What have I done to my elbow?


Ali's elbow I appear to have contracted a strange affliction. Now you may well remember me talking to you about ‘Forza claw’, a self-diagnosed problem that affected my hand while playing a racing game against Jack on the Playstation. It was very uncomfortable and meant I had to negotiate the Pringles pot with my left hand, which was none too easy.

Then, a few weeks ago, after spending several hours kneeling on the kitchen floor assembling my flat pack furniture, I developed 'Allen Key arm' – again self diagnosed. This was in truth far less painful, and didn’t impinge upon my snack-eating abilities.

However, I think I may need a second opinion on my current problem. It started just before Christmas and involves a lot of discomfort in my elbow and forearm. Things like taking off my Emu boots, or fastening my bra are a killer, and trying to pour the kettle when it’s full take both hands. I don’t think it’s arthritis, and I only shovelled snow once (although I did wrap a lot of presents), but what do you think it could be? 

I am of course planning to see my GP this week, but do you think the funny bump on the curved bit is unusual? I asked Colin to have a look and he poked the bump with his finger… he won't do that again in a hurry I can tell you!! 🙂 Weird looking things elbows aren’t they??

SBC Arnica Gel Any or all suggestions welcome, seriously! Oh and I'm using Arnica Gel which is great.  I may have to position myself carefully when we have our photographs taken today for a special publication you’ll be hearing about very soon. Exciting times!

I've so enjoyed reading all your accounts of giving birth to your lovely children and then regaling Colin with them. Poor man now has enough information to set up a maternity home!! Up until this point he has always maintained that NOBODY other than me could remember the event in such detail, but clearly it’s a woman thing and you do! 

I do remember asking my mum about giving birth to me, but all she would say was that she had the devils’ own job waking my father up to take her to the maternity hospital. "Can’t it wait until the morning love?” he mumbled groggily, and then after she’d produced all seven and a half pounds of me, he proceeded to eat the supper that was brought for her! 

Mind you that pales into insignificance when compared to his words after she gave birth to my brother – their firstborn.  “Oh well, maybe we’ll have a girl next time…”. My dad was actually a sweetie, just not really across all that goes on in those special moments as in those days the dads waited outside and smoked cigars as opposed to nowadays when it’s a fight over who’s most entitled to the entinox!

Have a great week!

Love Ali xx


  1. Nicola Rippon February 9, 2010 at 10:25 am -  Reply

    Alison, I hope I’m not to late to recount a childbirth story? I have no children and so (obviously!) have never given birth but I was once born and so this story is the one of MY birth! I was due in mid March so as the last week in February began my parents weren’t really worrying too much about the birth. My Dad had spent the Saturday playing football and my Mum had been at my grandparents’ house for her tea. As they were getting ready for bed Mum started getting indigestion – which she put down to the piccallili she’d eaten earlier. But I bet you can guess where we’re going with this one … yep, at 2.30 am they both realised what would have been obvious had I not been their firstborn – I was on my way! Then started the fun because things started moving pretty darned quick and by the time the ambulance (staffed by long-coated ambulance men one of whom had earned his first aid certificate no highly-trained paramedics in those days!) arrived to pick Mum up, and she’d climbed over the snow drifts and been helped into the ambulance it was obvious that they weren’t going to have time to pick up their other passenger who lived some 15 miles away. I don’t think my Mum was especially impressed at being told: “Come on love, you’ve held on to it for 9 months, you can hold on a bit longer!” I was born at five minutes past five, just over two and a half hours since Mum had woken with labour pains! She’s often said that was the least trouble I’ve ever been! The next morning as my Dad’s mate visited the house to find a bewildered new father beaming away, still somewhat in shock, he decided to take the weight off his feet. As he sat down he must have wondered for a moment why the armchair felt so damp – yep, that was where my Mum had been sitting when her waters broke! I don’t think it was a great surprise when he was named my godfather!

  2. John Henzell February 9, 2010 at 10:33 am -  Reply

    You may have tennis elbow Alison. X

  3. Margaret February 9, 2010 at 11:28 am -  Reply

    Hi Alison, do hope Im wrong but it looks like arthritis to me , I have it and the pain is agony also your lumpy bits look the same as mine, see your Dr. soon and get on the right medication its wonderful what can be done today, Ive had it since I was 28 Im now 63 and have always had a full life even having double knee replacements, having said all that it could be nothing just that you have overdone it with the D I Y.I agree the Arnica gel is super when my arthritis gets a bit HOT it really does help to cool it down and take the sting out of it, also try putting a bag of frozen peas on the affected joint sounds mad I know but it was sound advice I had from my Rhumatoid nurse and it does help the idea is to COOL inflamed joints down not to heat them up as so many people believe, anyway enough of my going on hope all goes well and take good care of yourself , think you are one heck of a lady, Margaretxx

