Elbow Tendonitis, 24 year old male and never been able to straighten elbows

by Jeff
(Austin, TX)

I'm a 24 year old male who has never been injured but have always wondered my arms don't full extend(they never have since i can remember).

For example if i put my arms straight out in front of me and make fist and touch my fist together there is about a 1.5-2ft gap between my elbows.

There are times random times where 1 elbow or both will be even worse and i cant even get it half way extended it actually hurts now this is rare it happens maybe once a month at most but i don't understand it.

I talked to a doctor once and he took test for something not sure what it was blood test and said he found nothing unusual.

But this also happens in other joints too at random like my wrist will be really tender and sore or my knees but like i said the pain is rare maybe like 1 time a month at most usually even less then that.


Joshua Answers:

Hi Jeff.

Well....we all have gaps when putting our hands out like that.

In general, if you straighten you elbow in any position, does it not get to a straight position?

If it's always been like that, I'm not so worried about it unless
I hear something that changes my mind.

The pain and tenderness that comes and goes, that i'm interested in.

1. Have you always had this pain?

2. Did the doctor say you had Tendonitis or Elbow Tendonitis

3. Is it a tenderness, an ache, a pain, etc? How bad, how often?

4. How's your overall health.

5. You a stout, muscley guy, or a skinny, scrawny guy?

6. Overall flexibility. Are you not very flexible? (Some people are too stretchy, some people aren't stretchy at all.)

7. Family health? Anything going on? Anybody else have the elbow thing?

Please reply using the comment link below. Do not submit a new submission to answer/reply, it's too hard for me to find where it's supposed to go.

And, comments have a 3,000 character limit so you may have to comment twice.

Joshua Tucker, B.A., C.M.T.
The Tendonitis Expert

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Dec 31, 2009
PART 2 - Answer - Elbow Tendonitis, 24 year old male and never been able to straighten elbows
by: Jeff

no i never been diagnosed with anything i saw 2 doctors both times they just took blood sent me back my results saying everything looks fine. The first time i remember it was back i would say when i was 11 my elbow would only bend halfway one day and when i would try to go any further it would be horrible pain.

I don't remember too many times after that until i guess high school area where there would just be days where one or both of my elbows would do that sometimes my wrist would be so tender it would be hard to button my pants. sometimes it would be my knees.

These flares ups would just happen randomly and not too often. Now the elbow not bending out all the way i never noticed until i was doing a verticle leap test and my coach kept saying stretch your arm out all the way and i was like am lol.

it always looks like im slightly bending my elbows. I was always an average sized kid up until i was 14 then i gained alot of weight and about 2 years ago i lost most of it right now im 5'9 190lbs but im very active and have always really been an active person.


Joshua Comments:

Hi Jeff.

If the elbows didn't hurt, I wouldn't worry about it. Some people are just built that way.

But if you've been hurting, that catches my interest.

Do you know your Vitamin D levels? One of the symptoms of Vitamin D deficiency is pain like you describe. And pretty much everybody is vit D deficient.

If you have digestion or energy issues, I'd look at Gluten Intolerance. Do you have any issues with that?

Potentially you have a weird structural thing where your bones grew funny and is resulting in pain. If that's the case, I can show you a thing or two to moderate that.

But let's look at the Vit D and Gluten Intolerance aspects first.

And supplement with Magnesium for Tendonitis, make sure to follow the Magnesium Dosage link at the bottom of that page, and let's find out if Magnesium is playing a role.

Jan 02, 2010
PART 3 - Thanks - Elbow Tendonitis, 24 year old male and never been able to straighten elbows
by: Jeff

How do i find out my vitamin D levels?

The gluten thing might happen i did some research on it and another side effect was Mouth Ulcers which i also get random flare ups of. But would a Gluten Intolerance leave me with random flare ups that are so inconsistent ?


Joshua Comments:

Hi Jeff.

