Pain in the elbowÑSuggestions


Smokey Joe
January 17, 2003, 11:08 PM
Have within the past month or so developed a nasty case of tendinitis in my shooting arm elbow. It's the same as tennis elbow, except I don't play tennis. It's gotten to where I have a hard time gripping my revolver to shoot it, let alone accurately. (Well, even worse than usual!) :(

Have been using aspirin, Ibupro. etc. Have a set of exercises a tennis coach showed me that I've been doing for a week now. Not much change.

Any suggestions short of amputation or shooting left-handed, will be duly considered. If you know how to deal with this, PLEASE HELP!

Thanx in advance.

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January 18, 2003, 12:42 AM
Try this:

Sounds like you have lateral (or medial, depending on part of elbow) elbow. You can get a velcro band with a gel insert over the counter that you put over the area of pain....the compression may decrease the inflammation in the bursa over the bony prominence. Also alternate ice/ heat to the area on a daily basis. Take advil or aleve, or better yet, one of the newer antiinflammitories like Bextra/Celebrex/Vioxx.

If this doesn't cure ya after a week or two, see your doctor. A cortisone injection at the epicondyle will long as you put some compression (the velcro band or an ACE wrap) over top afterwards. May need to repeat the shot a couple of times. I suggest a good orthopaedist do this or a talented general practitioner.

Hope that helps (yes I have a degree!) :)

January 18, 2003, 01:25 AM
Here's what I did...
Took the anti imflammatories (messed up my stomach doing it too :uhoh: ), saw PT, did ALOT of off hand shooting, discovered 45 acp is easier/less punishing than 9mm, and now wear a neoprene brace on my elbow when I shoot. Took me a few months, but now, everything seems fine. Oh, be patient!!
Good luck.

Walt Sherrill
January 18, 2003, 07:45 PM
Also, look for other things that might be causing the problem.

I had the same problem a year or two ago, and got to the point where shooting a heavy 9mm was painful.

I have an office job and spent a good bit of my day working with a computer -- manipulating a mouse.

I found that the cause of my problem was my use of the mouse, and how I supported (or didn't support) my wrist when using it.

When I started paying close attention to where my hand was, when using it, the problem started going away.

Its very possible that something you're doing elsewhere in your life may be contributing to (or causing) the problem...

January 18, 2003, 10:47 PM
my nick name is also "smokey joe" which had to to do with smokin joe frazier........but any ways.......i don't think ur problem show's up that fast.........been there done that.........i thonk u have nerve damage......which only time will help........

January 18, 2003, 11:02 PM
I got one of the braces that Agony described and it helped immensely.
Then I got a cortisone shot too, it was so bad that my grip strength was 30% of normal, before I got treatment.
I also bought one of these ergonomic mouses, since the puter was a contributing factor to my epicondylitis.
Rocketmouse (
This mouse is awesome, I use it with either hand while leaning back in the chair.

January 19, 2003, 10:09 AM
I moved CRT to left of desk and retrained myself to use mouse with left hand. It leaves right hand free to write. At age 55 I've developed rhumitism (sp?) in both thumbs and taking Flaxseed oil has helped a lot. Sounds stupid maybe. But it has allowed me to pistol shoot without pain.

Mike Irwin
January 19, 2003, 10:54 AM
I get a LOT of relief with Sports Creme, essentially aspirin in a rub on cream form.

Another brand name is Aspercreme.

You apply it directly on the affected spot, and it's absorbed through the skin into the affected area. I find that it works really well in combination with oral drugs.

I've used it for sore elbows, aching hands, knees, you name it, it works like a trooper.

DO NOT, however use it if you are allergic to aspirin or products in that family.

January 19, 2003, 12:37 PM
Apply JointFlex.

Eat fresh pineapple, core and all (excluding the very outer rind only).

Don't irritate it further for a few weeks.

January 19, 2003, 02:09 PM

If your a doc, and have a nick like that, you wont mind if I go somewhere else would ya? :)

January 19, 2003, 03:40 PM
If your a doc, and have a nick like that, you wont mind if I go somewhere else would ya?

Nah, I'm a PA....same work as a doc, but 1/10th the pay. Work in pain management, hence, agony fits the bill. ;)

January 19, 2003, 05:21 PM
And make sure what the cause of the pain really is! And, then do what the doctor orders. Good shooting:)

January 19, 2003, 05:58 PM
Here's how I cured a nasty case of Tennis elbow.

1. Time off (3-4 months for me)

2. Ice the elbow after play-time

3. Wrap a thick rubberband (like USPS uses) around your four fingers (not the thumb) just below the knuckles. Try to expand these 4 fingers and close them together again in a repetitious manner. Try to work up to 50-100 reps. This strengthens the muscles around the elbow joint.

This worked for my tennis elbow. See if it will work in your case. I also did Iontophoresis on my elbow.

Good luck!

Lexter in NC


Gila Jorge
January 19, 2003, 07:15 PM
I ahve Reiter's syndrome and one of the 4 characteristics is wandering tendonitis...I treat
it with Advil and do NOT think you can work it out as you can't. It is not sore muslces which get better with usage. If you continue to force it you will get increasing discomfort.

