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Question:
I am 64. I have developed a pain inside an elbow when lifting weights or indulging in heavy exercise like rowing, or swinging golf clubs. Is this a longterm form of arthritis related to age, or a temporary tendonitis or bursitis which could disappear with rest? I would appreciate your comments.
KW
Answer:
Thank you for your inquiry. If the pain has developed relatively recently and is / was easing with rest, then this is very likely to not be a long term problem, although you'd be best advised to reduce the weight total and intensity with which you train, or to seek another method of maintaining muscle fitness, or both. Often changing from free weights to machine exercise or the reverse, takes the joint out of the training "groove" that it objects to, and is sufficient. While a physical examination by your physician is necessary to be sure about the truth of this next comment, given the symptoms you mention this is more likely to be tendinitis and less likely to be arthritis. This doesn't mean you can't get degenerative ("wear-and-tear"-induced) or inflammatory arthritis of the elbow especially if you have a long history of use of the joint; it does mean that the more likely explanation for these symptoms of acute onset is tendinitis. To repeat the caution above though (and if you have been training for many years you will know this already) be very sure that the acute tendinitis has completely subsided before you restart your exercise program. If / when you start again, begin with a very much lower weight and intensity than you last trained with for this joint, and back off rapidly if the symptoms return. Otherwise the tendinitis will become chronic and that is both difficult to live with and difficult to treat. Hope this helps.
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