I assume the mouth ulcers are on the inside? If so, that's called Aphthous, and that could easily be a byproduct of being gluten intolerant.

Also, possibly B12 deficiency (which would also makes sense with digestion problems from gluten intolerance.

So, yes, is the answer to that question.

As far as finding one's Vit D levels, you can probably find a DIY kit to use at home and then send into a lab, or most any doctor/clinic can do it/order it. You may have to talk them into it though.

May 16, 2010
my 17 year old elbow
by: Adam

I'm 17 now and what you're describing is similar to what i've had for as long as i can remember.

For me however it's just my left elbow that won't fully extend. There is no pain except if i try to force it past the point it naturally extends to.

The pain i experience feels like a bone pain, not a muscle pain.

I have mild scoliosis which affects my left shoulder, causing it to be higher and more curved inward than my right. none of these bother me, it's the fact that i cant build my left bicep or forearm that does!!!

Because i cant extend my left elbow fully i cant seem to build muscle on my left bicep if my life depended on it!

My deltoid and tricep seem to take all of the weight no matter how i position my arm. This is frustrating because it is somewhat noticeable that my left arm is significantly smaller than my right.

It could be related to my scoliosis if it were a problem with the nerves, but its the joint of my elbow that seems to give be the problem. Perhaps my joint needs to be surgically adjusted to correct this?

Have you had any problems with building muscle on your arms?

Sep 12, 2011
same -- Elbow Tendonitis, 24 year old male and never been able to straighten elbows
by: Anonymous

I also realized that i couldn't put my arms straight when my p.e. teacher told me to put my arm straight in basketball and i said i was!

I also have wrist pains sometimes and my knee joints hurt occasionally. nothing came up on the xray for my wrists and the doctor said there was nothing they could do about my elbows but i really want to get them corrected somehow :(


Joshua Comments:

Hi Anonymous.

It's possibly your joint pain is just due to growing pains. Which assuming you get enough nutrition in your diet, will go away naturally.

Peanut oil on the joints help me (basically overnight) when I was having knee pain in high school.

You might just be built in such a way that your elbows don't straighten all the way. Nothing to do about that.

However, if you structurally should be able to straighten, but can't, then you need to do some work.

See this thread: Help Identifying Inner Elbow Pain Can't Straighten Arm

Feb 10, 2012
My arms have never straightened either
by: Anonymous

As long as I can remember my arms have never straightened. I was in dance and the teacher told me I had lazy arms which I never understood what she was talking about. I think she thought I wasn't listening when I was told to straighten my arms. In High School the dance teacher would try to straighten them or others would try but they couldn't. I would say the only issues have been that I learned to rotate my arms so they looked straight which caused my shoulder/neck muscles to become more bulky.

Lifting weights seems to use more forearm and shoulder strength than biceps like other. Plus I am convinced that my arms not straightening is why I could only do elbow cartwheels and not regular ones.


Joshua Comments:

Hi Anonymous.

Some people are just built the way they're built. Perhaps your elbows are just designed such that they literally can't straighten.

When you say 'my arms have never straightened', that points in that direction. As a baby and young child, could the arms/elbows straighten?

Apr 17, 2012
marijuana as a tendonitis remedy
by: steve

I'm 40 and as long as I can remember I haven't been able to straighten my arms. It doesn't hurt it's just annoying; although I suffer with other joint pains that do hurt, if I don't medicate with marijuana. There is no better medicine!


Joshua Comments:

Well, marijuana a pretty good pain killer, overall.

But it clearly hasn't fixed the problem, so how good of a medicine can it be, really?

I assert that if something doesn't fix the cause of a problem, then it is, in fact, a very poor medicine indeed.

Nov 19, 2015
by: Mercy

Hi Joshua,

Your above advice came in very handy. I recently noticed my 13 yr old son has the same issues with his elbow, cant straighten n thankfuly no pain. Will put him on vitamin D supplements as i try to seek help.

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