  4. dorothy February 9, 2010 at 3:14 pm -  Reply

    Hi Alison
    it looks painfull so one can only imagine what you said to poor colin,( BET THE AIR WAS BLUE)Been on internet it could be a GANGLION CYST it effects the joints if outer surface splits the elastic inner sheath bloops out,they say you can hit with a soft book and it might go down. i asked davy if he would let me do that to him THE ANSWER WAS NO CHANCE. So i would just wait and see doc. Hope all goes well.im off to get ready going to see chicago with girls.
    love best wishes
    dorothy xxx

  5. Julie February 9, 2010 at 7:09 pm -  Reply

    Hi Ali
    Hope you were pleased with my news-albeit a surprise!! I was so wrapped up in telling you I didn’t mention your elbow-sorry!It looks really sore,although I find Arnica Gel really good too. I was also thinking it maybe Tennis Elbow or maybe a type of RSI-writing/typing or even household chores can cause this,do keep us informed.
    Hope to hear from you soon
    Lots of love
    Julie xx

  6. Magda Chetty February 9, 2010 at 7:38 pm -  Reply

    Hi Ali
    You poor thing, go and see your doctor, that is the best you can do. I had bad pain in my elbow early January and it hurt more when the weather was colder. As I went away to Cairo in mid January and it was warm, my elbow just got better. I went to see a doctor there and he said that it was an inflamed joint, and the best thing for it is to keep it warm, your could be just that. Hope you get better soon.
    I was going to come to QVC to meet Julia Robert and see you all on the way back from Egypt, but I got ill and had to get home.
    But I told Julia that I”ll come to London end of April or early May, and would love to come and see you all then.
    All the best.

  7. Helen February 9, 2010 at 8:46 pm -  Reply

    Hi Alison i had an elbow like that a few years ago and it was diagnoised as tennis elbow which was brought on by cross stitching for long periods of time daily (as this is my job) it is caused by repetitive strain on that specific joint. It is very very painful. Hope you get it sorted out soon and the pain eases.

  8. alison keenan February 9, 2010 at 11:03 pm -  Reply

    Dorothy I made the mistake of reading out loud your suggestion of a soft book, and am now hiding in the cupboard under the stairs while colin seeks me out, clasping a copy of Gone with The Wind!! 🙂 Your Davy was right!! Only joking. He did laugh when I read your comment out though, and thanks for checking it out for me. I’ll let you know what the doc says. By the way, love your nonchalent mention of going out to see Chicago….MY FAVOURITE EVER MUSCIAL!! I’m so jealous 🙂 Enjoy and let me know how it goes. Love Ali x

  9. alison keenan February 9, 2010 at 11:13 pm -  Reply

    Nicola, THANK YOU! I loved reading the story of your birthday, and love even more, the fact your parents have taken the time to make sure you knew every moment of that special day. Clearly it was one they never forgot, and it’s lovely that you’ve held onto those memories too. How funny that your godfather sat on the chair after your mum’s waters had broken. I remember with some poignancy, spending the morning of 10th March 1989 with a lovely lady called Barbara, who’d never been able to have children. We were sitting having a cup of tea when I suddenly realised things were setting off… she was so excited to be a part of it and cried when I left…. that’s when you realise how lucky you are 🙂 Thank you for sharing all of your memories with me.. and everyone who know no doubt has read your beautifully written recolletion too. I loved it 🙂 Ali xx

  10. alison keenan February 9, 2010 at 11:15 pm -  Reply

    Hello John, and thanks for your suggestion. Am I correct in surmising that the name of the afflication need not bear any resemblance to the cause??? Can’t remember the last time I swung a tennis bat! 🙂 Love Ali x

  11. alison keenan February 9, 2010 at 11:19 pm -  Reply

    Margaret, I take my hat off to you and also pass on my sympathy for having to contend with arthiritis all these years. My poor nanny had really knotted fingers due to it, and it eventually stopped her from knitting which was something she loved. It is pretty painful, and catches me when I least expect it – like reaching behind me for my seat belt! You must be brave as a lion also to have coped with a double knee replacement! My ex husband had double hip replacements and that was pretty tricky at time, but I know that knees are meant to be twice as difficult. Keep smiling though and keep writing, and you to me are one heck of a lady 🙂 Thanks for keeping in touch. Love Ali xx

