New York Times: "A Fix for Your Tennis Elbow"

Discussion in 'Strings' started by TenFanLA, Sep 14, 2012.

  1. TenFanLA

    TenFanLA Hall of Fame

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    Last edited: Sep 15, 2012
    #1
  2. Torres

    Torres Banned

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    Isn't that just a Flexbar? If so, they're available everywhere. Try Amazon or any specialised fitness shop.
     
    #2
  3. Ramon

    Ramon Hall of Fame

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    It's the Thera-Band flexbar. I have the green one.
     
    #3
  4. Bengt

    Bengt Semi-Pro

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    I have both the blue and green. I recommend the blue unless you're very weak due to the pain. Btw, it works. I use it everyday as a preventative measure now.
     
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  5. KenC

    KenC Professional

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    My wife got bad TE a couple of years ago and I bought her both the green and red bars. At first she had noticeable pain doing the red one but after awhile she moved onto the green one and in about 3 months she was pain free. It seemed to work for her. Considering how bad she had it I was impressed at how fast she healed.
     
    #5
  6. lcalamar

    lcalamar Rookie

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    I have the green bar and it has made all the difference. I still use it regularly.

    I have also used it for shoulder issues - look at some of the videos out there - but shaking it back and forth while holding it upright, while moving your arm back and forth and down to up at a diagonal - is the best therapy for shoulder issues I've found also.
     
    #6
  7. usta2050

    usta2050 Rookie

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    the bars are good but if you really want to get rid of tennis elbows, you need to rest, use soft strings like natural gut, and play with a Prokennex Kinetic racket.
     
    #7
  8. Chotobaka

    Chotobaka Hall of Fame

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    There are numerous exercises for the thumb, hand and wrist that go beyond the standard twisting that most people associate with the Flex Bar. I got turned on to it through a Sports Med facility and found it to be an effective PT tool.
     
    #8
  9. TimeToPlaySets

    TimeToPlaySets Rookie

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    #9
  10. TimeToPlaySets

    TimeToPlaySets Rookie

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    Why are Prokennex Kinetic better? I saw the 7.0 has a stiffness of 68. Seems high. What older models are also good? I might pick up a used one on Zbay, if it's older and cheaper.
     
    #10
  11. Torres

    Torres Banned

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    Why would anyone need to be working with 25lbs of twisting resistance for a 0.7lb tennis racquet?
     
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  12. wrxinsc

    wrxinsc Professional

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    the therapeutic value of this exercise / stretch has nothing to do with the relative weight of a tennis racquet.
     
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  13. usta2050

    usta2050 Rookie

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    to me, they are all pretty arm friendly. but they come in different sizes so pick the size u like. i've used the oldest ones to the newest models. they are all arm friendly.
     
    #13
  14. zapvor

    zapvor Legend

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    pro kennex is like yonex. great frames but noone knows about it
     
    #14
  15. KenC

    KenC Professional

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    I demo'ed a KI5 315 for a bit and finally bought two yesterday. They are not as stiff as they seem on paper. I feel them flex when pounding the ball. However, even if they are more stiff than people expect from a racquet for TE, the way they are constructed yields a really soft playing racquet that is excellent at removing vibrations and softening the impact on off-center hits. I think a lot of damage is done to tendons when shanking the ball and even the most flexible racquets can still send quite the shock to the elbow. What I found with the Ki5 is this shock is really well reduced.
     
    #15
  16. Torres

    Torres Banned

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    The point which I'm making is that with racquet as light as 0.7lbs why does that poster insist that you need to be strengthening using a 25lb loading force? It doesn't make sense.
     
    #16
  17. mikeler

    mikeler G.O.A.T.

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    The kinetic system is an arm saver. If you want a racket that plays stiff but feels soft, Pro Kennex is the answer.
     
    #17
  18. Bengt

    Bengt Semi-Pro

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    For the same reason baseball players train with more than 36 oz. I had to twist the green one at least 50 times a set to feel it working. It got tedious. I think the blue one would have worked better for me from the start. I had a mild/med case of TE - pain on serve and ohbh. Btw, I "recommended"; not "insisted" fwiw. Buy all 3. They're cheap.
     
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2012
    #18
  19. Karstic

    Karstic Rookie

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    I bought one of the green ones by TheraFlex last fall, and believe it has been of great benefit. I picked up a red one, though of different manufacture, to loan out to a girl with wrist pains who asked about wrist strengthening execise. She claims it is helping her.
     
    #19
  20. Karstic

    Karstic Rookie

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    By the way, I learned of these from a thread in the Health & Fitness forum here.
     
    #20
  21. arche3

    arche3 Banned

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    I had a sports medicine doctor advise me to use the flex bar. He said it is used to stretch out the tendons. keep the muscles and tendons working and loose to bring blood to the area. Its the blood supply that helps the healing. He claims if you just rest it is actually not as helpfully as using the flex bar and other exercises. You need the blood to flow there. the tendons get very little normal blood flow.
     
