Can't fix my tennis elbow

Discussion in 'Health & Fitness' started by jaybear1909, Oct 23, 2011.

  1. jaybear1909

    jaybear1909 Rookie

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    I've had this issue for about half a year and it hasn't gotten any better.

    I used to think it was a wrist problem, but now I know it's my elbow. I can touch the tendon in my forearm and it sends pain all through my arm. Simple things such as twisting the door knob proves difficult.

    My tennis is really being effected by this issue. I've gravitated towards heavy, flexible racquets to try and fix it, but it just isn't happening.

    I used to take 3 Ibuprofen right before I played just to keep it from bothering me, but got tired of doing that. I'm not used to being 'crippled' so to speak.

    I've tried ice, and a little bit of rest (it's hard for me to go 3+ days without playing) but it's only gotten worse. Is there something I can do to fix it, or should I just go to the doctor about it?
     
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  2. archman

    archman Rookie

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    You could go to the doctor but the two I went to really didn't tell me anything I didn't read online. Stretch, strengthen (Flexbar works well), and ice after playing, if you do have to play. I could barely lift a water bottle out of the holder in my car for 7 months. I have been pain free for the last year and even switched back to poly's in the mains. IMO, DO NOT get a cortisone shot. That made it worse for me.
     
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  3. goran_ace

    goran_ace Hall of Fame

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    3 days is not even a little bit of rest. A little bit of rest is more like 2 to 3 weeks.

    You're not going to like hearing this, but at this point, yes you should see a doctor, and yes they will tell you to shut it down for a while (weeks, possibly months) before starting therapy. Sorry, but if you let tennis elbow go on for a long time you are putting yourself at risk for permanent damage that might mean you might never be able to play tennis again.
     
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  4. BreakPoint

    BreakPoint Bionic Poster

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    Well you're going to have to if you want to totally get rid of it. The tendon takes much, much longer to heal. In fact, every time I've gotten tennis elbow, I had to take 6 months off completely from tennis to get rid of it. Yup, cold turkey. So my suggestion is to hang up your racquet and find something else to do for 6 months. Unfortunately, there really is no other way to speed up the healing.
     
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  5. jaybear1909

    jaybear1909 Rookie

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    Screw it, I'll just learn to play left handed.
     
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  6. rufusbgood

    rufusbgood Semi-Pro

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    First question I have for the OP is: "Do you know the difference between tennis elbow and golfer's elbow"?

    Personally, I have had both. I got tennis elbow from practicing backhands. I got golfer's elbow from practicing serves.

    When I had tennis elbow, contrary to conventional wisdom, I did not find rest helpful. Since the injury was backhand related, I felt fairly confident I could hit forehands against a practice wall without doing any damage. What I discovered hitting against the wall was that after about 20 mins, the arm actually loosened up and started to feel better. Starting out close to the wall and moving further away a little at a time, I was able to get my backhand going too. My theory on this is that using the arm increases blood flow. Resting does not increase blood flow. Getting the blood flowing seems to help. Just take your time, be patient and listen to your arm.

    In any event, coupled with icing after play and various stretching and strengthening exercises my arm is fine today and I play with a full bed of poly in my racquet. Which brings me to equipment;

    During the painful stage, I dropped the tension on my racquet as much as 15 lbs and switched to a soft multi. Two that I used were Tecnifibre NRG and Wilson Sensation. There are plenty others.

    Best of luck to you.

    Disclaimer: I am not a doctor.
     
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  7. scotus

    scotus Legend

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    Depends on the severity of the condition.

    If you were able to hit forehands without a problem while having TE, then your TE was not as serious as could have been.

    People have reported not being able to hold up a cup of tea or wash their hair without debilitating pain. They can't push a shopping cart, can't carry their babies, can't even suppress pain even when the arm is not being used at all.

    Disclaimer: I am not a doctor, either.
     
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  8. scotus

    scotus Legend

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    One can voluntarily take up to 6 months off, or TE can force you to take a year off.

    I have a mountain-biking friend who developed TE and continued to bike through pain. He has been forced off the bike for over 2 years now.
     
