Arm Trouble

Discussion in 'Health & Fitness' started by Kingofthecourt67, Feb 13, 2008.

  1. Kingofthecourt67

    Kingofthecourt67 New User

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    Hey guys,

    Well, I have been experiencing discomfort in my arm for about a month now. For a period, for whatever reason, my serve form was completely off, and I think I injured myself there. Then when I fixed my form, my arm would still bother me but my grounstrokes remained painless. So I went to the doctor and I was told that I had tendinitis of the shoulder and elbow from overuse. She cleared me to continue groundstrokes but I just had to lay off the serve and for physical therapy(I am going for my first session tommorow). So I informed the coach and played yesterday and my arm started hurting during my groundstrokes.

    I had practice again today, and my arm felt horrible. I don't want to miss any practices because I am afraid it will hurt my standing on the team.

    What is your guys opinion on the issue? I am considering telling my coach that I want to sit out the next 2 days because we have practice basically every day and the season starts by the end of the month. Is it possible that I need to sit out more? If so, what would you recommend?

    Thanks in advance. This injury has upset me because it has limited my play greatly.
     
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  2. Kingofthecourt67

    Kingofthecourt67 New User

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    Oh I forgot to mention, I am feeling pain basically from my elbow up. Most of the pain is concentrated around the muscles and I have some pain that wasn't there before in the elbow.
     
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  3. SystemicAnomaly

    SystemicAnomaly G.O.A.T.

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    Are you feeling the pain in the triceps area (back of the arm) or the biceps area (front of the arm)? With your arms hanging down by your sides and the palms facing forward, where is the elbow pain -- above or below the joint, inside or outside, front or back? Does the BH strokes seem to bother your arm more than the FH? Vice versa?

    Would probably be best to rest the arm, at least til next week. Ice the area several times a day for 15-20 minutes at a time.

    Did the doc rule out pinched nerves, either in your shoulder or in the neck (cervical) part of the spine?
     
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  4. Kingofthecourt67

    Kingofthecourt67 New User

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    I seem to feel the most discomfort around my bicep area. I would say that my elbow pain is inside on the backside and above my elbow with my palms facing forward. Like I stated earlier, that it was initially my serve that was bothering my arm but as of the last 2 days, its been my forehand.
     
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  5. Kingofthecourt67

    Kingofthecourt67 New User

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    So I had my first physical therapist visit today and I was told that my serve was hurting my arm because of my back muscles not being strong enough. For my forehand, she told me that I was just overplaying. She recommended that I take a break, but we practice everday so I think I am going to tone it down certain days. In regards to my serve, I'll be working on strengthening my back.

    Hopefully, this pain I feel on my forehand will go away so at least I can get in some groundstrokes. I am hoping that 3-4 days of rest will be the cure over the weekend.
     
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  6. kimbahpnam

    kimbahpnam Hall of Fame

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    interesting. I was hoping you would have gotten a different response from your PT because I am dealing with the same issue, but I know it's not because my back muscles are too weak. I lift weights regularly and do pull ups regularly, but still I get pain in my elbow area only during serves.
     
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  7. SystemicAnomaly

    SystemicAnomaly G.O.A.T.

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    Is your elbow pain also above the elbow (with arms hanging down by your side)?

    Do you also do dips or other triceps exercises? Pullups work the biceps, shoulder, lats and some other muscle groups but don't don't all that much for the triceps. If you do a lot of biceps work but ignore the triceps, you could suffer from muscle imbalance. The biceps and triceps are complementary pairs. It is important to work both sets of a complementary pair of muscle groups to avoid an imbalance. The triceps are also somewhat more important for tennis since they are used more explosively to generate power of the serve.
     
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  8. SystemicAnomaly

    SystemicAnomaly G.O.A.T.

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    Since your elbow pain is above the elbow rather than below it, this does not appear to be either tennis elbow or golfer's elbow. From your description of the elbow pain, it sounds like it could be an inflammation of the triceps tendons -- triceps tendinitis, possibly.

    From the racket drop (scratch position) on the serve up to the contact point, the triceps contract explosively. Are you mis-hitting a lot on your serves (and forehands)? Are you hyper-extending your arm on the serve? Or, are you contacting the ball on your serve with a noticeably bent elbow? At contact for the serve, the arm should be comfortably straight (but not necessarily locked out at the elbow).

    Not sure what would cause biceps pain for tennis. The biceps muscles are used for bending the arm. They are also used for supination (opposite of pronation) of the forearm when the arm is bent. They are not used as explosively as the triceps to generate power in tennis.

    Perhaps you have some flaws in your stroke mechanics for the serve and for the forehand that is putting undue stress on the biceps and triceps. Are you using leg power and body rotation (hip rotation followed by torso rotation) on your serves & forehand shots? Forearm rotation?

    You also need solid core muscles for serving and groundstrokes. As your PT suggests, you need strong back muscles (both lower & upper back). To complement these, you also need abdominal muscles (and also pectoral muscles),

    You racket might be the culprit. Is your racket particularly light? An ultralight racket can result in a lot of arm stress when contacting the ball. An unusually heavy racket might also cause problems if you generate too much of your power with your arm rather than using your legs and core muscles.

    Is your racket frame very stiff, a power racket? A stiffer frame transmits more of the shock load to the arm than a more flexible frame. Some stiff frames have some shock countermeasures in the throat or the handle of the racket that can help (not talking about string vibration here).

