View Full Version : Racket change to relieve arm pain?

08-08-2008, 07:50 AM
I'm a former high school tennis player of intermediate level (3.5 - 4.0).

I haven't played seriously in roughly 10 years, but I've gotten back into it lately and wanted to get a new racket. I demo'd a dozen or so, nearly settling on the Prince Original Graphite before trying out the Wilson KSix-One Tour 90 at the very last minute and falling in love with it.

Now my elbow/shoulder are killing me. I'm fairly sure it's not due to a faulty backhand, b/c the pain is most severe during my serve (not my groundstrokes), but after any extended amount of playing, my arm really really hurts.

I know I haven't played in a long time, but I can't shake the feeling that this is more than just "haven't-played-in-a-while" pain.

I'm going to break for a week or so and see a doctor, but my question is this:

Does the racket make /that/ much difference? The KSix-One is heavy and has a small head size, and I know I'm not hitting the sweet spot as often as I'd like, leading to shock. Also, because it is heavy, there may be a tendency to hit late on my serves, which I'm told can aggravate the problem.

What are the chances that a lighter racket with a larger head size is going to make a big difference? (I will try it out of course, but I'm interested in peoples' experiences with this sort of thing).

Also, is it impractical to think that I could improve my level to the point where I AM hitting the sweet spot consistently, thereby reducing shock? What about using a lower tension on strings?

Basically, I'm wondering: is it practical to stick with this racket (which I love) and try to work on my skill so as to relieve my arm pain? Or is that probably unlikely to succeed? Am I more likely to succeed by making a racket switch?

Any suggestions appreciated.

08-08-2008, 09:06 AM
Try dropping the string tension below 50#, perhaps to 45#. What racquet did you use 10 yrs ago?

08-08-2008, 10:49 AM
10 years ago I actually used something very very different: a Wilson Hammer 5.0 stretch, but there is a story behind this.

When I was in high school, I had no money, so I begged my parents to buy me a new racket. At the time, I knew very little about what rackets were appropriate for what swing style. I was smitten with the prospect of power, so I chose a hammer, thinking it would help me hit the crap out of the ball. My swing was (and still is) fairly long, fast and loopy though, so a head heavy racket was probably not ideal for me.

I tried out a friend's Wilson Prostaff 6.1 Classic and /loved/ it! But my parents were like "Heck no. You get one racket, and you already made your choice, you'll have to deal with it."

Now that I'm older and have my own money, I can buy whatever I want. So I demoed racketsthat I thought were similar to the 6.1 classic, and I really really like the feel of the KSix-one Tour -- felt like I could really unload on the ball without worry about it sailing on me.

Perhaps instead of going from one racket extreme to the other, I should have sought something more in between...


08-08-2008, 12:37 PM
Ten years off, eh? So are you about 28?

08-08-2008, 12:49 PM
What string are you using?

08-08-2008, 12:55 PM
LuckyR: Yes, I am 28 (born in 79). Why do you ask?

scotus: Strings are a synthetic gut (I think Gamma Tour?) 16G, at around 58 lbs (I think 60 is max on that racket).

08-08-2008, 02:14 PM
scotus: Strings are a synthetic gut (I think Gamma Tour?) 16G, at around 58 lbs (I think 60 is max on that racket).

Just wanted to make sure that you weren't using poly or kevlar.

I have tried a number of frames in the past to find the most arm-friendly racquet and finally chose ProKennex 7G.

You should try it. If you do not like the added length and the swing weight, try ProKennex 5G. It really doesn't get any better than this in terms of arm safety.

08-08-2008, 02:34 PM
With a 90" head seriously try 50# or less. Even Roger Federer uses a lower tension.
Which string(s) you are using and which string tension are you playing with? I play with half synthetic strings and the other half Wilson gut strings. The tension depends on the surface, the balls as well as the temperature and thus varies between 24 and 28 kg.


08-08-2008, 02:58 PM
I had really bad wrist problems when I was using a stiff racquet. I switched to one with more flex and its getting better. I still have some pains in my wrist but I couldnt even wave hello before. So I think flex of the racquet might help you as well.

08-08-2008, 04:03 PM
What is an example of a flexible racket? I had thought that most "Player's" rackets were flexible, as a flexible frame takes power out of the ball, thereby forcing the player to to have a longer, faster swing in order to generate his own power.

