Arm pain. Could it be tendon damage?

I’ve been reading this forum for several months, among other sources online and in print (including Terence’s book), to try and gleam as much information as I can to help with the problem, but still it persists.

I’m a 30 year old novice driver who only recently got into karting (rental) 8 months ago, and initially went frequently, until I started experiencing a pain on the inside of my elbow, which would flair up usually a day after karting. This pain was exacerbated when playing other sports, and ended up putting my arm out of action for days at a time, and meant I had to take several weeks off karting between sessions. Over the past 4 months, I’ve only been on track twice, to try and let my arm recover, but still the pain returns after karting. So now I’m turning to the collective experience and expertise of this forum, to help me pinpoint and hopefully alleviate the problem.

I’m starting to think it may be tendon damage (on the inside of the elbow), which may be similar to Golfer’s Elbow. Is there such a thing as Karter’s Elbow?

The pain occurs when pulling or lifting, so I think the injury was the result of me pulling on the steering well as I turned. To combat this, I now try to push on the wheel to turn, have adjusted my seat position forward, bought decent grippy gloves, softened my grip and adjusted my hand position lower on the wheel, as well as trying to improve my posture.

I’ve found this forum to be a great source of knowledge, so I’m hoping there’s someone here who can shed some light on this, or maybe has experienced it and is able to offer some advice.

Any feedback would be greatly appreciated.

Many thanks

Would your elbow be occasionally hitting the cylinder head?

If your condition persists, see a physician.

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sounds like bursitis. I have at in my shoulder. I assumed tendon damage but the pain persisted despite extensive rest periods. see a doctor. It will need steroid injection or surgery if a problem. I am averse to that, but don’t make the same mistake as me waiting too long. I can’t really drive for long periods now.

Ok so I have the exact same issue. This is my experience.

Driving a kart that understeers on a really grip up track is what did it for me.

You done some nerve damage it is called cubital tunnel syndrome. Karting seriously aggravates this issue especially if you work at a computer all day at your 9-5 job. You get pain on inside of elbow. I kept racing all season and got the point where I just had zero strength in my right arm as result of pain and numbness.

I have been working with a physical therapist on series of stretching techniques and strengthening exercises.

Bad news is you need to rest it for a really long time and continue to do series of stretching exercises and build up to strength and reduce inflammation in the area very slowly as easy to aggravate…I am not a physio this is the .25cent explanation.

In my situation this all occurs from not having enough strength in shoulder and rotator cuff. Karting works a really weird muscle group and as you get older easy to induce injury as result especially if you kart understeers and your muscling it around a gripped up track. You feel like your battling the kart as opposed to finger tip driving.

I am pretty fit from years of cycling and mountain biking but was never a stick and ball guy so probably never built up enough strength in those areas.

I also found that using KT tape in area really helps the healing process. Your physio can show you how to do it.

Thanks guys. I appreciate the responses. I will look into bursitis and cubital tunnel syndrome.

My elbow isn’t hitting the cylinder head. I have tried to become aware of anything that could be causing the injury while driving, and I think it was probably pulling on the wheel and muscling my way around grippy tracks to begin with.

I have grown up playing a lot of bat and ball sports, and they may have developed strength in my right arm (dominant side), but my left arm has been neglected and that is where the problem is. It’s clearly weaker than my right side.

Jamie - how much rest time are we talking. How long did it take for you?

rest, ice, compression, elevation…RICE is the common PT protocol

I also do ‘hammer curls’ with very little weight ie 3 lbs which seems to help when my golfers elbow acts up

and a padded compression sleeve on my elbow

It took months. Basically from September until January. Feels ok now but again have not done any kart training or racing as tracks closed in northeast for the season.

Probably about two month off before it started to feel ok and could do light workouts without flare up.

I would for sure go to Physio and get it checked out I waited far to long and really messed up my arm just trying to tough it out.

@Serpentine it sounds like you have classic tendonitis (or possibly tendinosis). I am not a doctor though, so I won’t make a diagnosis, especially not on an internet forum. However, I work with a lot of athletes and I can tell you that you are simply suffering from an overuse injury. My recommendation is to get with a physical therapist asap to get on a proper treatment and training protocol to restrengthen the muscles around that area to better handle the loads. Unfortunately, getting the elbow back to 100% will take time. If you want to continue karting without pain though, proper rehab is a non-negotiable. Depending on where you live, I may be able to recommend a good PT for you to work with. Best of luck!

Thanks for the replies guys. The common theme seems to be physio, so that’s what I’ll do.

I’ll be taking 2 months out before I go again. Hopefully that’s enough time to recover and build up strength in my arm.

I was thinking about karting in low grip conditions and rally karting, which may put less stress on the arm.

Can anyone with experience of this kind of driving verify whether or not that’s the case?