    #21
  22. Torres

    Torres Banned

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    This isn't baseball. 10lbs, 15lbs, 25lbs....why 25lbs? Unless you have a locked arm and swing from the elbow or arm every ball, its difficult to understand why you need to 'train' with a twisting force that is x35 more (25lbs) than the racquet. The purpose of the Flexbar is to strengthen and re-align the direction of the fibres in the tendon, not strength training for caber tossing. A huge part of prevention is technique related and staying loose. Correct that and its difficult to see why you would need a 25lbs twisting force over 10lbs or 15lbs.
     
    #22
  23. TimeToPlaySets

    TimeToPlaySets Rookie

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    #23
  24. scotus

    scotus Legend

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    I agree with you.

    The blue pretty much strengthens the muscles and is not designed to rehabilitate tendons. In fact, if you have midly damaged tendons, the blue may cause more tearing.

    Just as one is supposed to do rotator cuff rehab exercises with light weights (1 to 3 lbs), the flex bars for TE need to stay at lower resistance and be done at a very slow pace.

    I personally do not see any need to go over the green.
     
    #24
  25. TenFanLA

    TenFanLA Hall of Fame

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    I can't believe what I'm reading/hearing...What a bunch of mamby pambies, wimps in here...I've ordered all 4 flexbars and am going to use them ALL AT THE SAME TIME!

    J/K...from the reviews it seems that the Red 10lbs is plenty enough, Green 15 is really the limit and Blue 25 is too much. So I'm going with the Red...plus it matches my strings, grip and socks. :mrgreen: Whoever invented this must be making some $$$.
     
    #25
  26. Karstic

    Karstic Rookie

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    TenFan,
    If you go with the Cando copies, there are SIX options! Think of the workout you'll get.
     
    #26
  27. arche3

    arche3 Banned

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    My sport doc had me get the red for my te rehabilitation. It seems perfect for stretching the tendons and muscles out.
     
    #27
  28. TimeToPlaySets

    TimeToPlaySets Rookie

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    #28
  29. TimeToPlaySets

    TimeToPlaySets Rookie

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    Anyone use excessive lead tape to help their elbow? If I were to hit a tennis ball with a steel bar, I would never feel the shock. So, I agree that racket weight is a big factor. I might try wrapping a ton of lead tape around the head. Might be a cheap $10 band-aid to see if it works. I don’t need to worry about tourament violations/rules, etc. Or, maybe I'll just buy a very heavy racket.
     
    #29
  30. DrpShot!

    DrpShot! Semi-Pro

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    I've never heard of any rules violations for wrapping lead tape, you should be able to load your racket up to the point you can barely lift it and it'd still legal.
     
    #30
  31. michaelscoots

    michaelscoots Rookie

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    My first case of tennis elbow was back in 2009. I did some research and discovered the flexbar. I bought the red one and within 2 weeks of using it all of my pain and symptoms vanished. Following the episode I would use it both before and after play as a preventative measure. Back then, I actually could play through the pain with the use of an arm band.

    Fast forward to July of 2012. I had loaned my flexbar out to a friend in the spring and he was still using it for rehab (not tennis related). I'm a photographer and I had a photoshoot on a beach. After driving over an hour to the shoot I rolled my case down trails to the beach and carried it down a couple flights of steps down the bluffs. I felt a little strain that day. I think my tendons were overloaded. I then did the shoot. When you're shooting with a bigger body camera and heavy lenses your forearm and tendons are constantly under load as you both selected and lock focus points and fire the trigger. All while griping the weight of the camera. Much is off set by the left hand holding the weight of the camera and lens. So usually, I have no problems.

    That night I needed to string my racquet, but my usual MSV 1.18 strings were in the mail and I was out of stock :( So I used some Luxilon strings (TIMO) in a full bed on my K90. I figure if I string around 54 and the thinnner gauge shouldn't be a problem. So I strung it up.

    The next morning I played with my brother. We spend the first 1 minutes warming up near the net - one bounce. No problems. Then after about 10 minutes of ground strokes, I felt a tear! I went up to rub my arm. I switched to one of my wood racquets and the pain wasn't so bad. I played the rest of that week and on the last day I felt a larger tear! Bummer!

    I figured I'd take some time off and start using the flexbar again. Well, last time I got tennis elbow it was my off season...I wasn't shooting that much. This time around...right after the larger tear. I had to shoot a wedding the next day. By the end of the day my arm was so tight and angry. I did the therapy the following week and by the end it felt promising. Then another wedding...more tearing (or so it seemed).