To get a comparison, I looked up the KSix-One Tour 90, and it is rated with a Stiffness of 67. I then looked up the Wilson Hyper Hammer 5.3 Stretch (what I figured is essentially the opposite of a player's racket) and to my surprise, it was 70 -- not nearly as different from the KSix-One as I expected.

08-08-2008, 04:35 PM
yeah the K90 is a very stiff racquet especially if you aren't hitting the sweetspot. Its a tough racket to come back to tennis, im not sayign its a bad racket but check the racquet section and there are a lot of threads on flex racquets.

08-08-2008, 04:53 PM
Well, I dont think you would like the one I use but the RQiS 1 Tour is very flexible. My old racquet the Head Radical was stiff and giving me wrist pains.

08-08-2008, 05:44 PM
LuckyR: Yes, I am 28 (born in 79). Why do you ask?

You are in an inbetween age. Young enough for your age alone to unlikely be the problem, but old enough where the wrong stick and/or string combo could get you in trouble.

Given your relatively young age, and string choice and sound strokes, I'm voting for racquet choice. Your other choice of POG would have been a good one for your arm. String it with gut for an even softer feel.

08-08-2008, 06:07 PM
For safety, use a flex below 60 and full natural gut.
Amongst the newer racquets, the Redondo is low flex (56).

I used POG (63 flex) which caused me problems after using it for 15 yrs. I guess as you age, your arm sensitivity changes.

08-08-2008, 06:08 PM
Just tried to give the least expensive way to relieve arm pain without switching racquets. The old Head Radical OS, Bumblebee is extremely flexible, should feel great. Back-in-the-day the POG was considered a stiff racuet.

08-08-2008, 07:08 PM
Thanks everyone for your advice/suggestions.

Here is what I've gathered from reading and researching so far:

Things that can lead to arm pain:
Poor technique
Missing the sweet spot, thereby feeling more shock
Smaller head size (for the reason above)
Stiff racket
String tension very high

Generally speaking, I'll say that it is not likely my technique, as I learned proper stroke technique from a fairly young age from club pros, and I continue to take lessons from them on and off. I've been told that my form is good and technique is solid.

My current racket definitely is stiff and has a small head size, so that may be contributing (I admit that I'm mishitting more than I feel like I should be).

My plan is to take some time off and also see a physical therapist.

In addition, I'm planning to demo a few more rackets when I play again, including:

ProKennex Ionic Ki 5x
ProKennex Kinetic Pro 7G
Prince Original Graphite (Oversize, this time)

Any other people would recommend that I try?


08-12-2008, 04:25 PM
I played with Baboalt PD and Diablo which caused my wrist and tennis elbow pain. Now I use Prokennex I5 with poly at main (57) and Syn. gut (60) at cross and no more pain now.

08-13-2008, 08:25 AM
If you really wanna stay on 90 size racquet you can add weight in it.

Weight on the handle and through out the racquet head. But ofcourse that takes a lot of experimentation and time.

I am thinking of switching to 98 size racquet just to play with more spin. But using a 90 gives me more edge and power for some reason specially on my serves.... thats why I cant really change to other size....

using a heavy racquet needs more accurate swing or else you will just use your ARM a lot.

But we all know that PROs in tennis use good heavy racquets. Even Nadal use Heavy frame. of course the one we buy in the store is really different. good for consumers and beginners.

Heres a good article regarding racquet and Elbow pain.


08-14-2008, 06:32 AM
you forgot to add string type to your list. stick with a multi-filament or natural gut string to minimize vibration.

in general, you should look at the following characteristics: mid-weight; low swingweight; soft flex; headlight balance; mid-size head. here's a list of rackets you may want to consider. http://www.racquetfinder.com/FMPro?hsMin=96&hsMax=100&lMin=27&lMax=27.3&wMin=10.5&wMax=11.7&swMin=305&swMax=328&fMin=50&fMax=64&rbMin=-10&rbMax=-1
also add kblade and microgel radical to the list. those are all low powered rackets and will feel numb compared to your current stick.

08-21-2008, 08:09 AM
If you are leaning towards a stick change. The becker mid might be an option with flex at 60 and a similar small head size at 93. I feel that the two play similarly off the ground but that will depend on your strokes too. The becker 11 mp is also has a good flex to it and would be softer on your arm. Just a couple IMHO that may be worth a demo for you.