that is injured.

    The anconeous is basically an extension of the triceps muscle and should be treated accordingly in terms of trying to target it for treatment/rehab. 2 days of rest, NSAIDs, ice, light triceps-like stretches and tons of deep tissue message of the anconeous had me back on my OTHER bike (120mm of lovely Lefty cushiness) yesterday, without issue.

    Tha anconeous:
    Last edited by Stumpjumpy; 05-08-2012 at 06:51 PM.
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  45. #45
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    I have had the tennis elbow since 2010 and just now it has gotten to stop hurting but after 3 injections. So far, it has been 2 - 3 months since the 3rd injection and no pain.. praying it stays that way.
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  46. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lawson Raider View Post
    I have had the tennis elbow since 2010 and just now it has gotten to stop hurting but after 3 injections. So far, it has been 2 - 3 months since the 3rd injection and no pain.. praying it stays that way.
    how bad was the pain pre the injections? was it unbearable, or just a nuisance?

    edit: the reason i ask is because mine started about 8 months ago- not horrible but just there. i even separated my shoulder and that almost 100% but still notice my tennis elbow issue.
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  47. #47
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eric Z View Post
    how bad was the pain pre the injections? was it unbearable, or just a nuisance?
    I had the injection May22 and after the flaming pain from the shot went away, so did the tennis elbow, until now. I didnt ride all summer after the shot until last weekend.

    The shot itself is kind of bad. The assistant said, "you can breathe now" while I was getting it.

    What really hurt like heck was some kind of inflammation or something the next two and 1/2 days afterwards. It was so bad that I thought two months of minor pain is better than that.

    But once that pain went away it was like I never had the issue. All gone until I started trying to ride on the trails again. Now I see today that the pain is back so I am reading this thread again, and wondering what to do next. The doc told me if I come back for more shots then I'll probably have to have surgery.

    My latest theory for a cause is the constant "manuals" on the tough technical trail, lifting the bike over rocks by using my arms rather than my legs. That (theory) is in part because I dont even use my arm on the flats, I take it off the handle bar.

    But thats just a theory. Alternatively maybe I dont even notice I have a death grip when going down steep hills. I dont think I have such a tight grip but maybe I do. But the downhill ride is so short in relation to the entire ride and not all of the downhill is intense so its hard to believe it could be the cause of the problem.

    Anyway, I am going to try the larger grips and handle bars, and try to use my arms much less.

  48. #48
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    Hey Chains,

    The pain you felt post injection is called a cortisone flare. Goggle it up for detailed info. I got flares after all my injections. The flares hurt like the freakin devil. I had a total of 3 before throwing in the towel and having the surgery.

    I'd consider another injection before jumping to surgery. Another option to discuss with your doc is an injection of Platelet Rich Plasma or PRP. Again Goggle it up for more details. If I ever develop this condition again, I'd go for the PRP as it is supposed to give good results.

    The surgery did work for me, but it's a time consuming recovery and depending on what you do for a living it can leave you on medical disability for a couple of weeks.

    Good luck!!

  49. #49
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    Thanks FisherCaliber,

    Glad to have a name for that major pain. I realized the other day I have a big white spot on may arm where the shot went in which I guess is permanent.

    The other day I did a ride with a short but steep descent and a steep ascent where I noticed I was using the handle bars to keep the weight even on the bike (for some odd reason thanks to the strange interworkings of the brain) - that ride caused pain.

    I went riding yesterday, pretty much the same ride but with out the steep descent and relaxed arm on the steep ascent and have no pain today. So the glass is half full. It wasnt a great experiment since it could be one of the two, or both that caused the pain.

    Since the good ride included the steep ascent I now could try the steep descent and see if thats the culprit. I suspect it is. Anyone have suggestions for riding steep descents where endovers are imminent where the rider need not death grip out of fear for survival.

  50. #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by FatTireGoose View Post
    Over the years I've done plenty of sports and had occupations that could potentially cause tendon separation and the pain that ensues, in my elbows. Motocross, carpentry, cabinet making...you name it, but it's each time that I return to mtnbikes that the pain comes back. I believe it's got to do with how tight I grip the bars but unlike my dirtbikes, my mtnbike has no steering damper and I don't know how to lighten my grip. Does this sound like it could be the cause, does anyone know a preventative measure? I'd really like to stay with the sport but do not want to go through with the surgury again, I had my right elbow operated on back in the 90's, and now my left elbow is doing the same thing.
    There are quite a few replies which i have not read.

    Here is some info to put into the whole "how" to understand this problem. Not sure if it is really part of your problem but it certainly helped me out.

    When i started dirt biking i would get a fair amount of forearm pump. no pain but it was noticeable. Being younger i think influenced how it manifested itself -- no pain but lots of pump

    I got a steering damper which tought me not to fight the bars and helped with the pump. Something that is very hard to do. When i went to a bike with no sering damper i found i no longer needed the damper either at high speeds or slow technical stuff. No arm pump after the damper was installed and no pump after the damper was removed. I was as fast as i ver was with the damper. The weight of the bike and the momentum do the work.

