Pain in elbow

I have some pain round the inside (the part close to my body) of my elbow. It’s not caused by kayaking but it has some impact on my kayaking. I can’t go as long or as hard for fear it might flare up. So I thought I’d ask if others had thoughts on what to do to help. Besides pills, that is.

It happened during a backpacking trip that turned into a climbing with heavy backpack trip. Having to pull myself and the pack up, and then lower myself and the heavy pack down some pretty steep rocky terrain. It started to get very sensitive to the touch. So I’m guessing a tendonitis on the inside part of the elbow.

Since coming back from the trip, it’s slowly getting better. But too slowly. Paddling for more than an hour starts to irritate it, though it’s tolerable up to 3 hours on the water. But I’m a bit tentative going any longer. I also don’t dare to work too hard.

My stomach don’t tolerate pain reliever/anti-inflammatry drugs. So I try not to use it unless absolutely neccessary. I’m fishing for other, non-pill remedies that might help.

When I had tennis elbow some years back, I was given a band to put on my forearm, which actually helped quite a bit. Has anyone use it for the inside location?

Use a smaller bladed paddle
loke a Windswift or Werner Sprite. You could also try a Greenland Paddle just watch your technique and don’t use your elbow. As far as using the anti inflammatories like Motrin or Naprosyn, take them with food and try taking Prilosec or Zantac to prevent stomach upset and bleeding.

Get a GP
The boat will move just as fast and there is no strain. I’m not asking you to believe me…I’m asking you to try one. Give it 5 minute and then you tell me what you think. Your decision will also tell me what kind of a paddler you are cause I have tried one and I know.

Paddlin’ on


Rest it

– Last Updated: Jul-15-08 11:50 PM EST –

When I went to Texas this winter, I began to get some pain on the inside of the left elbow. I have heard this called "golf elbow."

Anyway, in my case it probably was related to a pre-existing shoulder injury I had on the same side. It did not recur after that trip, but I had a really long enforced abstinence from paddling then because I injured my ribs 3 days after returning!

In your case, it became inflamed during the backpacking trip. So don't do whatever caused it to happen in the first place, and rest a while before paddling again. For example, you say it's okay for up to an hour, so paddle for an hour instead of 3 hrs. Then apply ice or heat if it flares up.

Had that same issue
a few years ago for some reason. Don’t recall a specific injury and the pain came and went without any real consistency.

I did have good luck using a pressure band, a BandIt band to be exact. I’ve always had very good results anytme I’ve used this band.

Good luck to you.

Golfer’s Elbow
Google it.

Ice it.

I agree with my friend tsunamichuck above.

Probably Golfer’s Elbow
Could be anything from a simple overextension to a case of Tennis or Golfer’s Elbow. (Tennis tends to exhibit pain on the outer tendons of the elbow; Golfer’s on the inner. I don’t play either one, but I often get pain resulting from sipping too many Martinis in the clubhouse).

I experienced something similar that was indeed caused by paddling, and I found these exercises helpful:

I also recently took a Forward Stroke clinic with Brent Rietz, who advocates, among many other things, a ‘chicken wing’ stroke, incorporating raised elbows and lots of torso rotation instead of the usual lowered-elbows arm-paddling. Made a WORLD of difference, and now the only time my elbows give me any trouble is when my proper form is slipping:

As others have said, ice it, give it a rest, start doing some gentle flexion exercises, then start paddling easy, with a better stroke.

Good Luck!


Another vote for GP
I was having similar problems even with an AT paddle, but when I started using GP the pain suddenly disappeared. POOF! Like night and day.


Thanks a lot.
Thanks for all the good suggestions, especially the stretching routines I did a few set of that. Boy does it feel good. (I’m sure there’s no immediate results, but I’ll be on the way to getting better).

My situation is not help that I use computer all day. So essentially my wrist got no rest even when I stop paddling! I’ve had various wrist issues from both mountain biking and kayaking in the past. Not biking or kayaking is hard enough, not using the mouse isn’t even an option.

I do find the right stretch routine goes a long way in preventing problem and for recovery.

Thanks again.


Sounds like
bursitis, commonly knows as tennis elbow.

The best thing you can do is let it rest until you recover, then not strain that part of the body to help prevent it from coming back.

The more you stain it the worse it will get.

The good news is that you should be putting very little strain on your elbow when kayaking. Also be careful not to cause the same injury to your shoulders, because these joint injuries are usually permanent.

If it means using body rotation, smaller paddle, or GP, it’s best not to stop whatever is causing joint damage.

Also try not to bump your elbow into stuff.

It can take a long time to heal.

Daily computer use…
… really prolonged a bout of forearms tendinitis I had a few years ago - even with me paying special attention to keeping wrists neutral (including a brace for a while), etc.

Mice and keyboards are a disasters. Even the best “ergonomic” solutions (as opposed to the marketing BS versions) are only going to help a bit, as these are not the sort of actions and positions the fingers/hand/wrist/elbow are made for over such long periods of time -even when correctly aligned and such.

The Trigger Point Therapy Workbook
Look it up on Amazon, it has a section on golfer’s elbow. This book helped me fixed my tennis elbow in less than a month with simple massage of trigger points. Finding the trigger points is the tricky part, and the book has all the maps. Trigger points are knots in strained muscles that pull and stretch everything they are attached to and cause pain everywhere but the source of the problem. They don’t hurt until you poke them, and they can be hard to find, so we (and doctors) tend to focus on the displaced pain instead of the real problem. Trim your fingernails, once you find them the pain relief is so great you’ll be rubbing your skin off. Happy hunting!

have tendonitus
for 2 years now - tried it all - still in both elbows (outside mostly) - even after winter rest and stretching and even physical therapy so… I just use band-it bands when paddling, ibuprofen, and a greenland paddle. It is tolerable for me.