Another Elbow Pain post

Discussion in 'Health & Fitness' started by 3lowdown, Mar 28, 2008.

  1. 3lowdown

    3lowdown Rookie

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    Just started having lateral elbow pain 2 days ago. Trying to determine best course of action. The pain is not debilitating at all - but I do feel it constantly during play now. Also at rest at little, but it increases and even becomes sharp when I extend my elbow fully. I can feel the pain increase in elbow when I grip tightly, but it doesn't prevent me from griping as tight as I want.

    My mindset would be to just play through this, but I made the mistake of coming here and getting horrified by stories of weeks and months off to recover from tennis elbow.

    I know not all elbow pain is TE, and I'm wondering if I maybe just hyper-extended a little bit or something. Now I'm just paranoid that it might really be the beginning of TE.

    I've been playing about 3 times a week for the past couple of years. Last week on vacation I played 2 times a day for 4 days straight. I recall only a little elbow soreness at the end of the week.

    This week I've played 3 days straight, the pain started on day 1 and has been pretty much unchanged since. I've been using ice and nsaids.

    Ntrp 3.5, 52 years old, Head LM Rad Flex-point with Luxilon LU @55

    Do I: Take a week off then try playing again? Or go to the doctor and have it looked at? Seems like too little pain to do that right now.

    Sorry for the long post - and thanks in advance!
     
    #1
  2. zacinnc78

    zacinnc78 Professional

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    at ur age(no offense!!)and to play that much.....yea i can believe uve overused ur elbow and sounds like the begiinings of TE ....your raquet setup dont seem too bad tho just sounds like uve played too much ....are u a 1hbh ?do u have correct form?

    Oh yea forgot to mention....im heading into month #4 of TE and its not debilitating either ...it just never goes away and can get bad sometimes ...the straight arm pain sure sounds like a symptom

    another test...if u hold your arm straight out with palm down with fingers pointed down with an L-shaped hand ,try pushing ur fingers up against a little resistance TE will let u know lol
     
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2008
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  3. 3lowdown

    3lowdown Rookie

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    yes - 1hbh, and I think my form is ok, but I've never video myself, so I don't know. That test does make it hurt a bit more, so that's not good. So you've just kept playing with it for 4 months? Have you had professional advice that it's ok to do that?
    Thanks
     
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  4. PrinceAbubu

    PrinceAbubu New User

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    Hey there,

    By the looks of your current racket set up in my opinion you need to change.

    1) To a lighter racket (10oz)
    2) To a softer strings (like multifilament)

    I normally get a slight soreness on the elbow after each restring using poly's but it goes away when I get used to the string. But when I get new multifilaments all is well.
     
    #4
  5. zacinnc78

    zacinnc78 Professional

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    no i havent had professional advice ....yet no i took one month off and then eased back into it and overdone it a cpl times and backed off again ...the problem with me is i play guitar ...use computer alot ..etc it never really gets a full rest
     
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  6. seb85

    seb85 Rookie

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    No 1) absolutely not. Do some reading up before giving out this bad advice.

    No 2) you got this one right :) To OP you might find that the TE goes away on its own if you switch to a softer string. natural gut is the best for this.

    Seb
     
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  7. 3lowdown

    3lowdown Rookie

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    Ok thanks, I'm thinking about using my old Head LM Radical with NXT's and some added weight in the handle. That way I'd get the added weight and also more points head-light. - does that sound right? Then if that works out I'll do the same to my Radical flexpoint.
     
    #7
  8. seb85

    seb85 Rookie

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    You could add some weight to the handle. However i suggest trying just the string change first. That way you might fix the problem with minimal disruption to your game.
     
    #8
  9. D. Dokas

    D. Dokas Rookie

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    have u checked ur grip size? maybe chuch on an over grip see how u go
     
    #9
  10. koala

    koala New User

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    My TE is going on 5 months. I went to a Sports Orthopedic Dr to at least verify I had TE, and he confirmed it with similar test to one mentioned pushing up on fingers. Mine however hurts more when palm down and I press DOWN on my fingers.

    Doc said to rest it for one month and it would be gone, otherwise I could get a cortizone shot. So much for his expertise. I have not picked up a racket in the 5 months. Pain still there after 5 months to extent I cannot play. I see no reason to get the shot, since it just masks pain.

    Research I did indicates it could take on average a year. Some studies found that no one treatment is any better than the next (physical therapy, NSAIDS) in terms of long term solution to the problem. Time was the best cure. I was tempted to try accupuncture but never did.

    My regimen has been trying to increase blood supply to repair the microtares in the tendons by soaking it in hot 3 minutes, ice cold 30 seconds, repeat three times. Using cayenne rub on it made the soaking unbearably burning later while soaking in hot). Gently stretching but never if any pain. Wearing a neoprene support to keep it warm and to remind me not to use it for anything like picking up stuff.

