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Elbow Injury
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Mar 11, 2011, 2:04 PM
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Registered: Mar 11, 2011
Posts: 1

Elbow Injury
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About four months ago I started noticing an aching pain developing in my right elbow after starting up some winter training for rock climbing. I had just come off a summer of climbing about 2 times a week and moved back to the city for a new job (lots of computer work) and bought a membership at a local bouldering gym for the winter. I was way overtraining, climbing 4 to 5 times a week and constantly working projects and routes at the peak of my ability. This was incredibly stupid and I am attributing my new found elbow pain to this overtraining. After about a month of this I started noticing a dull, aching pain in my right elbow when I wasnít climbing. At first I thought nothing of it and continued to climb, mostly because it never hurt while actually climbing and I have a bad habit of ignoring pain until it becomes really bad or a chronic problem. The pain progressed and got to the point of really concerning me so I took a week off climbing. Even though I didnít notice any real improvements over the course of the week I decided to return to climbing and within a few weeks it started getting a lot worse. I then decided to take a month off of climbing and this seemed to help but I still had pain. After the month went by I tried easing back into climbing, I did a few pull-ups to test it out and felt a deep pain in my elbow and shortly after it began to swell up. After this incident I decided I needed to go to a doctor so first I saw a regular physician. He tested me for medial and later tendinitis and neither one produced any pain in my elbows so he referred me to a specialist. I went to his specialist who was an orthopedic surgeon and she poked and prodded my elbow and decided it wasnít tendinitis but she wasnít sure what it was so she referred me a physical therapist and prescribed me an anti-inflammatory cream. Unsatisfied with her answer I decided to go see another orthopedic surgeon who had helped me with a knee injury a few years back and was really good. He quickly eliminated tendinitis as a possibility and found that when I slightly hyper-extended my elbow it caused a sharp pain. He took some ex-rays and found that I had a small calcium deposit on the end of my ulna bone that was pinching tissue in my elbow so he gave me a cortisone shoot and sent me on my way. This seemed odd to me because I had never noticed the pain before but I was happy to have an answer, plus he told me I could start climbing again in a week. So the week went by but the pain never really went away, but regardless I had been told by a doctor I could climb so I did. After about two weeks of easy climbing the pain wasnít getting better and I started to notice a tingling sensation running down the side of my forearm and in my pinkie and ring finger so I went back to him. He suggested that what I was experiencing was ulnar nerve compression and said to ice it, take ibuprofen, and keep from bending it as much as possible (this included wrapping it in a towel while I sleep). This seemed to help, the pain was becoming far less frequent and almost completely subsided. But itís been about three weeks since then and the pain is back and now my left elbow is starting to have the same symptoms. The pain is a deep aching pain that is mostly on the outside of my elbows but itís hard to pin down to a specific location because Iíve had it all over my elbow, my forearms, and all the way up into my shoulder. I havenít been able to figure out what causes it to flare up, it seems completely random and will come and go throughout the day regardless of what I am doing or have done. It hasnít woke me up during the night and usually feels pretty good when I wake up in the morning and seems to get worse as the day goes on. The tingling has gone away and the best way I can come up with to describe the pain is it feels a lot like a growing pain. I am frustrated with the doctors Iíve seen and hoping that a little insight might help me before I make my next appointment.


Mar 13, 2011, 8:12 AM
Post #2 of 2 (1155 views)

Registered: Aug 3, 2007
Posts: 2493

Re: [climb208] Elbow Injury [In reply to]
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The pinky/ring finger pretty clearly points to some kind of ulnar neuropathy. This could be simply from the elbow injection you received, or it could be the original source of this entire problem.

If I was you, I'd seek a really good neurologist. Rule out serious pathology first.

It's relatively easy to sort out tendinitis/tendinosis (although not always easy to cure), and a couple professionals seem to have ruled that out already.

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