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  9. jaybear1909

    jaybear1909 Rookie

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    Actually, I thought they were both the same thing :confused:. I looked up symptoms of tennis elbow and it hit pretty spot on for me. But I definitely notice a difference once I get the blood flowing. If I were to play for the first time in a few days, my wrist would be very sore and I wouldn't be able to twist it much at first. But as I would practice my arm begins to loosen and feel better, it just isn't as strong as it should be.

    It's nothing to that extent, thank God. I use my hands alot at work, and it sometimes acts up, but it doesn't cripple me to the point where I can't pick something up. It just makes my arm..weak.

    It's more of a dis-convenience.

    So with that being said, if I play fairly casually, will it get worse?
     
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  10. Dgpsx7

    Dgpsx7 Professional

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    I am not a doctor and I have not read through the thread but high dose vitamin D will probably fix it.

    Get vitamin d3 5000IU and take one or two a day. After 7 months of very slow healing of my ankle that I really messed up playing basketball the high dose D3 got me from 70% to 90% in a couple months.
     
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  11. scotus

    scotus Legend

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    If you keep playing the same way (same form, same equipment, same conditioning, etc), then I am fairly sure the condition will only get worse.

    But there are certain things you can do to change:

    (1) Go to a teaching pro and see if your form is biomechanically sound.

    (2) Change equipment if needed. (Look for arm-friendly racquets with natural gut or the softest of multifilament strings. I would also replace the grip with more shock-absorbent ones.)

    (3) Ice the arm religiously. Work slowly up to 15 minutes at a time. Do this about 3-5 times a day.

    (4) Start physical therapy with extremely light weight and the red Flexbar.

    (5) Give yourself plenty of rest between hitting sessions (I advise against playing daily).

    (6) If you can afford it, try deep-tissue massage or ART (active release technique), which did wonders for me. Some members of this board have had great results from Plasma-Rich Prolotherapy.
     
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  12. BreakPoint

    BreakPoint Bionic Poster

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    Yes, blood flow does help with the healing but hitting tennis balls does not. There are other much better ways to increase the blood flow to your elbow without hitting tennis balls, which just makes the micro tears in the elbow tendon (which is what tennis elbow is) tear even more.

    You can try massaging the elbow tendon area several times a day. Try wearing an elastic or neoprene sleeve that covers the elbow when you go to sleep at night to keep the area warm. Try using a penetrating heat cream which warms up that area to help increase the blood flow (but not with the sleeve). These are the sorts of things that I tried which seemed to help the healing, in addition to taking 6 months off.

    BTW, I've had both tennis elbow and golfer's elbow and it took both a long time to heal. When I had golfer's elbow, I also could not shampoo my hair without a lot of pain. With tennis elbow, I could not shake hands without pain. With both, I also felt weak because I could not exert force with my arm in certain circumstances without pain. The good news is that once its fully healed, I could play tennis again at 100% pain free and the TE or GE stayed away for a long time unless I re-injure it again, which I consider to be a new injury and not a recurrence of the old injury.

    I am also not a doctor.
     
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  13. jaybear1909

    jaybear1909 Rookie

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    I'm in the process of choosing a new racquet right now. I've been looking for flexible, heavier racquets (heavier than 10.6 oz I mean). I could definitely ice it more.

    I didn't realize TE could get as severe as some of the people on here have had. Mine is nothing compared to what I've read from this thread already. I have slight pains when twisting the arm or when forced to use my forearm for something, but nothing like the inability to pick up a cup or shake someone's hand. My arm just feels like the fat old version of it's 6 months prior self.

    I'll look into that.
     
    #13
  14. tennytive

    tennytive Semi-Pro

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    That's what I did when my TE got to the point I couldn't take it anymore. I had to brush my teeth left handed for a while too.

    Six months later I was able to start hitting the wall with my right hand again.
     
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  15. catfish

    catfish Semi-Pro

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    I've had mild cases of tennis elbow in the past. I continued to play tennis, but I switched to natural gut string and used a lower tension. I switch racquets every year or so, and I always use Volkl / Becker or Yonex racquets. I haven't had any elbow problems in quite some time.
     
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  16. BMC9670

    BMC9670 Hall of Fame

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    ... and ruin that arm, too? In addition to healing your TE, don't forget to look into why you have it - technique, equipment, overuse, etc and make adjustments when you return.
     
