Torn Tendon

Olivia   March 2, 2016   17 Comments on Torn Tendon

Fortunately (??) the torn tendon is mine and not one of the horses. A few weeks ago my arm starting hurting. It was really only when I was doing something active with the elbow. Like fencing or lifting heavy things. So I stopped doing those things. But the pain kept getting worse until I reached a stage where even doing nothing caused a general ache and doing even simple things like brushing my teeth caused seeing agony.

So I finally dragged myself to the doctor and found out that I have insidious lateral epicondylitis. Which sounds really bad, but is actually just tennis elbow of unknown origin. Despite the name, my physical therapist said about 90% of people who get tennis elbow don’t play tennis. It’s possible that I got it from fencing, but it’s also possible that I got it from riding. Either way I’m not allowed to do those activities for a while. Well, to be more specific, I can ride, but I cannot use my right arm.

Do you know what you need two arms for? Dressage.

Apparently only one arm is needed for being a bad-ass though

I suppose I could take up western dressage, but I really don’t want to; it just doesn’t appeal to me. And Nilla doesn’t know how to properly neck rein anyway. 

I already had to cancel my lessons. I’ve gone back to trail riding, but even that is really difficult to do one handed. Nilla sort of neck-reins in that I can maneuver her around with one hand and a lot of leg pressure. The hardest part is that I constantly revert to using my right arm. I tell myself I’m only going to use my left arm and then…

© Birth of a Beauty TV show

Bad right hand, bad.

I don’t even realize I’m doing it.

My Doctor and Physical Therapist both work with local professional athletes so they know what they’re doing and they’re used to crazy people wanting to keep doing things despite having injuries (these same people helped me go from breaking almost every bone in my back to a pack trip through the Sierras in a little less than 8 weeks). So they’ve both said I can ride and I can use my right arm if I need to, it’ll just slow down the healing.

But I can’t do any of the training I should be doing to accomplish the goals I have this year. And I’m generally just really tired of things going wrong. So I’m having a bit of a pity party for myself right now.

On the plus side I did got this cool ion battery-powered steroid injection patch for my elbow. This is the future here people. I am the bionic woman. Well, at least I am for a few hours before I have to take it off.

17 thoughts on “Torn Tendon

  1. TeresaA

    I developed tennis elbow a few years ago when we were installing our riding ring. I guess raking and shovelling rocks for hours on end is not good for your elbow. I got a brace from the local pharmacy- you wear it above your elbow when you're doing stuff. I didn't expect it to work but it did. I still use it when I'm going to do a lot of raking or lifting things (like hay season).

  2. emma

    awww i'm so sorry, that really blows 🙁 hopefully it's easily managed and your arms becomes comfortable again soon for riding and other fun stuff!!

  3. jenj

    Oh man, that REALLY sucks! I'm so sorry to hear that. I hope the bionics help you heal up faster. I too am right-handed and I'm fairly sure my right hand would be off doing its own thing, regardless of what my brain tries to tell it!

  4. Olivia

    I did order a brace that should arrive tomorrow. I do hope that will help, though I am in so much pain from PT that even touching the area hurts so I'm not sure I'll be able to slap on a brace for a bit.

  5. Olivia

    I'm honestly thinking of getting a sling. Not because I need one, but just to force my arm to stop acting instinctively.

  6. Megan

    Ah that's so unfortunate! And makes me nervous for my appointment with the ortho on Tuesday for my wrist. They're pretty sure it's the tendon as well (I totally want that battery powered patch now!). Fingers crossed you heal quickly!

  7. eggiewegs

    Tendons are stupid. You should have them cut the whole arm off and give you a badass robot arm instead. If the doctor says no, then they clearly don't want you to have super powers and you should find a new doctor. Hope it heals quick.

  8. Olivia

    Soft tissue injuries are the worst. I would much more have preferred to break my arm. I hope your wrist isn't a tendon issue.

  9. Olivia

    I don't think it's gotten quite that bad, but there are moments where I would not be opposed to pulling the tendon out of my arm.

  10. Martine

    Sorry to hear this. Speaking as someone who rode with a broken wrist, a sling is a good idea just to stop you from using it (although you will probably prefer to mount with the sling disengaged!) Also don't write off the idea of schooling dressage. Look on this as an opportunity to teach yourself to use leg and weight aids more and rein aids less. Honestly, it works!

  11. Olivia

    Unfortunately neither Nilla nor I are good enough to do dressage one handed. It's honestly arguable wether we're good enough to do it with two hands, but one handed is out.

  12. Martine

    Don't look on it as 'dressage'! Ask yourself can I walk a straight line down the school… can I turn from B to E? Can I make a 20M circle? Can I stop? See what you can do in walk, then try it in trot. Forget the notion of 'on the bit' and just look at what you can do one handed, or with no hands and just using your seat and weight. As long as there's no danger of you inuring your arm more, you've nothing to lose.

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