    Some people have also complained about various arm problems when using polyester strings in their rackets.
     
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  9. kimbahpnam

    kimbahpnam Hall of Fame

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    Yea I workout my triceps too. ie. dips, cable exercises.
    I think it might be inflammation.
     
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  10. Kingofthecourt67

    Kingofthecourt67 New User

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    Ok, I had my second physical therapy visit today. In addition to strengthening my back muscles she worked on my flexor tendons because I was told the muscle around there was pretty tight and then said I had tennis elbow. I would really just feel a little soreness by the flexor tendon as well as by my bicep, not really around my elbow which is surprising. They told me to wear a brace while playing and we would analyze why I was getting injured.

    She said a real posibility is that I don't have enough muscle which is probably the case because I don't work out and I am a vegetarian. She also said I could be hitting wrong which I could see on my serve. Another possibility is my strings. I use full poly Head Sonic strings(ive had them for 4 months), but I find it odd that these strings would only affect me on my serve.

    So, there is my update. Thanks for the tips guys.
     
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  11. zebano

    zebano Semi-Pro

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    I bought an NCode N61 dirt cheap last year, and for the first few days just loved the control it brought. After a week and a half to two weeks (4 playing sessions - thats a lot, I have kids), my elbow started hurting. I took 2 weeks off then switched back to my old racket. I haven't had the problem since. However it sounds like you've been using all your equipment for a good period of time. I'm glad you decided to see a PT, she can probably help more than anyone on a message board.
     
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  12. seb85

    seb85 Rookie

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    If you want to keep playing through this you need to do everything you can to help healing along. This will mean getting rid of the poly at least for the time being. I thorougly recommend using natural gut, at least for an interval.
     
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  13. TNT16

    TNT16 Semi-Pro

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    Do you have a full service swing with a real dip into the backscratch position?

    Check Navratilova or Newcombe serve for a truly complete service swing - I think a full service motion would eliminate the strain on your upper arm which may well be resulting from muscling down on the ball without the benefit of a full motion.
     
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  14. SystemicAnomaly

    SystemicAnomaly G.O.A.T.

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    Those strings may or may not be a significant factor. I would say that they are probably not the sole reason for your arm pains, but they could possibly be a significant contributing factor. According to the Head site, the Sonic Pro strings are " Made from uniquely refined co-polymer polyester with a soft molecular construction... ".

    Don't know if this really qualifies this as a soft string. It could be that it is merely a bit softer than same of the earlier, stiffer polyesters. It still could mean that these poly strings, in addition to some flaws in your service mechanics are responsible for your arm problems.

    You might want to try Head's Protector 16 or some other soft strings.

    You never did say what type of racket you were using. This could also be a significant factor. Ultralight, too heavy, too stiff, etc?
     
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  15. Kingofthecourt67

    Kingofthecourt67 New User

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    I use a Prince O3 Hybrid Hornet Oversize. I've had that raquet for about a year now.
     
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  16. SystemicAnomaly

    SystemicAnomaly G.O.A.T.

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    Ah, another piece of the puzzle! This racket, at just over 10 oz, qualifies as a very light racket. This, combined with a polyester string, could have taken its toll, in the past 4 months. If you had been using a lighter frame than this, it might have happened even sooner.

    I noticed that the mid-plus version of this racket weighs about 0.5 oz more. This might possibly be a better choice for your arm. Try adding some weight to your oversized O3 Hornet -- maybe 15-20 grams or more. The added weight, with a softer string might do the trick.
     
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  17. Kingofthecourt67

    Kingofthecourt67 New User

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    I have a second Prince O3 and I was using some hybrids with Luxilon Alu power rough and Techifibre Biphase. Those strings felt pretty good, my arm was hurting but not was bad a last week. However, I still feel like I play better with my other strings, but I will gve these strings a chance since they are new.

    However, I am kind of worried about adding weight as our first match of the season in monday. And if I were to add weight, how would that alter the raquet and how I play.

    Thanks a lot for the responses, this injury is quite frustrating, but I am trying to get through it and make sure that the problem doesn't happen again.
     
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  18. SystemicAnomaly

    SystemicAnomaly G.O.A.T.

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    Adding a lot weight, could possibly throw your timing off a bit if you don't have enough time to become accustomed to the change. The effect on timing depends on how much weight you add, and where you add it.

    Try adding a little weight to one of your Prince O3s. Chances are that one of them already weighs a bit more than the other, unless you hand-picked them to have the exact same weight. They could also balance somewhat differently as well -- there is often more variation in weight & balance than you would expect for frames that are supposedly the same. Get a food or postal scale to measure. Also, try to determine the balance points for your 2 frames.

    Since your season is already starting, you might want to start off by adding only 8-10 grams or so (less than 1/3 oz) to one of the O3s. If you want to keep the balance point about the same, then add the weight near the top of the throat. If you want to add weight but minimize the effect on swingweight, then add the weight lower in the throat or even in the handle.
     
    #18
  19. Kingofthecourt67

    Kingofthecourt67 New User

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    I might look into a heavier racket and using head sonic strings with maybe some prince synthetic gut with duraflex as I just broke the hybrids today.

    I am kind of reluctant to switch rackets but I can't continually be hurting my arm.
     
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