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  17. jaybear1909

    jaybear1909 Rookie

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    I have it because I decided to play a 9.9 oz unstrung, 70 stiff racquet with a full bed of lux timo @ 62 lbs. Yeah, won't be making that mistake again.
     
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  18. mikeler

    mikeler G.O.A.T.

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    Ultrasound and electrostimulation during a month rest period got me back on the court. I had GE so bad, I would never attempt to open a door with my bad arm.
     
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  19. BMC9670

    BMC9670 Hall of Fame

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    Yikes! I felt I twinge in my arm just reading that...:shock:
     
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  20. scotus

    scotus Legend

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    For me, every ultrasound session made the arm hurt more.

    My theory is that ultrasound can be helpful when your TE/GE is mainly in the tendinosis stage, in which case an inflammation caused by the ultrasound would get some blood flowing to the region and help stop/reverse the degeneration.

    But when tendinitis is still present (with or without the tendinosis), I would not use the ultrasound.
     
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  21. BreakPoint

    BreakPoint Bionic Poster

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    Wow, I'm not surprised you developed tennis elbow if you've been using a racquet that light. I suggest switching to a racquet that's over 12 oz and much more flexible, and avoid extended length racquets (more torque to the elbow). Also, avoid poly strings at all costs. Use natural gut or very resilient multis at very low tensions.
     
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  22. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    Don't listen to Breakpoint. I have dropped down to a little over 11 oz strung and it is perfect. Today's lighter racquets are much more comfortable so the old myths are not true.
     
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  23. BreakPoint

    BreakPoint Bionic Poster

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    Sounds like you must have been in a race to see how quickly a person can develop tennis elbow? :shock:
     
    #23
  24. BreakPoint

    BreakPoint Bionic Poster

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    Doesn't the tennis ball you hit over and over still weigh 2 oz.?

    You can't cheat the laws of physics. Collisions still involve one mass colliding with another mass. In a head on collision, would you rather be in the Mini or in the Hummer?
     
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  25. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    If I was in the Hummer, I would have run out of gas just stepping out from the driveway.
     
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  26. jaybear1909

    jaybear1909 Rookie

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    Nope I was just very uninformed lol.

    But I probably got the record anyways.

    This racquet was a "today's racquet" haha.

    I want a heavier one anyways.
     
    #26
  27. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    A heavier one can also cause you arm problems if you cannot handle it.
     
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  28. BreakPoint

    BreakPoint Bionic Poster

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    OK, would you rather be in the Mini traveling at 70mph or in the Hummer at a standstill when they collide head on? :)
     
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  29. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    I would rather be out there driving a Hummer and playing with a comfortable 11 oz frame and improving my skills, instead of swinging a pro's frame and stalling my progress.
     
    #29
  30. BreakPoint

    BreakPoint Bionic Poster

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    It's hard to improve your tennis skills when you're sitting home nursing your tennis elbow. :(
     
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  31. r2473

    r2473 Legend

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    I cannot change the laws of physics, Captain.

    [​IMG]
     
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  32. mikeler

    mikeler G.O.A.T.

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    Pro Kennex 7G is a very arm friendly and extended length stick.
     
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  33. charliefedererer

    charliefedererer Legend

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    sureshs and Break Point may very well both be right.

    It is pretty much accepted that the best racquet for your arm health is the heaviest racquet you can easily swing, without resulting in a loss in swing speed.

    For many, this racquet weighs 11 ounces.

    For others 12 ounces.


    In tennis, like in other things, size does matter:

    [​IMG]

    Cheers, mates!
     
    #33
  34. rufusbgood

    rufusbgood Semi-Pro

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    I can't help thinking you have golfer's elbow. Very simply, is the pain on the outside of the arm or the inside?
     
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  35. mikeler

    mikeler G.O.A.T.

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    Try to find a racket that is heavy enough to be kind to your elbow and also light enough to be kind to your shoulder.
     
    #35
  36. jaybear1909

    jaybear1909 Rookie

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    Inside. I can touch the tendon from my elbow, and follow it to my hand and it feels very odd. It's not "pain" as much as discomfort. It sometimes feels like electricity is running through it.
     