    I started lifting weights after many years off. I got serious pain -- like what you described. At the time my doc blamed it on the weightlifting. so i lay ed off but kept with the biking which at the time was PNW trails with lots of logs to hop over. Still the pain persisted

    Now i am in Mexico -- riding is much faster, its like a trow back to my dirt bike days but the pain persisted even after 8 months off the weights. I finally realized that i was fighting the bars. Ive trained myself to loosen my grip on the bars and ride more consistent ride -- i let the bike flow and my arms guide the flow. Less on off braking and then speeding up but still faster. let the bike and your momentum do the work. Its amazing how little effort you actually have to put into the bars. No more pain. I just started with the weights and Ive purchased a wider bar. Lets see what happens. Plus i use my body more than my arms for lifting the bike over obstacles.

    Who knows what the actual deal was but train yourself to fight the bars less and change your technique. Its not easy but i DID make a difference for me. Maby a wider bar might help -- kind of like a seering damper for mt bikes. Also, review all the activities you do. Docs are a smart bunch but my doc said no way the bike was causing it maybe just aggravating it a little bit and that the weightlifting was the 95%culprit -- i think they both played a role. With regard to the bike it wasent the activity it IMO was how i did the activity.

    One last thing. Take some time to heal the condition. this situation has a compounding effect. If you don't heal you may cause irreparable damage that as we age become more complicated. its a vicious cycle.

    good luck

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    I'm surprised nobody has mentioned the "Tyler Twist". It is an exercize that is done with a product called the Theraband. It is really helping me, and the first few mornings I did it I woke up completely pain free. There are lots of videos of the tyler twist on youtube. I would recommend watching the ones posted by doctors.

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    The Tyler twist is interesting. Never heard about it until I googled it. It basically looks like a forearm flexor movement. It's essentially strength/rehabilitation training for the opposing muscle groups of the extensor group "tennis elbow" muscles.

    To keep out of pain, your forearm extensors and flexors must BOTH be strong. Here, strong means firing optimally and/or physically able to handle the forces of mountain biking. The muscles must also be free from spasm so as not to load the joint while at rest.

    Good stuff.

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    I know this is an old thread, but if, like me, you're suffering tennis elbow from biking, here's a novel idea I've just tried: fit a shorter stem. I see a lot of riders are trying to figure out ways of lessening the load on their wrists and elbows... I just swapped out a 70mm stem for a 50mm. I sit more upright now, and I can use my core more effectively to take some of the strain. I always try to practice 'light hands, heavy feet', and this has helped me do it. Just another idea....

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    I have been dealing with tennis elbow for 18 months. It waxes and wanes, but never gets well. I've only been mountain biking about 3 months and that seems to have aggravated it (I think my brake levers were at a bad angle). I've had 2 steroid injections and they both helped for several months. Did 6 weeks of OT. Next step is surgery. I did change out my grips to some with a bit of a "flange", made by Specialized and I think that may help some. Also considering getting bar ends.

    If anyone has any other advice, I'm open to it.

  55. #55
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    Quote Originally Posted by redaunt View Post
    I have been dealing with tennis elbow for 18 months. It waxes and wanes, but never gets well. I've only been mountain biking about 3 months and that seems to have aggravated it (I think my brake levers were at a bad angle). I've had 2 steroid injections and they both helped for several months. Did 6 weeks of OT. Next step is surgery. I did change out my grips to some with a bit of a "flange", made by Specialized and I think that may help some. Also considering getting bar ends.

    If anyone has any other advice, I'm open to it.
    Try some Ergon grips.

    Make sure your brake levers are angled down.

    Definitely try some bar ends. I have used them on my bikes since 1985. I use the cheapie ski bend ones for more hand positions, and also less likely to snag on brush.

    Buy some Arginine cream, and massage it into the effected area several times a day. It aids in blood flow to tendons, and promotes healing. It worked on my tennis elbow, and a friend of mine tried it and had very quick improvement to his tendonitis.

  56. #56
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    Quote Originally Posted by redaunt View Post
    I have been dealing with tennis elbow for 18 months. It waxes and wanes, but never gets well. I've only been mountain biking about 3 months and that seems to have aggravated it (I think my brake levers were at a bad angle). I've had 2 steroid injections and they both helped for several months. Did 6 weeks of OT. Next step is surgery. I did change out my grips to some with a bit of a "flange", made by Specialized and I think that may help some. Also considering getting bar ends.

