It doesnt sound to me like a tendon, scar tissue or anything of that nature… By the sounds of it, you probably have elbow bursitis. I had it a few years back… it hurts like hell, swells up pretty good, hurts bad when you try and straighten your arm, and isnt something to take too lightly. You should probably go and see your Doctor about it.
The bursa sac in your elbow is basically inflamed, or actually may have burst, causing the swelling. The thing you really have to watch out for is if the bursa gets infected (thats why Id go to the Doctor). If its infected you need antibiotics, otherwise it wont get better. I didnt go to a Doctor, just went to my trainer at my college and he kept saying “oh it will get better soon”… 2 months later it was worse than ever… I almost had to get hooked up to an IV 24/7 to get rid of the infection.
the reason mine got infected was because the trainer at my school drained the area to get rid of the swelling (a very common thing done in this case)… but that caused the infection… so Id be careful if they suggest that procedure.
I dont mean to scare you, just want you to realize that you should have that looked at.
I may be wrong, but that definitely sounds like elbow bursitis to me.
What is elbow bursitis?
Elbow bursitis, also called olecranon bursitis, causes fluid to collect in a sac that lies behind the elbow, called the olecranon bursa. A bursa is a slippery, sac-like tissue that normally allows smooth movement around bony prominences, such as the point behind the elbow. When a bursa becomes inflamed, the sac fills with fluid. This can cause pain and a noticeable swelling behind the elbow.
Why did I get elbow bursitis?
Elbow bursitis may follow a traumatic accident, such as a fall onto the back of the elbow, or it may seemingly pop up out of nowhere. People who rest their elbows on hard surfaces may aggravate the condition and make the swelling more prominent.
How is the diagnosis of elbow bursitis made?
The common symptoms of elbow bursitis include:
Pain around the back of the elbow
Swelling directly over the bony prominence of the tip of the elbow
Slightly limited motion of the elbow
There are other conditions that can cause elbow pain and swelling, and these should also be considered as a possible diagnosis.
Are the complications of elbow bursitis?
Occasionally, the swelling and inflammation can be the result of an infection within the bursa, this is called infected elbow bursitis. Patients with systemic inflammatory conditions, such as gout and rheumatoid arthritis, are also at increased risk of developing infected elbow bursitis
Thanks for the reply. If I am to continue doing exercises that don’t aggravate it then I have to completely cut out any upper body pressing movements. I would not be able to do either my chest or my shoulders, and obviously not my triceps directly. Also, it will be difficult to workout any part of my upper body without fully extending or flexing the elbow more than 90 degrees with exercises like pullups or bicep curls.
Even worse, I have no idea how to tell the difference between pain that I should work through or pain that will set me back. When I had physical therapy for a shoulder dislocation 2 years ago, it was very painful sometimes. If it were not for a physical therapist, I would not have known whether the pain would be helping or hurting me in some cases.
Also, is it smart to workout all the pulling muscles in my upper body and just forget about the pressing ones while my tricep heals? I don’t want to create any imbalances.
Don’t take any of that as me saying that you are out and out wrong. I appreciate the feedback, but I don’t know if working through it is going to help or hurt me, especially since I will not be able to hit half of my upper body at all. I’d like to hear other’s opinions, too.
As you’re probably aware, you have to ice the area for the first two days after the injury, preferably 3 times a day. After that, the inflammation is gone and you apply heat, especially after your workout. (You can also wrap a tension bandage loosely around the area for a few hours a couple of times a day to keep the area warm.) Any pain you feel now is scar tissue breaking down, and that hurts as well.
If you can apply or get someone to do ART to the area, it can help, as well as ultrasound. As far as your workouts are concerned, you’ll have to cut back on the weight and experiment on what exercises you can do and don’t further irritate it. It’s a fine line between recognizing pain you have to work through, and pain that’s going to set you back.
Also, avoid locking out your elbow, and don’t allow your elbow to bend less than 90 degrees (both very bad). It’s important to isolate all the exercises in your routine that could also be contributing to the problem, including bicep and chest work, and possibly even pullups. If it hurts, find another way to do it until you recover, then bring it back in slowly. I think the rule would be if it hurts slightly during the set, it’s okay to a point. If the pain lingers after the set, try something else, but it’s going to take a while to clear up. And that’s my opinion.
I believe he’s right and it is elbow bursitis. I’ve had it many times but never allowed it to go to the extent of swelling. I have it in my right elbow now. My suggestions mean nothing at that point when you’ve allowed it to go as far as you have. Medical attention is your only option. Recognizing it early has allowed me to adjust my workouts as I recommended (except there probably isn’t any scar tissue to work through) until I can get rid of it. That means reducing the inflammation, stretching and don’t aggravate it further. I haven’t had to give up on any muscle group because of it. The hard part is avoiding it in the first place.