Elbow "pit" pain

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Elbow "pit" pain

Postby lilykw » January 12th, 2009, 7:50 pm

Hi all,
I'm sort of new to rowing. I rowed briefly on my college team but I haven't rowed in a couple years. I recently decided that it was the only indoor workout I could do all winter (I live in MT, so winters are very long) so I bought a model D last week. Started up this weekend (I'm in decent muscular, but fairly crappy cardiovascular shape as I lift weights, but haven't done any real cardio since warmer months. 5'10", 140lbs) and am having trouble with the tendons on the inside of my elbows really hurting. I think it's a form thing, but I can't remember from when I used to row so I'll ask: where should the handle be at the finish related to your body? I think I'm pulling high (I end up right under my bust), but I thought I'd check with the local experts before making any drastic changes to form. Seemed to feel better at belly-button height when I pulled a few strokes that way, but felt awkward.
Any help is much appreciated.
Thanks,
Lily
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Postby Nosmo » January 12th, 2009, 7:58 pm

Good OTW forum should be pulling in at about the sternum. On the erg some people lay back a lot resulting in pull in much closer to the chin but that is because there head is lower not because there hands are further from the ground. I would recommend not using much lay back. You should be able to row without the straps.

However... If you having trouble with your elbows you are likely bending your arms too soon. Make sure your arms are relaxed and not engaged until your legs are down. Try rowing legs and back only for a while and keep your arms really relaxed. ALso keep your wrists absolutely flat.

When using your arms, make sure your shoulder blades are engaged at the finish. You should feel your shoulder blades coming together. Your elbows should not be too high or too low and your forearms should be more or less parallel to the ground.
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Postby atblsb » January 12th, 2009, 10:59 pm

I also had elbow pain - mine was in my left elbow. This may sound stupid but what I determined to be the cause was the fact that I would continuously hold the end of handle with my left hand when I would wipe my forehead with my right hand during a workout. Holding the handle at the end applied a pretty good torque to the joint over a long period of time. There are obviously several things you can do to correct this problem (don't wipe your forehead, get a headband, switch hands, hold the handle in the middle, etc.). I know this sounds simple but this was my problem.

AB
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Postby stephencp » February 15th, 2009, 12:17 am

Hi

Check out volkners book, "rowing faster" page 36, sounds like you've got Medial epicondylosis (golfers elbow). Causes are overuse, weak grip. Treatment is physio, anti-inflamatories and steriod injection in resistant cases.

I had a very similar complaint, was due to poor/weak grip (too much in my fingers, not getting the oar in the paw). I completely recovered in only two weeks simply by improving/firming my grip without dropping any distance on the c2 (50-80 km a week).

Volkners book is a good read, I recommend.

Good luck, hope you have a speed recovery
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Postby bloomp » February 15th, 2009, 9:17 am

I also recommend Volker Nolte's book - not Volkner...

But from my experience, I've found that any pain in the forearm area, even up to the elbow is from either gripping too hard, or you might be pulling into your chest at a weird angle. When you finish your stroke, are your arms up and out like "chicken wings" or are they down by your side?
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Postby CardioKickboxer » February 17th, 2009, 3:32 am

bloomp wrote:I also recommend Volker Nolte's book - not Volkner...

But from my experience, I've found that any pain in the forearm area, even up to the elbow is from either gripping too hard, or you might be pulling into your chest at a weird angle. When you finish your stroke, are your arms up and out like "chicken wings" or are they down by your side?


Where should the arms be? Chicken wings or by your side? Thanks.
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Postby lilykw » February 17th, 2009, 2:13 pm

My arms are down by my side, not chicken-wingy. I've found that when I pull in lower, more belly-button height, less chest, the pain only appears when I get tired toward the end of my row. I have a pretty solid grip, but try to keep my hands relaxed. I always warm up by rowing with just my legs, so I don't think that I'm pulling too soon. I think maybe too much bend was the issue. I suppose even if it isn't "proper" form, if it prevents the pain, I should stick with it?
What is the name of Volker's book?
Thanks for all the replies...
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Postby Rhubarbarian » February 17th, 2009, 3:19 pm

Just on the off chance that this isn't a rowing form issue, but actually a medical issue, I'll ask if you ever have this elbow pain when you do other vigorous physical activity. If so, then get in to see your physician as soon as possible.
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Postby lilykw » February 17th, 2009, 4:21 pm

Nope, I've never had this pain before and I lift weights and use my arms pretty extensively in my work.
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Postby bloomp » February 17th, 2009, 8:10 pm

You *should* have chicken wing arms - that's the way to make sure your latissimus dorsi are doing the work for your arms.
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Postby bloomp » February 17th, 2009, 8:13 pm

Also, Volker Nolte's book is called "Rowing Faster" - he is a genius in this sport.