January 19, 2003, 07:28 PM
I've had medial epicondilitis. Velcro thingee Agony mentioned worked. I caused mine as my Dr. said "AEB removing punk from Wife's personal space ". ;)

I also had pinched nerve once caused by a poor desk design, which cause poor body positioning on my part. I could see I was holding something in left hand--but couldn't feel it--I dropped it. Pain was in left elbow, no feeling in fingers. PT and changing of desk helped with pinched nerve...all better.

January 19, 2003, 11:03 PM
I had the same ailment a few months ago. My doctor had me take a slightly different approach: He put me in a WRIST brace (looks just like what bowlers wear). He told me that isolating wrist movement will help the tendonitis because wrist movement actually affects tendon anchors at the elbow. I wore that for two weeks, iced the elbow once a day, and took Aleve (again as recommended by doctor). It did the trick and I've had no problems since.

The doctor told me if that didn't work he was going to give me a shot of cortizone which he said takes care of the problem permanently in 90% if cases.

January 21, 2003, 11:17 AM
I suggest stopping waxing your mustache, since that is obviously part of the cause.

Then give my daughters your .243 and SKS,

I'll take your revolver. ;)

Stay away from macintosh devices permanently,:neener:

And most important learn to shoot left handed!

I did the elbow wrap thing during one of my boughts with tendonitis. It really did help! (I thought the Dr. was crazy, my WRIST hurt, but he knew what he was doing. That and anti inflammatories.) The hardest part is it is NOT muscle weakness, thus more exercise will not cure it.


(For anyone reading this, YES, Joe and I shoot together.) :D

January 21, 2003, 11:34 AM
Took the anti imflammatories (messed up my stomach doing it too)

Ask your MD about celebrex - it shouldn't cause those problems. I have one of the velcro thingies, and it works okay. Thing to do is just don't do anything with that arm for a while, then be alert to twinges, because twinges turn into ouches...

January 21, 2003, 12:56 PM

Think positively. Use the rest period to become expert shooting weak-handed.

January 21, 2003, 02:23 PM
I did the pain reliever and doctor thing for the same complaint. Problem was not resolved until I got to an orthopaedist (spelling is questionable). He sent me to a therapist one time who showed me 3 exercises. Problem was gone in weeks and has never returned. My problem was not in my elbow but in my wrist and hands. The key is getting to the right kind of doctor.

January 22, 2003, 12:11 AM
I've had a similar problem twice with my rt elbow. At first I did just as AGONY suggested, and it worked to a degree. [I didn't get the cortozone shot] I had a friend suggest something else, cut off the foot of a tube sock and wear it on the arm over the elbow night and day. Ok so do 2 tube socks and wash them occasionally.

The tube sock adds warmth and some support to the elbow. After 2-3 weeks I didn't need the sock any more. This method is very cheap and doesn't require much in the way of pain meds. If it does'nt work for you the only price is for a pair of tube socks.

Probably all of this advice works, it just depends on your problem and what you want to do for it.

Smokey Joe
January 22, 2003, 01:55 AM
Have been doing the exercises religiously, and have used pain meds occasionally. The original velcro wrap wore out its velcro & I've gotten another one. Have used heat/cold on one occasion, but usually I just don't have the patience. Have not been shooting the revolver. But I'm not letting Gfrey have it while I'm on the green side of the sod! Nor will I shoot lefthandedÑhe's a lefty so he thinks it's normal.

The pain is now limited to the occasional twinge, except when I straighten my elbow, clench my fist around an imaginary pistol, and try to sight it. I'll not be doing that for real for a while. :mad: Giving a really firm handshake is also not fun.

If this thing continues to improve, so be it. If it's still a nuisance in a couple of weeks I do know a good orthopaedist, courtesy of a rotator cuff problem awhile back (in the other armÑno, it's not related). I was/am hoping to avoid him. He knows he's good, and co$ts accordingly.

Again thank you one and all for your help and your concern. Further suggestions will still be gladly received of course!

January 22, 2003, 02:06 AM
Get plenty of rest, do some PT and just hope it doesn't move south. :D

Smokey Joe
January 22, 2003, 02:18 AM
Cardboard: Yeah, I too hope it doesn't move south. A PITA is, well, a real PITA. :p

January 24, 2003, 02:28 AM
Developed a severe case of medial epicondylitis in September, midway through a week at Gunsite. Truly debilitating. I shot through the pain but it has taken four months to begin to improve.

I shot the course (1200 full-house rounds) with an HK USP Compact .45, mostly from the holster. The combination of the fast presentation and the very lightweight pistol was the cause of the problem.

Because I am an Olympic hopeful in my "real" sport (see user name) and I have World Championships and a test event in Athens coming up this summer, my doctor decided on an aggressive, non-surgical approach to fix the problem:

The solution consisted of cortisone shots (seems to have helped), Vioxx (didn't help), Celebrex (didn't help), Mobic (finally helped), 3X/weekly physical therapy at the U.S. Ski Team's clinic for 5 weeks including iontophoresis (made it worse) and ultrasonic therapy (finally, a big help), stretching, resistance training... and switching to a pair of full-size 1911's. Thirty-eight ounces of .45 shooting goodness.

One surprising thing was the med staff at the PT clinic, 3 out of 4 who worked with me are women, and all turned out to be RKBA supporters who were very interested in helping me get back to shooting my pistols as well as my bow.

I'm probably back to 85-90% but generally, I'm always "aware that I have an elbow" , if you know what I mean.

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