View Full Version : Weird elbow soreness

06-12-2008, 12:40 PM
When I ride for more than about 7 miles, my left elbow starts to lock up. I have those hybrid upswept handlebars with ergo handles and bar ends. It gets worse when I use the bar ends (although there's less stress on my wrists that way).

It's weird because it's only one arm (never had any trouble with my right).

Anyone had this problem before?

06-12-2008, 12:50 PM
Sounds like some kind of tendonitis (tennis elbow) or something similar? Which part of the elbow is it that feels sore?

06-12-2008, 01:24 PM
Ah, I should have specified.

It stops the second I bend my arm. Holding it to my chest immediately eases the pain (it's just kind of hard to manage on anything but perfectly smooth track). I think tendinitis would linger.

As for the place it hurts....(pointing to it, trying to figure out the best way to describe it) - the place just above the elbow bone on the side closest to my body, on the outside.

06-12-2008, 03:19 PM
triceps maybe? Perhaps your handlebars are not the right width, which can lead to discomfort after awhile.

Or you need stronger triceps - they do a lot of work holding you up!

06-12-2008, 04:15 PM
Does it feel like a cramp of some kind? A cramp might be relieved by bending your arm as you describe. As lynnef suggested, it might be triceps-related, and some strengthening exercises might help. Also, do you keep a tight grip on the bars? Or more of a relaxed lean? Some of the forearm muscles used for gripping may attach near where your pain is and a looser grip could help.

If it really is tendinitis, anti-inflammatory drugs (Ibuprofin [Advil], naproxen sodium [Aleve], NOT Tylenol!!), as well as icing can help. Applying ice for ~10 min. every hour usually is the best (so my chiropractor tells me!).

Also check to make sure your bike fits you well. If you are leaning too heavily on your hands/arms, you might have all kinds of problems. Beyond that, just try to keep your whole upper body as relaxed as possible, concentrating on energy output from your legs. Also, change hand positions as much as practical while riding, and if it doesn't get better, see a doc!

p.s. One more thing to think about regarding only having trouble with the one arm: are you left-handed? Is there anything you do with your left hand exclusively (computer mouse, game controller, catching a softball, chopping carrots, whatever) that might make your left arm more "fragile" than your right? If so, try modifying that activity in some way to let your elbow recover.

p.p.s. I think we are all assuming that you are not riding with your elbows locked out and your arms perfectly straight; there should always be a relaxed bend in your elbows while riding.

06-14-2008, 05:35 PM
That's probably right - it'd explain why my right arm doesn't hurt. It's stronger.

I wonder if those squeezey balls would help that muscle strengthen...I feel it when I type, a little.

06-15-2008, 06:30 AM
It's great you can immediately stop the pain (tho it means taking your hand off the bar).

My suggestions are in the title box.

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Spinning wheels for good!

06-17-2008, 10:04 AM
I know exactly what you are talking about, used to have that happen too.
When I used to play too many computer games with a mouse and then would ride my flat bar MTB it would happen.
Now that I gave up computer games and keep my mousing to a minimum there is no problem.

06-17-2008, 01:58 PM
That can be a problem.