Do you stretch regularly? It sounds like you do (you seem to be very health conscious), but if you try to pull your hands back towards your body, or pull them down towards it, that might help. I wish I had a way to show this, but it's a good way to stretch your biceps/forearms.
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Postby carlb » March 1st, 2009, 2:40 pm

lilykw wrote:My arms are down by my side, not chicken-wingy. I've found that when I pull in lower, more belly-button height, less chest, the pain only appears when I get tired toward the end of my row. I have a pretty solid grip, but try to keep my hands relaxed. I always warm up by rowing with just my legs, so I don't think that I'm pulling too soon. I think maybe too much bend was the issue. I suppose even if it isn't "proper" form, if it prevents the pain, I should stick with it?
What is the name of Volker's book?
Thanks for all the replies...


I've had a rower for 4 months and rowed about 200K.

Looking at the UK technique video http://www.concept2.co.uk/training/technique_video.php
it appears at the end of the pull the elbows are 4 to 6 inches away from the body. I also tend to try to have elbows graze body, I thought that was correct. But now will go for a more relaxed position like in the video.

I also have the golfer's elbow pain i.e. Medial Epicondylitis, the opposite side of the arm from the more common tenns elbow. Its on my right arm only and started in December or January.

I think the way I did it was at the end of the stroke I was adding a wrist flip or kick, that would give me just a little faster speed. I think I also would unroll my grip a little at the end of the recovery reaching towards the flywheel, i.e. extend my fingers. That motion would use tendon a lot. Doing that 25 times/minute for 30 to 40 minutes is a lot of activity that I never had in the past.

I don't think I've been to successful curing my problem. I still have definite pain when using a strong grip for anything. I do computer programming so I wonder if right-handed use of my arm all day on the mouse is part of continued problems.

I haven't rowed much for 6 weeks, i.e. rest. I put on some ice. When I row its for 10 to 15 minutes. I either use a weight lifting glove with a wrist wrap that prevents wrist flex, or I use wrist hooks so no grip at all. I prefer the glove. I try for a relaxed grip that does not change at all, no unrolling fingers or flipping wrist.

Your post caused me to do some searching again. Google books for "Medial Epicondylitis" turns up a lot. This seemed a good one and I retyped some of it from page 55-56 (read the original!):
------------------
http://books.google.com/books?id=LTS70c ... dial+brace

Office orthopedics for primary care By Bruce Carl Anderson
page 55

Step 1
Prescribe a Velcro Wrist Splint (*I assume to reduce use of the tendon*)
Empirically prescribe NSAID (Advil) for 3 to 4 weeks, but may not concentrate significantly in this reatively avascular tendon site
Educate the patient that wrist and hand motions that agrivate the tendon
Apply ice over the epicondyle

Step 2 (3 to 4 weeks for persistent cases)
Prescribe a short-arm cast to replace the splint
Prescribe long-arm cast if supination and pronation prominently affect the pain at the elbow
Stop NSAID
Continue with ice

Step 3 (6 to 8 weeks for persistent cases)
Injection of D80
strongly advise fixed immobilization with casting for an additional 3 weeks
-------------------------
You can read Volker pages on elbow injuries there but I didn't find it that helpful. Except the advice for a larger diameter grip, I may try to wrap my handle to make it larger.
http://books.google.com/books?id=-wmLeD ... r#PPA36,M1
-------------------------

I did find several studies that mainly focused on Tennis elbow. After 1 year there was not much difference between the success rates of various approaches. I.e. having a doctor tell them to rest it (wait-and-see) worked about as well an active approach of physiotherapy or injections.

I think I'll try the "Office Orthopedics" plan, a wrist splint or cast for a few weeks to try to prevent use. Oddly I'll wake up and my elbow will be very sore, I wonder if I am clenching it in my sleep? The immobilization of the wrist may help. Plus ice more. Also try to find an Advil gel or other NSAID gel to apply topically, taking pills doesn't work well.

If that doesn't work then I should see a doctor.

Some other links:
http://www.fairview.org/healthlibrary/c ... se_sma.htm
http://www.fairview.org/healthlibrary/c ... se_rex.htm
http://www.bidmc.org/YourHealth/Conditi ... nkID=11828
http://www.crd.york.ac.uk/CRDWeb/ShowRe ... 2006000090
http://www.crd.york.ac.uk/CRDWeb/ShowRe ... 2006001601
http://www.crd.york.ac.uk/CRDWeb/ShowRe ... 2004009810
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Postby SFCurley » September 19th, 2009, 4:02 pm

I, too, have had elbow pain as described. What has been VERY helpful is to use weightlifting wrist hooks, which dramatically reduce the work your hands have to do and strain on the elbow.
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Postby energi » September 21st, 2009, 12:03 am

I had the same thing happen because I gripped too hard. Once I focused on keeping my grip loose, it went away.
42 yr old mom training for a 100km in June 2010 - http://www.igo100.ca
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