  12. Marg February 9, 2010 at 11:36 pm -  Reply

    Hi Alison, Your arm looks like you have strained the muscles around your elbow,go to your GP as you may be doing more harm by driving, I hope it will respond to the correct attention as it looks very painful.Dont be put off if the swelling goes down, please let your Doc. see it as these situations will come back the next time you do something that puts extra strain on your arm, please let us know how you are,
    Best Wishes,

  13. Judy February 10, 2010 at 12:32 am -  Reply

    Yep it’s Allen key elbow!! i used to get screwdriver hand until hubby bought me an electic screwdriver.
    So much for the strong flatpack brigade.
    It could be tendonitis aka tennis elbow / golfers elbow
    NHS direct says :-
    Symptoms of tendonitis include:
    •pain that becomes worse if you move the affected area,
    •a sensation that the tendon is grating or crackling as it moves (this may be felt on examination),
    •swelling, sometimes with heat or redness,
    •weakness in the affected area (because of the pain), and
    •a lump that develops along the tendon.
    If this sounds like you, then rest it – ha ha, not easy
    Apply cold pack or warm pad to affected area – both wrapped in towel or similar
    Take painkillers – iboprofen or paracetamol.
    I have had many such self inflicted injuries and swear by Arnica – just the act of rubbing it in makes you feel better. Take care

  14. Rhona Fenton February 10, 2010 at 12:07 pm -  Reply

    Alison I think it looks like a Ganglion cyst also I had two in my wrist a few years ago the pain is something else as when you try to move in my case my hand you just couldn’t take the pain, I had surgery to have them removed and touch wood things are fine, and I see my colin looks to have one in his wrist now also, my sister who’s in the medical trade say’s it’s very common in joints and more so if you have maybe chipped a bone at some point but not a ware of doing so, maybe your DIY at some point knocked yourself a few years back, hope this helps? will email soon as Rebecca asked me to pass a message onto you:) have a lovely weekend and colin will just have to make your cuppy’s for you since lifting the kettle is too hard but am sure he will:) lot’s of love Rhona xx

  15. Janet February 10, 2010 at 3:24 pm -  Reply

    Hi Alison
    just thought i would share my news with you. I have just had my last radiotherapy session today 15 in all, after 2 operations and chemo all since last year since i was diagnosed with breast cancer. I feel battered and bruised but I am so glad to be alive and hopeful i will see my son graduate from uni and grow into a man, and grow old with my husband.You seem such a warm person and it comes across in your blogs how much you love your family. Hope you don’t mind me sharing this news with you.
    Best Wishes
    Janet x

  16. alison keenan February 10, 2010 at 6:30 pm -  Reply

    Janet – mind you sharing the news???? I AM THRILLED FOR YOU 🙂 thrilled for your husband, your son, all your family and friends and so pleased to hear such a positive outcome from what I have heard is an extraordinarily testing form of treatment. You will see your son graduate, you will see him make a success of his life and both you and your husband can grow old together, strong in the knowledge that you’ve been given that second chance…..and I am so glad that you have. Family are all. Enjoy. With my love, and thank you so much for writing. It’s made my day. 🙂 Ali xx

  17. Margaret February 10, 2010 at 6:55 pm -  Reply

    Dear Alison , hope you dont mind me using your page but I just wanted to give my best wishes to Janet , having just read the above all I can say really is GO GIRL GO my sister had the same 12 years ago and thank God she won and so will you , heck of a time but you get there in the end, Bless you and Good Wishes, Margaretxx

  18. alison keenan February 11, 2010 at 9:54 am -  Reply

    Bless you Julie. Yes the arnica gel has been very useful and reading through all these lovely replies I think we’re close with Tennis elbow, a ganglyion cyst or tendonitis…watch this space, and I promise I’ll let you know 🙂 Am looking forward to hearing your news, so keep in touch, love Ali x

  19. alison keenan February 11, 2010 at 9:58 am -  Reply

    Judy how kind are you?! thanks so much for taking the time out to look up the condition (not sure if the NHS would have heard of Alan Key elbow, but clearly you and I are sufferers!!) Having read through the list of symptoms of tendonitis, have virtually all except the lump and the grating noise when I move it. Weird thing is, that in some positions it doesn’t hurt at all. Must be a rather complex set of muscles in there. I’ll let you know, but once again thank you for your advice – will have to see how well I do balancing the frozen peas whilst handling handbags with Charlie Lapson this afternoon! 🙂 Love ali x

  20. alison keenan February 11, 2010 at 10:02 am -  Reply

    Golly Rhona having read your account of a cyst, I don’t think for one moment that’s what I have. Although it’s uncomfortable it’s only really given me pain when Colin prodded the sticky out bit!! 🙂 Your poor thing. do hope your Colin isn’t getting one now. Funnily enough lifting the kettle when full is one of those things that’s very difficult to do, so yes cups of tea are now served to me 🙂 I’ll look forward to hearing Rebecca’s message and to reading your mail. You take care of each other, love ali x