    Long story short, this has been the cycle which I can't escape. My condition continues to worsen as I don't have the luxury to give it a rest. I don't see a rest in sight until the middle of November. Right now, it's hard to picture when or if I can ever play tennis again. Like many of you on here, it's something that completes me and makes me feel, like me! Some days when I'm on the court I reach new milestones and feel invincible...truly alive. Right now, I'm in a dark place, but I'm sticking with the therapy hoping to come out one day soon.

    My advice to any who have their first bout. Get off the court...ice it that day. Start using the flexbar until the pain is completely gone. Then head back out to the court. Keep up with the flexbar as a preventative. There are also other stretching and strengthening exercises which can help you become more flexible and stronger. If there was something you changed that may have led to this pain. Assess and fix the issue. You love tennis too much!
     
    #31
  32. TimeToPlaySets

    TimeToPlaySets Rookie

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    If this elbow issue potentially threatened my livelihood, I'd quit and find a new hobby. It's just stupid to continue under those circumstances. TE also effects other aspects of your fitness and workouts.

    • I am using the blue Flexbar. 3x15 daily. Should I do more? I am also resuming my typical workout routine, as well.
    • I ordered the PK Ki5x racket at 52 lbs.
    • I will take a few lessons on swing form that reduces TE.
    • I'll limit play to 1-2x a week.
    • I'm focusing on hitting less hard. Improving strategy & technique (hit deeper vs. ripping topspin that only lands at the service line, go to net, etc)

    If these 5 aren't enough, I'm out.
    There are millions of other hobbies out there.
    The last thing I want is some annoying nagging injury for the rest of my life.

    Actually, since I've already inflamed the TE by NOT doing the above this summer,
    if these steps do not work this Fall, I will take the entire winter off, and revisit next Spring.
    Once fully healed, if these 5 measures do not prevent TE, THEN I am out.
     
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2012
    #32
  33. TimeToPlaySets

    TimeToPlaySets Rookie

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    Another vote for the BLUE Theraband.
    Blue is now too easy after only 10 days.
    I am now up to doing sets of 50.
     
    #33
  34. Tennisguy3000

    Tennisguy3000 Semi-Pro

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    Hmmm I might have to try one of these out... In the meantime I would imagine that twisting a towel would work or be close in some ways. Thanks for the info ;-)
     
    #34
  35. jgrushing

    jgrushing Rookie

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    I have my doubts that anyone that thinks the blue is too easy really has tennis elbow. Maybe your forearm muscles are sore or something. But I can't imagine using more than the green on a real case of tennis elbow. I'm using the green now and it's quite sore during and immediately after.

    As for a towel, it doesn't provide resistance while unloading. Maybe an elastic resistance band folded a couple of times.
     
    #35
  36. TimeToPlaySets

    TimeToPlaySets Rookie

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    No, it's TE alright. Maybe it's just not extreme. I have laid off hitting hard for a few weeks now, and that has helped. I'm also generally strong anyway. But, yes, my TE is not at the level where I can't turn a doorknob. But, anytime I use my arm, I am aware of the flaring up of the inner elbow.

    Or, maybe the Blue band is working!
     
    #36
  37. jgrushing

    jgrushing Rookie

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    The flare-up of the inner elbow is Golfer's Elbow not Tennis Elbow. Even so, it must not be severe at all. I use the green and feel like any more would rip the tendon right off the bone. I think that might be the distinction. Some people get tenderness or soreness of the tendon in general.

    Mine, however, is soreness and probably scar tissue at the connection between the bone and the tendon. It's quite difficult to heal. Right now, I am questioning the FlexBar just a bit. After almost two weeks, I am more sore if anything. However, the forearm feels stronger. I am going with the theory that the tendon scar tissue is being broken down and it's being remodeled. Trying to be patient.
     
    #37
  38. TimeToPlaySets

    TimeToPlaySets Rookie

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    Well, isn't that a hoot?

    I played golf for a decade, 4 times a week, and never once got even a hint of "golfer's elbow".

    I play tennis for 4 days, and I get a searing case of "golfer's elbow" on the inner elbow, yet absolutely zero hint of "tennis elbow".

    Boy, what a complete joke. How the F does one get golfer's elbow from playing tennis? Talk about the most idiotic naming convention ever.

    This is what I have:
    [​IMG]
     
    #38
  39. Torres

    Torres Banned

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    I don't think tendon scar tissue generally gets broken down with eccentric exercises. Those sort of exercise strengthen, stretch and re-align the tendon fibres logitudinally over its entire length (if you're doing the exercises properly). All of which is generally all good for tendon repair / prevention of relapse etc.

    Don't know about scar tissue in tendons, but scar tissue is muscles tends to get broken down by repeatedly kneading it ie which when the physios jams his/her fingers deep into stiff/tight muscles causing howls of pain. And according to physios its also done at certain times post injury during the healing/repair phase as well to reduce the formation of significant scare tissues. Hence the howls of pain.