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2011
    #36
  37. rufusbgood

    rufusbgood Semi-Pro

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    ^^^Right. You have golfer's elbow. Have you been trying to change your service motion lately, or practicing your serve a lot?
     
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  38. jaybear1909

    jaybear1909 Rookie

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    I changed the motion within the last week or so, yes. I am getting under the ball more and put my weight into the court.
     
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  39. Chas Tennis

    Chas Tennis Hall of Fame

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    Here is what seems to be known about your injury:
    1) .............
    2)...............
    3)...............
    4) seeing a Dr. is the best next step
     
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2011
    #39
  40. rufusbgood

    rufusbgood Semi-Pro

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    Well, my friend, you have had this problem a lot longer than just the last week per your first post.

    I know in my own case that tinkering with my service motion and excessive service practice precipitated a moderate case of golfer's elbow. And the remedy as far as I was concerned was to lay off serving for a while. I continued to play, but I served side arm. The healing has not been speedy but the arm feels almost normal now.
     
    #40
  41. ricki

    ricki Professional

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    Is WOBENZYM being sold in US? If yes, use it. You can also start with PHLOGENZYM and then continue with WOBENZYM. It helps.
     
    #41
  42. drak

    drak Professional

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    MO you have tried a lot of different things, I would suggest a PRP injection - just do a google search and there is a ton of imfo on it. The best success for these injections has been for tennis elbow. Our local tennis pro had it done a year ago and within 4-6 weeks he was totally pain free and has been since.
    By the way I have chronic achilles tendonitis and just got my first injection yesterday, will have another in 3 or 4 weeks. I have tried everything for a year, nothing has cured it so I am trying this.

    Drak
     
    #42
  43. charliefedererer

    charliefedererer Legend

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    He has tried a lot of things.

    But the one essential that he hasn't tried is REST.
     
    #43
  44. drak

    drak Professional

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    PRP can accelerate the healing with the rest, it's best results per studies have been with tennis elbow.

    Drak
     
    #44
  45. zunderlips27

    zunderlips27 New User

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    AFTER almost 4 months ith tennis elbow, I have almost healed with 3 weeks of FLEXBAR excersises and rest. Eccentric exercises are incredible.
     
    #45
  46. Suezee

    Suezee New User

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    Check out my post: "Is it tendinitis or tendinosis", and it may give you some insight on the physiology behind your stubborn symptoms. Find someone who understands and appreciates the current evidence on the subject and get some help. Either that, or wait it out and see if it resolves itself on its own. Which it can do, sometimes, but it's a real bummer sitting on the sidelines and missing out on all of the fun.
     
    #46
  47. SENIOR TENNIS

    SENIOR TENNIS New User

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    mri for tennis elbow

    Hurt my elbow at tennis - went for Cortizone shots and therapy - 4 months of this and still much pain. Finally went to doctor who suggested a MRI to see what has happened and it showed I had a tear in my elbow and could not be fixed by injection or rest - only surgery. Surgery 3 months ago - elbow in fine but pain in my wrist and hand - this may be after shock from surgery or non use of hand - can not get a straight answer from any Doctor. Did anyone have this problem after elbow surgery. "Strong suggestion if you get tennis elbow - do not fool around with injections get a MRI first to see what course of action is right for you. do not waste four months like i did.

     
    #47
  48. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    Use capcisin cream
     
    #48
  49. SENIOR TENNIS

    SENIOR TENNIS New User

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    Get an MRI

    Tennis elbow - I wasted 4 months taking injections and therapy and finally went to a new Doctor who suggested an MRI and found I had a tear in my elbow and needed surgery. Had surgery 3 months ago and hoping to get back to tennis soon. MRI will give you the best direction for couse of treatment

     
    #49
  50. Morgan

    Morgan Rookie

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    I had severe tendonitis of the elbow - tried to reduce my tension in my racket, used string that supposedly was easier on the elbow, used ice, ibuprofen, rest, and one of those elbow pillows that you velcro on the arm.....but the thing that fixed my problem appears to be my sweat band on my wrist. I took it off and the TE disappeared over the course of a week. Also took a few lessons to make sure my groundstrokes weren't the cause.

    I couldn't explain the biomechanics, but somehow the wrist sweatband affects the tendons on the upper arm.

    If you have sweatbands, try taking them off.
     
    #50

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