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Thread: Left forearm tendonitis? Or something else?

  1. #1
    Mandolingerer Bazz Jass's Avatar
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    Default Left forearm tendonitis? Or something else?

    Getting some issues here, so I thought I'd see if someone has had the identical issue, and how they dealt with it.

    The pain (or dull ache) comes right here - edge of forearm just above watch strap. Not while playing, after (like the next morning). Nowhere else, not hand, fingers.

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    I'm trying to pinpoint this. Nothing in my searches has led me to this exact point in the arm. I'm reading tennis elbow, hand discomfort, tendonitis in the picking hand etc, but nothing seems to describe exactly this.

    This occurs after prolonged playing - by prolonged I mean if I play for half an hour two days in a row for instance.

    Mandolins are well set up - low nut, action just over 3/64" at 12th, med gauge strings.

    Have tested one mandolin for a week, the other for another week. Same issue with both.

    Have diligently researched correct playing technique, straightness of arm etc, and feel I am doing everything correctly.

    I'm a guitarist, and despite having not gigged regularly since the 90s, I can (and do), with no warming up or rehearsal, play a three hour set on acoustic guitar with no discomfort or pain the following day.

    So it's mandolin related.

    I know people will have theories about this, but I'd really like to hear from someone who's had the exact symptom I'm describing, and what exercises, warm-ups etc have helped. I'm reading about stretches - should these be done when my arm is hurting?

    If I rest and don't play for a few days the ache goes away. But same thing happens again. We're in lockdown where I am, and I really want to play more mandolin to fill the hours...

    Feel free to PM me. Would really appreciate help
    Last edited by Bazz Jass; Sep-20-2021 at 7:15pm.

  2. #2
    Fingertips of leather Bill McCall's Avatar
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    Default Re: Left forearm tendonitis? Or something else?

    May be D'Quervain's syndrome (https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/de-quervains-tenosynovitis/symptoms-causes/syc-20371332}. I've had it starting in my thumb, moving down to the forearm area. Its a tendon inflammation.

    NSAIDs, like ibuprofen, bring relief but rest its the best. You may be gripping a little more tightly than you think or rotating your thumb to an inappropriate position. Overuse injuries usually manifest themselves after playing, not during. Sharp pain is to be avoided.

    Good luck, it may take a little bit of time.

    Of course, seeing a physician is the best advice.
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  4. #3
    Mandolingerer Bazz Jass's Avatar
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    Default Re: Left forearm tendonitis? Or something else?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill McCall View Post
    May be D'Quervain's syndrome (https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/de-quervains-tenosynovitis/symptoms-causes/syc-20371332}. I've had it starting in my thumb, moving down to the forearm area. Its a tendon inflammation.

    NSAIDs, like ibuprofen, bring relief but rest its the best. You may be gripping a little more tightly than you think or rotating your thumb to an inappropriate position. Overuse injuries usually manifest themselves after playing, not during. Sharp pain is to be avoided.

    Good luck, it may take a little bit of time.

    Of course, seeing a physician is the best advice.
    Thanks! Yes, it's an "after" effect of playing, not "while." The ache comes on after prolonged playing. It's aching a little now. If I play the mandolin this minute, it won't feel more painful while I'm playing. It just won't get better until I stop playing all together for days and days.

    Not a sharp pain ever, just a dull ache.

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    Innocent Bystander JeffD's Avatar
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    Default Re: Left forearm tendonitis? Or something else?

    Something else to consider. I had considerable left upper wrist dull ache type pain, just below the hand, and then pins and needles type finger pain on the left hand index finger. Initiated by playing more than about 30 minutes, and lasting a longer amount of time perhaps a couple of hours.

    Long story short, a complete physical revealed an extremely high blood sugar, due to previously undiagnosed diabetes. Within a week of medication and diet I brought my blood sugar down to normal, and the pain all went away LIKE MAGIC. GONE. POOF. Could and can play for hours without even a remnant of that pain. I figure I dodged a bullet on that one.

    My point is not that you might have what I had, only that what it feels like may not be what it is.

    Good luck.
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    Lurkist dhergert's Avatar
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    Default Re: Left forearm tendonitis? Or something else?

    From my experience, that sounds like nerve pain to me. I'd suggest seeing your primary physician first to rule out anything else, then seeing a neurologist. You might also ask to see a physical therapist (DPT) first to check for exercises and/or posture related changes that might help you without surgery. I had serious spurs and a couple of blown discs, and ended up needing to have a cervical spine fusion of C3, C4 and C5 about 10 years ago.
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  9. #6
    Mandolingerer Bazz Jass's Avatar
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    Default Re: Left forearm tendonitis? Or something else?

    Well a week without playing any mandolin has fixed things somewhat.

    Still a slight ache, but much better. Resting, icing.

    Now thinking I need to start totally fresh with the mandolin. I came at it with a guitarist's stamina, thinking I could play an hour or more right off the cuff.

    Thinking I need to start off again with 5 minutes a day, playing first position 2 finger chords and work my way up from there?

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