    One word of caution to those macho posturing about the blue Flexbar. If you have a damaged anything, whether its tissue/muscle/tendon/ligament rarely is it a good idea to be putting the maximum amount of force possible through the injured area. Maximum force and too many repetitions each day does not make it heal quicker. 100 repeitions a day will not make it heal 100 times faster. You need to begin low and slow, otherwise you risk making the injury worse.
     
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2012
    #39
  40. jgrushing

    jgrushing Rookie

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    Maybe tendon scar tissue is the wrong terminology. I'm thinking of tendons damaged by tendonosis. Hoping to correct that tendon.
     
    #40
  41. TimeToPlaySets

    TimeToPlaySets Rookie

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    I am using the blue bar with no pain. If there is ANY stress/pain on the elbow, I'd stop.
     
    #41
  42. TimeToPlaySets

    TimeToPlaySets Rookie

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    As per comments regarding lack of blood flow to the injured tendon, I have refused to let my GE impact my otherwise highly active fitness regiment.

    After a week or two of laying back from activity, I am now back in full force. I've done yoga, weightlifting, Pilates, and bootcamp classes all week long. I'm indirectly working that elbow and it's feeling better and stronger.
     
    #42
  43. ChicagoJack

    ChicagoJack Hall of Fame

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    Trying to PT your way out of overuse conditions is a tricky business. I had a several year battle with Achilles Tendinosis, and was was finally successful with eccentric PT only after stopping playing for several months, and waiting until the pain and inflammation was under control. I think timing is important here, especially so for those of us who's day jobs also has us doing upper body repetitive motion stuff.

    Question for those who have used the flex bar with success: did you begin to use it when there was pain present, or did you begin only after the pain was diminished?

    Thanks

    - Jack
     
    Last edited: Oct 5, 2012
    #43
  44. lefty10spro

    lefty10spro Semi-Pro

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    I began doing the "Tyler Twist" exercise 5 days ago when pain was present. My surgery (tendonosis) to remove scar tissue was scheduled for November 5th. I have suffered for going on a year. I am up to two sets of 20 a day with the red and called to cancel the surgery. I am a 53 year old teaching pro with my first case of TE. Sure glad a student bought this great device and showed me the twist!! He actual got the technique wrong, so go online to watch the video of the proper form.
     
    #44
  45. TimeToPlaySets

    TimeToPlaySets Rookie

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    I found the online format totally overdone, so made up my own. You can get more twist by using an "undergrip" with the non-injured hand. Also, there is absolutely no reason for that convoluted sideways alignment.

    1) Just keep the bar flat.
    2) Twist with non-injured arm.
    3) Untwist injured arm.
     
    #45
  46. ChicagoJack

    ChicagoJack Hall of Fame

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    Lefty10spro -

    Wowzers. That's quite a testimonial, improvement promising enough to cancell surgery after only 5 days is pretty amazing. I admit to checking your join date to see if maybe you were a marketing ambasador of some sort. Seems almost too good to be true!

    I'm starting out with the red one as well, just came in the mail yesterday. I hope its effective for me at anywhere near your timeline. Im playing in the USTA Nationals in mid November, would be super awesome to be 100 percent by then. I've gotten the pain and inflammation under control with ice, acupuncture, chiropractic care, and massage. I'm at a good starting point for PT so I am hopeful.

    - Jack
     
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2012
    #46
  47. corbind

    corbind Professional

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    That's great for quick recovery especially for not being a kid. Healing or fixing anything wrong with the body seems to take longer with age.
     
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2012
    #47
  48. kazamzaa

    kazamzaa Rookie

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    The "Tyler twist" is the best thing for TE. I'm at the age of 33, and this really cured my TE. I don't think one should do it while having lot of pain present.
    Also altering cold and warm water in 15 sec. intervals speeds up healing. Starting and ending with cold.
    And the most important thing (sadly) is to have at least 1 month of totally pain free elbow before playing.
     
    #48
  49. kazamzaa

    kazamzaa Rookie

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    I did not use it when it was so bad that I could not lift a coffee cup. I discovered it after having over one year of TE.
    When I began using flex bar (green) the pain was there only when straightening the wrist against resistance (straight arm, palm down). And also when tapping the bone at the outside of the elbow. Those are the basic TE diagnosis tests.
    When I did the exercises (3x15 repetitions) at first I felt "something" in the injured tendons. Not pain really.
     
    #49
  50. lefty10spro

    lefty10spro Semi-Pro

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    Good luck to you Jack. I'm on day 10 of twisting and it just keeps getting better. I am a huge skeptic and I would never try acupuncture or chiropractic because of the total lack of sciencetific evidence to back up the claims. I do not work for this company (not even sure of the name). It was a gift from a doctor that I teach (4.5 player) and I just starting doing the exercise!
     
    #50

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