    Finally after 5 months, I am able to do all the stretches recommnded for it without pain. Just stiff in morning and after some of the stretching now after 5 months. Some very mild pain if I simulate a one handed backhand with the racket (without hitting a ball!). I cannot lift an 8 pound dumbell yet with arm on table and flipping my wrist up and back. Can do all the other motions with the weight, though.

    Next I will start strengthening it with light exercise, and in a few weeks, will go out a hit some forehands for 5 minutes, and then increase duration gradually over the weeks. I may even try to switch to a 2 handed backhand after playing as a one handed backhand for 40 years since a kid, since few two handers get TE.

    THat's my sad story. I miss tennis big time.

    Good luck!
     
    #10
  11. TNT16

    TNT16 Semi-Pro

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    Sadly I have lots of experience with TE and I am only a few years younger . . . so based on that:

    1. Lay off for a week or two. That is the quickest and best way to prevent TE from getting really bad. During that time don't lift suitcases and other heavy objects with that arm. TE is an *inflammation* -- so baby it accordingly.

    2. I would not change to a lighter racquet.

    3. You may consider a smaller grip -- sometimes that alone helps to resolve the issue.

    4. Lower string tension. The suggestion of thinner gauge also makes sense but definitely drop to the lower tension.

    5. Go to a hybrid with multifilament or gut to make the stringbed more forgiving. Or go with all multi or gut for a little while until the pain goes away.

    6. Try to get to the bottom of what triggers the pain. Usually it is no more than 1 or 2 very specific things. If you suspect your backhand hit a few and focus on which part of the stroke is causing the pain. It could be something as simple as hitting the ball too early or too late.

    7. After you play ice it for a while, then keep it warm. Again think about babying that inflammation.

    I hope some of this helps and the pain goes away rather than getting worse. Out of all of the above I think a short lay-off would do the most for you.
     
    #11
  12. 3lowdown

    3lowdown Rookie

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    After a week off using ice and nsaids, pain was nearly gone so I went and played in my doubles league last night.

    Pain returned almost immediately and was pretty much constant throughout the match but there didn't seem to be any single one thing that made it worse. Forehand, backhand, serves - all hurt but not enough to make me stop.

    I used my Head LM Radical with NXT and extra weight in the handle. Didn't seem to help but who knows - maybe the Luxilon's would have killed me...

    Iced it down for an hour after play, and then during the night and this morning increasing and sharper pain. I'm using heat now and it's really seemed to help - but that may be short term. Luckily my singles match got canceled today, so more rest.

    Aaargg!!!! Just when I was beginning to get my game in shape and win most of my matches!:cry:
     
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  13. 3lowdown

    3lowdown Rookie

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    Heat helps! I used some of those blue gel hot/cold packs, heated in the microwave and applied for about an hour last night, and pain is all but gone today (I haven't played of course)

    Does anyone have an ice/heat regimen for healing a sore elbow? I mean should I only be using heat now, or should I mix ice then heat etc?

    I know, ice after play, and heat before play, but what about during a couple of days of rest?
     
    #13
  14. obow

    obow Rookie

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    I had the tennis elbow 10 years ago but played through the pain for a long period, which probably made the injury much worse. I took two and half years off, but even the lengthy time-off didn't cure the elbow problem, not even one bit!

    however, for the past 6 months or so, I have not experienced any sharp pain in my elbow. I think I only did two things:

    1) increased the weight from 365g to 370g.
    2) moved the lead tape (about 19g) from the butt to the place just above the actual grip area in the handle. (of course also adjusted the lead on the frame to keep the balance about the same)

    By the way, I have been playing a very flexible racquet (stiffness in the 50s) over those years.

    PS: I have not changed the string for more than one year. Maybe the reduction in the string tension also helps to reduce the pain.
     
    Last edited: Apr 6, 2008
    #14
  15. tennisdad65

    tennisdad65 Hall of Fame

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    I feel your pain. I got TE by hammering 1000s of nails few months back.

    I rested for few weeks, iced it etc.. one thing that helped me was deep tissue massage. It hurt like hell while doing it, but sure helped recover faster.

    Now, if I use the BandIT elbow support, there is absolutely no pain while playing.
    However, it gets sore after playing and I have to ice it down. I can play every alternate day without any problem, with my current Racquet/string setup, but I do not want this to get chronic so I will change things.

    I use POG OS with Syn gut strung at 55 (recommended is 55-70).
    Now planning to switch to multifilament strung at 50.

    The POG has a flex rating of 63, so I may go to my old copper / silver aces which flex ratings in the 50s and string them around 42-45 lbs.
     
    #15
  16. tennisdad65

    tennisdad65 Hall of Fame

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    or try slicing only :) . I have no problem slicing with my single hand back hand even without using the BandIT elbow brace. The flat and topspin backhand create problems. My slice has improved tremendously since I had to stop hitting topspin. :)
     
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  17. Marius_Hancu

    Marius_Hancu G.O.A.T.

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    #17
  18. 3lowdown

    3lowdown Rookie

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    Update - after playing I've been using ice, then resting for two days. Pain is nearly all gone, but the funny thing is the pain that remains is now only in my lower Tricep.

