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Dr. Andrew Rynne

Family Physician

Exp 50 years

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Hello my name is Hannah and I am 22 years

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Dr. Aaron Branch

General & Family Physician

Practicing since :2011

Answered : 385 Questions

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Posted on Wed, 23 Jan 2019 in Bones, Muscles and Joints
Question: Hello my name is Hannah and I am 22 years old. I just graduated college, and for the past 3 months I have had elbow and wrist pain in my right arm. I am in the middle of transferring to a new doctor, but I am worried about this when starting my new job. I am fluent in sign language, and I will be working at a Deaf school next month and I will be signing with the students everyday and I don't want to go to my new job with being in pain like this. It literally is my livelihood and it concerns me. Back in October it started hurting pretty bad on the outside of my elbow and radiates up into my wrist. I couldn't drive for a few days because it hurt so badly, and this isn't normal for me. I also lift weights at the gym, and I wonder if I did something to aggravate it? I asked a doctor and she thought I might have arthritis, but I don't think it is that. I need to get some testing done but it will take time to find a doctor and what not, so that's why I'm on here to ask. If I do have arthritis then I will deal with it but I really think it might be overuse of my muscles, and this happens to be my dominate arm as well. So in your opinion what might it be? Thanks for your help!
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Answered by Dr. Aaron Branch 1 hour later
Brief Answer:
Lateral epicondylitis

Detailed Answer:
Hello, I'm Dr. Branch, thanks for using Ask a Doctor. While it is difficult to say for sure without an examination, the symptoms you describe and the most common cause of elbow pain suggest lateral epicondylitis (tennis elbow). This was likely aggravated by lifting weights. The treatment for this is usually avoiding activities that aggravate it, using a brace (you can search for tennis elbow brace and find many good options). Beyond this physical therapy can be beneficial. Taking NSAID medication like Ibuprofen can help, and if the pain persists, steroid injections can also help as well.

Without treatment, symptoms usually persist for 6 months to 2 years, but hopefully with some of these treatments it can heal sooner than that. I would suggest seeing a doctor if you can, and in the meantime trying the brace and Ibuprofen to see if they help, as well as avoiding activities that make the pain worse.

I hope that helps, please let me know if you have any questions about that and I would be glad to discuss it further with you.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Kampana
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Follow up: Dr. Aaron Branch 12 hours later
Thank you so much for answering my question. I brought this up with the doctor I saw and she kind of dismissed it. I don't play tennis but I do workout every week and that includes lifting weights. I broke my elbow when I was in kindergarten pretty badly but it healed ever since. I used to crack my muscles without any pain and I just remember one day it started hurting and I thought maybe this was the reason for it. But I also was lifting heavy dumbbells that I maybe shouldn't have been lifting. I strained a muscle in my right shoulder from moving heavy boxes and I was going to physical therapy and lifting weights to try and get the muscle stronger, but I like I might have injured something else now it looks like. It just is driving me crazy because I finally got my shoulder better and now I am having this issue. It might just be a lot of things, I will get this checked out when I can find a doctor once I move. If I do end up having arthritis then I will deal with it, but I really hope this isn't the case.. I have stopped lifting weights, and will look into getting a brace. It is possible to get tennis elbow from these circumstances, and is it normal to have pain on and off with this type of injury? I have some really good days and some really bad days as well when it comes to the pain. Thank you again for your help!
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Answered by Dr. Aaron Branch 3 hours later
Brief Answer:
Please see below

Detailed Answer:
Yes, you don't have to play tennis (or golf) to get lateral epicondylitis, and the pain can come and go depending on whether it gets aggravated by certain activities or not. An examination by a doctor should confirm whether this is the cause of your elbow pain.

Arthritis would not be very likely at all, it is rare to have arthritis in the elbow, and almost unheard of in someone your age. I would suggest you check with another doctor for this.

Hopefully, that helps. If you have any other questions just let me know.
Thank you for your question.
Take care!


Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Arnab Banerjee
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