Elbow/ulnar nerve soreness

General discussions about getting and staying fit that don't relate directly to your indoor rower
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Dreadnought
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Elbow/ulnar nerve soreness

Post by Dreadnought » August 12th, 2020, 5:59 pm

I'm not sure if I should implicate the SkiErg or the Rower, but recently, I have developed soreness at the elbow where the ulnar nerve traverses.
Fortunately there is no numbness or weakness associated with this, but I am concerned about ulnar cubital tunnel syndrome.

https://orthoinfo.aaos.org/en/diseases- ... -syndrome/

At present, the soreness is not severe enough to stop me from doing the erg workouts, but I wonder if I should stop altogether until the symptoms subside completely

3rdRowFromBack
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Re: Elbow/ulnar nerve soreness

Post by 3rdRowFromBack » August 12th, 2020, 6:21 pm

A quick glance at some of your profile information shows you’ve been on the forum since 2006, so I assume you’ve been rowing fairly consistently for about a decade and a half. You’ve given us very little to go on, just a note that there’s soreness in the area of the ulnar nerve’s passage around the elbow. As you’ve discovered, this is possibly due to irritation/compression of the ulnar nerve in that vicinity. FWIW, I’d guess simple irritation to be more likely than actual compression, but the presence of one does not preclude the existence of the other. That all said, I’d start by seeing my primary care provider if the soreness lasts more than a couple weeks, having in that time reduced activity at least somewhat and perhaps given some ibuprofen a try as well. Be sure to share your concerns. Regular x-rays probably won’t be very helpful, but it’s hard to have an orthopedic problem of any sort and not end up getting ‘em done. There might be some physical therapy that could prove helpful, or perhaps a brace, akin to a tennis elbow wrap-style brace perhaps. The two maladies are related, so it makes sense, I guess. If it continues/progresses, and especially if you note any weakness in the hand, seeing a decent orthopedist would be on the short list of recommendations, I’d think.

jamesg
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Re: Elbow/ulnar nerve soreness

Post by jamesg » August 14th, 2020, 3:38 am

Every day we apply the Threshold theory: work causes damage; our systems repair that damage if it's below a certain threshold and so improve or at least maintain.

But if the damage is over that threshold then it accumulates. Rest will then be necessary.

No doubt we must extend that theory to cover all our single bits and pieces, not just CV or total muscle, especially if we are applying high loads. This suggests as a first step that you lighten and limit joint rotation and torque at the finish, where elbows are easy to overload, and see what happens. This will have very little effect on performance, since most of our work is done by thighs and hips.
08-1940, 183cm, 87kg. Last seen MHR 162, in 2k (2020-05-16) 8.47.5@24

mromero680
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Re: Elbow/ulnar nerve soreness

Post by mromero680 » August 14th, 2020, 1:09 pm

I had the same a couple of years ago and it seems like it lasted a good six months. I attributed it to going hard and doing intervals before I built a base but not sure. I finally got tired of painful rows and chin ups so started doing more forearm work and icing/heating it and changed thumb position on rower handle (from under to over) and it faded. No idea if any of that helped or if it just took time. Was no fun though while it lasted.
57/5'10"/HWT
500m: 1:36.9/ 2k: 6:59.2 / 5k: 18:53.2 / 30min: 7762 / 10k: 38:57.4 (2020 PBs)

Dreadnought
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Re: Elbow/ulnar nerve soreness

Post by Dreadnought » August 17th, 2020, 11:14 am

3rdRowFromBack wrote:
August 12th, 2020, 6:21 pm
A quick glance at some of your profile information shows you’ve been on the forum since 2006, so I assume you’ve been rowing fairly consistently for about a decade and a half.
You are giving me way too much credit. I have been on and off all those years.

I have been back to doing it consistently over about the past several months.

I appreciate all your other observations. I am currently backing off on the rowing and skierging, and doing more running and cycling.

Dreadnought
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Re: Elbow/ulnar nerve soreness

Post by Dreadnought » August 17th, 2020, 11:16 am

mromero680 wrote:
August 14th, 2020, 1:09 pm
I had the same a couple of years ago and it seems like it lasted a good six months. I attributed it to going hard and doing intervals before I built a base but not sure. I finally got tired of painful rows and chin ups so started doing more forearm work and icing/heating it and changed thumb position on rower handle (from under to over) and it faded. No idea if any of that helped or if it just took time. Was no fun though while it lasted.
What sort of forearm work?

3rdRowFromBack
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Re: Elbow/ulnar nerve soreness

Post by 3rdRowFromBack » August 17th, 2020, 12:04 pm

Dreadnought—Thanks for your kind response.

It seems to me even more likely, given that you’re back to rowing after a hiatus, and that you may be trying to ramp up the activity to something like where you were before, that the elbow soreness is more probably a bit of overuse injury to one or more of the several things that connect to, pass over, etc., that particular area. As I’m sure you’re aware, such things are common, and become ever more so as we age—something of which I am forcibly reminded frequently! So it sounds to me like some modest changes in effort, grip, etc., as better described by others already, along with a moderate dose of “If it hurts too much when you do that, don’t do that,” will likely, over time, result in healing. At least I hope so.

Regardless of all else, let me offer best wishes to you in this and all else.

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