    If anyone has any other advice, I'm open to it.
    if you're having issues with your elbow(s), look at your shoulder(s). the elbow is really just a hinge joint and doesn't move freely enough to cause problems. Elbow pain that is not traumatic in nature, is usually related to some sort of range of motion issue with the shoulder. Just my 2-cents but it's better to exhaust all options other than surgery.There is nothing surgery can't make worse!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Stumpjumpy View Post
    Had some severe elbow pain this past sunday after riding my old HT w/ 60mm blown front suspension on saturday - and found this thread. Some great suggestions/info here.

    One thing I noticed is that nobody mentioned the anconeous muscle. I dont even see much mention of it in the medical literature on line. But this is what I injured. Some of you may have, too. Or not. But just thought I'd throw it out there FWIW.

    The anconeous works to extend the lower arm, much like the triceps do - not to flex/extend the hand/wrist like the other forearm muscles do. But it attaches at the lateral epicondyle and when injured creates symptoms similar to traditional forearm epicondylitis, but it has nothing else in common with the forearm entensors/flexors and the mechanism of injury is totally different. Its not a grip/pull thing so much as an arm extension action that does it (imagine all the mini push-ups and shock absorption one does while riding over rough terrain (especially w/ blown front suspension!)).

    Anyway, treating/rehabing the forearm muscles traditionally associated with epicondylitis (flexors/extensors) will at best have an indirect and tenuous affect on the anconeous muscle, if it is in fact that muscle that is injured.

    The anconeous is basically an extension of the triceps muscle and should be treated accordingly in terms of trying to target it for treatment/rehab. 2 days of rest, NSAIDs, ice, light triceps-like stretches and tons of deep tissue message of the anconeous had me back on my OTHER bike (120mm of lovely Lefty cushiness) yesterday, without issue.

    Tha anconeous:
    Massage of the Anconeus has been the answer for me. My left elbow has bothered me for a few days after each ride. I ride with a light grip, so that wasn't the issue. Read this post about a month ago and began self-therapy on the Anconeus. Huge improvement. In fact, it's almost immediate relief following 5 minutes of vigorous massage.

  58. #58
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    I hurt my right elbow at the rock climbing gym about 3 months ago and it's only started to be really painful the last few weeks as I was tinkering in the garage. I've found that I can't do a whole lot with my arm if I want to avoid the pain. The most painful thing is having to shake someones hand though.
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    Quote Originally Posted by phattruth View Post
    I hurt my right elbow at the rock climbing gym about 3 months ago and it's only started to be really painful the last few weeks as I was tinkering in the garage. I've found that I can't do a whole lot with my arm if I want to avoid the pain. The most painful thing is having to shake someones hand though.
    Yeah, when my elbow was at its worst, arm extended and thumb pointed up was very painful (handshake position). I felt a lot of discomfort lifting a can or bottle of soda/water/beer. At the same time, palm face down lifting something and I felt no discomfort at all.

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    I've had pain on the top/outside of my forearm near the elbow and the doc said "tennis elbow, wear this brace for several months (!) and stop doing what makes it hurt." No riding, no guitar. Then I discovered the Tyler twist and literally within days it was much better. Now I only have pain on the top of my forearm (extensor digitorum). The twist exercise seems to help but staying away from what I love SUCKS.

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    Tried the "Tyler Twist" thing.....no benefit for me.

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    An update for me, rather than have surgery I quit mountain biking for about a year. A sad time for sure but I had few options. I saw someone who went through the surgery and it was bad and ugly. After a year I started riding again on an easier trail and changed my riding style so that my core held up my body rather than my arms. The pain continued to subside. After about 2 years the pain was all gone and now I am happy to say I am starting to ride on the tough trail again but with the new riding style and have signed up for a XC race series (in the sport class). The "riding style" is keeping my body loose with no locking at any joints, especially the elbows, and sitting more upright. I think when I first started riding on tough terrain I used my upper body more but now think that started the bad habit of "arming" my way through the rocks and causing or at least aggravating an injury. After my first race two weeks ago I realize that under the more stressful situations I am not keeping as loose as I should and so concerned this race series may aggravate the injury again. Hopefully, even amidst the excitement during the race I can learn to keep the first priority on technique and make going fast in hazardous conditions a second priority (safety is really the first priority -call it priority zero). I took a spin class one day and noticed how many people lock elbows while spinning. Only a few of us were relaxing our arms and intentionally using our cores to hold us up. So I suspect this bad technique of locking is the problem for a lot of us. But its a theory from someone who has never studied physical therapy or anatomy. Still, my advice based on what seems to have worked for me is: if you have the elbow pain then take a long break (like a year or so) but work on your core strength and maybe run or something else for fitness. Then start riding without ever leaning on your arms and develop that habit. Then, start adding technical stuff and consciously make all uphill and downhill rocky runs with elbows and hands loose, freely moving like shock absorbers, and only stomach keeps posture and legs do the lifting. I do worry that I am stressing something else out now - that the shock is going somewhere else in my body but I am trying to be aware of that. By summer I'll have another update if I was able to get through the race season without pain.

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