    Initially my entire elbow and upper forearm hurt when gripping or rotating my wrist. Now the only time I have pain is when I grip tightly, and that pain is just above the elbow in the tricep area. Possibly a tricep strain all along instead of TE?
     
    #18
  19. 3lowdown

    3lowdown Rookie

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    About 5 weeks now and I'm still dealing primarily with lower tricep pain. About 2 inches above the elbow joint. Is this common to TE? or is this possibly tricep strain/tendonitis instead? Would a brace/band above the elbow help?
     
    #19
  20. 3lowdown

    3lowdown Rookie

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    Update - 7/8 weeks later and I've had a lot of ups and downs. Just when I think the elbow is better it flares up again. I've changed racquets, strings, used NSAIDS and ice, changed 1hbh grip, playing less often, etc.. still having pain after hitting.

    So I went to an orthopedic Doc today and decided to try a cortisone shot. I know there's some controversy about cortisone's benefits, but that seemed like a better option than to quit playing altogether.

    If all goes well I will try a light hitting session in a couple of days and post back with another update
     
    #20
  21. curvefan

    curvefan New User

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    3lowdown,

    I could be you!! Same exact story here only I'm 53.

    My guess, and I'm no doctor, but the shot will probably help you.

    It definitely helped me. But I came back too soon and tried to play through the pain. Big mistake!

    Long story short, I ended up having to quit playing for probably 6 to 8 long months. Also during that time the usual rehab stuff.

    I'am happy to say I'm back in the game.

    I now use a POG OS racquet with a multifilament string at 55#

    I also developed a 2h bh which is still a work in progress.

    I think if I had started out with the 2h bh that my tennis elbow problems could have been avoided.

    Anyhow, good luck and all the best.

    John
     
    #21
  22. scotus

    scotus Legend

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    If you want immediate relief from pain from something besides a cortisone shot, here are a few things to ponder:

    (1) Lidocaine patch -- won't do anything for the inflammation but will take away the pain for half a day.

    (2) Deep tissue massage -- will loosen up your forearm muscles and tricep muscles. When these muscles relax, your elbow tendon will be under much less tension.

    (3) ART (Active Release Technique) -- similar to deep tissue massage with a focus on undoing the "adhesion" of tissue fibers.

    (4) Laser Treatment (Remember the news articles on Nadal, Ljubic, and others getting laser treatments?)

    All right, the option #1 will bring you immediate relief from pain although it really won't do a thing for you in term of healing.

    #2-4 will make your arm sore and hurt for a day or two but it will significantly lessen your pain. Make sure to ice your arm after the first treatment. Your arm will get used to subsequent treatments, though.
     
    #22
  23. J-Mack

    J-Mack New User

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    Just wanted to relay a small change that worked for me. Bit of background: I'm 42, have been playing regularly for about 5 years (twice a week in summer, once every couple of weeks in winter), hit a 1HBH, and had never had any elbow pain -- until this past winter, when some nasty TE flared up. It was getting progressively worse by the Spring, just at the time I was hoping to start playing more.

    About three weeks ago, I was hitting with a partner, and the pain was worse than ever. I was anticipating the stab through my elbow on every backhand, which made it impossible to swing freely. I could feel the pain even as I gripped the racquet before contact. Finally, because it was hurting so much just gripping the handle, I had to loosen the grip until it felt like I was barely hanging on, exerting only enough pressure to keep the racquet in my hand – and wouldn't you know it? I immediately felt better, all the way through contact and beyond. It was a total "duh" moment – if you don’t grip so tightly, the vibration doesn’t pass from your racquet on up through your elbow.

    I've read so many times on this board, "grip lightly", "don't strangle the handle", and my favourite, "imagine you're holding a small animal", but I never applied it on court, and clearly never realized just how tightly I must have been gripping. And an added benefit: as soon as I relaxed the grip, my entire swing became more fluid, and lo and behold, I am now able to generate effortless topspin. This whole episode has reinforced an important lesson for me -- sometimes it's the smallest, most "obvious" change that can make the biggest difference. I feel like an idiot for not realizing sooner that I should relax my grip pressure, but it's often easy to overlook the basics. Hope this helps some people get back to pain-free play a little more quickly.
     
    #23
  24. 3lowdown

    3lowdown Rookie

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    Update - The cortisone treatment for my TE worked !
    2 weeks now since the cortisone treatment and I'm back to at least 90%. I waited a week after the treatment, even though I felt much better just two days later. Now I'm hitting about twice a week, and have no pain.

    I can -almost- squeeze a tennis ball without feeling any pain at all. Prior to the cortisone I couldn't wad up a piece of paper.

    I continue to take it easy on serves, overheads and volleys just because I'm paranoid I think. FH and 1hbh ground strokes are no problem at all.

    I hear there is controversy about cortisone's benefits, so just wanted to post back about my experience.
     
    #24

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