  21. alison keenan February 11, 2010 at 10:09 am -  Reply

    Margaret, I’m really glad that your family too have survived this dreadful disease, and that your sister, like Janet, her family and yours, has everything to look forward to. As you know Breast Cancer Care is our designated charity at QVC and this year as every other, we will be walking, running, baking cakes, doing the fashion show, and every other thing we can do raise money to help fund the research to find the cure. And I firmly believe one day they will. Lovely to hear from you again, and have a good week. Love ali x

  22. alison keenan February 11, 2010 at 10:12 am -  Reply

    Marg, you are kind 🙂 Yes driving is something I’m trying to avoid too much of, and am keeping up with the arnica gel too. I have a doc’s appointment at the end of the week, so will let you know all’s well. We only have a little surgery in the village and as she’s an excellent doctor, trying to get to see her around working hours is pretty difficult :). do hope all’s well with you though, and that you’re not suffering too much with the chilly weather. Love Ali x

  23. Julie February 11, 2010 at 2:16 pm -  Reply

    Hi Ali
    Hope your elbow is better, you seem to coping well on tv. I’ve emailed you with the news!!!
    Hope to hear from you soon
    Take Care as always
    Julie xx

  24. Janet Jones February 11, 2010 at 6:40 pm -  Reply

    Hi Alison
    Thankyou for your kind words and also thankyou to Margaret and wish her sister continued good health. When i get some of my strength back i hope to make the most of life, as i feel you do from what i read in your blogs. I hope your son Sam is well and your elbow is soon on the mend. Thanks again for your swift reply love and best wishes Janet x

  25. Joanna Downey February 11, 2010 at 8:08 pm -  Reply

    I would say that your elbow problem has been caused by being a typical woman, doing too much in too short a period of time… Men always pace themselves better, to watch my husband making a pot of tea is like watching ballet in slow motion but without the tights. I caused myself a similar problem with my right knee when I decided to decorate the downstairs loo. It’s a very awkward shape and I’m right-handed so presumably “right-kneed” and that one took all the strain. Next day I went to see our younger Daughter at uni and we spent the day shopping, when I got off the train at my home stop I found I could ony walk like a pair of compasses! Doctor’s verdict was bursitis and said that women over a certain age should limit DIY tasks, what a cheek. I hope you have a more empathetic GP and recover soon. Saw you this afternoon and your hair looks wonderful, previously mentioned Husband agreed, saying “That girl’s hair looks lovely, do you fancy doing your’s like that?” and even though he makes tea slowly he’s got fab taste!!

  26. barbara quickfall February 11, 2010 at 8:18 pm -  Reply

    Hi Ali, Hope your elbow is soon better. It looks like Tennis Elbow to me. Do not worry i am sure your Doc will sort it.We have had such a long winter and seem to have had so many illnesses it’s getting us all down but the warmer weather is on it’s way. Love from Babs xxx

  27. alison keenan February 12, 2010 at 2:26 pm -  Reply

    Joanna, I laughed out loud at your description of your husband making tea! 🙂 We woman do seem to be able to multi task a great deal better, although my mum’s theory is that men make a muddle of it so that we women can utter those immortal words “here, let me…” Sound familiar? 🙂 I will of course let you kow how I get on, and can only hope that your bursitis is improving! We really should invent a condition and come up with the weirdest name for it don’t you think? I reckon we’d convince huge numbers of people it was an actual condition!! Take good care, and I am certain that off the back of your husbands comments (and our presenter meeting yesterday!) that they have changed my photo on the blog. Much love Ali x

  28. alison keenan February 12, 2010 at 2:28 pm -  Reply

    You so will make the best of your life Janet, I just know it. 🙂 Elbow’s eased a little but looking forward to seeing GP and taking all the advice and diagnosis that you’ve all given to me! Sam doing so well. About to be re fitted for new socket so help with his walking, and looking to the future. Incredible stoicism. Very proud 🙂 Love Ali xx

  29. alison keenan February 12, 2010 at 2:31 pm -  Reply

    And I’ll look very much forward to reading it Julie! Thanks for taking the time out. Hope you have a very happy Valentine’s weekend, and that your man spoils you. Love ALi x

  30. alison keenan February 12, 2010 at 2:33 pm -  Reply

    Thank you Babs. You’re so right. What with the swine flu and now upset tummies and the like no-one appears to be safe 🙂 I do hope you manage to avoid anything that would make you feel poorly and that your weekend is a good one. Love Ali x

  31. Paul February 13, 2010 at 11:24 pm -  Reply

    Hi Alison
    I couldn’t diagnose you but it looks like a photo on The IPRS website – for Palindromic Rheumatism.
    I have PR and get it everywhere but I’m not saying that is what you have…
    Good luck with the diagnosis….

  32. Chris Page February 14, 2010 at 10:32 pm -  Reply

    I definitely think you’ve got tennis elbow, from having had it myself – and you don’t need to play tennis to get it, you daft ‘nana! My GP immediately referred me for physiotherapy on it because I’m also a wheelchair user. They used a heat lamp on it, and it was better in a couple of weeks.
    Chris xx

  33. alison keenan February 15, 2010 at 8:42 pm -  Reply

    Magda, thanks so much for your lovely message – and really sorry to hear you were poorly in Egypt and that’s why we missed seeing you here at QVC Towers! Julia, and I, will certainly make sure to see you when you are able to visit, and I hope very much that you bring the sunshine with you :). Lovely to hear from you and do keep in touch. love ali xx

  34. alison keenan February 15, 2010 at 8:45 pm -  Reply

    Paul thank you so much for taking the time out to look into this for me. I have been diagnosed and will be letting you know in my next blog, but was very glad to hear that your problem is now solved with the heatlamp. I know for the short period of time Sam was in a wheelchair that any form of problem with arms or hands makes movement very tricky! You take care and please do keep in touch, it was lovely to hear from you. Love Ali x

  35. alison keenan February 15, 2010 at 8:48 pm -  Reply

    Paul, just realised I’ve attributed Chris’s comments to your message! Apologies, and very much hope that your Palindromic Rheumatism isn’t causing you too much distress in the colder weather. Thanks again for writing. Ali x

  36. alison keenan February 15, 2010 at 8:51 pm -  Reply

    Chris, having muddled my replies between you and Paul, I’d like to reiterate that you my complete sympathy for having to contend with Tennis elbow while being a wheelchair user. Sam had to use a chair for a couple of months, and I know that if there was anything even slightly wrong with his hands/arms it was almost impossible for him to move around in a wheelchair or on crutches. So glad they could fix it for you. Have been diagnosed and will be writing my new blog tomorrow! Take care of yourself, Love Ali x

  37. Shirley Evans February 16, 2010 at 4:42 pm -  Reply

    Hi Alison, May I say what a lovely person I think you are. I had a similar problem with my elbow after painting all the interior doors of my son’s house. This involved one undercoat and two topcoats on eight doors (do the math as they say). Anyway my elbow came up in an ugly lump like yours has and the solution eventually proved to be a steroid injection. At first this was more painful than the swelling, but in the end it did the trick. Best of luck, hope you have some relief soon.

  38. Cheryl Williams February 17, 2010 at 10:13 am -  Reply

    Hi Ali
    It does sound like tennis elbow. I’ve been suffering with mine since the beginning of December triggered off by mammoth Christmas card making sessions over a few days. Dont laugh but it was diagnosed in a pub at 11 o’clock at night by a oesteopath at a Christmas folk party weekend. I am now having physio for it but with working still (as a midwife) its not helping –the lack of rest not the physio!
    I hope that yours improves soon. Im hoping that my holiday in Australia (touchwood etc that we get there) will help. I’m going out there with my parents as they will be celebrating their Golden Wedding Anniversary – not bad for a holiday romance!!
    Take care.
    Love Cheryl in Morecambe xx

  39. alison keenan February 17, 2010 at 3:36 pm -  Reply

    Shirley, thank you, that’s a really kind thing to say, and thank you for taking the time out to write to me. I personally think you are a mum in a million for doing that much painting for your son – one of the worst things to paint doors, what with the drips and everything! The fact that tennis elbow was all you suffered is a miracle! Very glad to hear though that it’s all sorted now, and hope there is never a recurrence – or a new home with doors for your paint! Ali x

  40. alison keenan March 21, 2010 at 9:56 am -  Reply

    Dear Cheryl, so sorry I’ve only just found your message, and I very much hope that your tennis elbow improves, and that you do manage your well earned rest in Australia. A midwife! How fabulous. I’ve been watching when possibly the Channel 4 series ‘One born every minute’ and I think you all do such an amazing job, but it’s probably been a lot more awkward for you since you were diagnose – great place to receive the news though 🙂 How lovely that your mum and dad are still together after meeting on holiday. Holiday romances don’t always have the best track record, but clearly for your parents it was meant to be. Thank you again for taking the time to write, and do let me know if you get to Australia. Love Ali x

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