Please Give Me Tips For Getting Over My Elbow Tendinitis

Discussion in 'Health & Fitness' started by Visceral, May 27, 2009.

  1. Visceral

    Visceral New User

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    I have golfer's elbow, also known as medial epicondylitis.

    I had wrist surgery last September, and when I started playing again I developed golfer's elbow. I have no been struggling with it for four months. I have taken several two-week long breaks, only to have pain again when I come back on the tennis court. I have now come to the conclusion that I need at least a month or more away from tennis for this problem to heal.

    I'm posting on here to get some information from users about how they overcame golfer's elbow (or tennis elbow). This is what I'm currently doing: I wear tennis elbow neoprene sleeve during the day and while I sleep; I apply ice directly to the sore spot with ice frozen in dixie cups; I apply cold with a cold wrap brace; and I massage it myself periodically. I received a cortisone injection two weeks ago, but that did not seem to give me any pain relief. Please give me any suggestions and tips that will help me get over my golfer's elbow.

    I also have some questions:
    - Will doing upper body weightlifting exercises that don't cause pain in my elbow prolong the healing process? (I realize that certain triceps exercises hurt so I avoid these completely, but I have been doing other exercises that don't hurt.)
    - Is acupuncture worth the money for this condition?
    - Is physical therapy necessary?
    - What kind of things do I need to avoid? (besides the things that cause me obvious pain)

    Thank you very much for your help!
     
    #1
  2. Visceral

    Visceral New User

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    One More Thing

    I forgot to mention that I am currently doing several forearm exercises and shoulder exercises. I have read these are good to prevent elbow problems in the future.
     
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  3. charliefedererer

    charliefedererer Legend

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    Are you quite sure there is not some aspect in your technique that is not putting abnormal strain on your elbow?
    Are you using a stiff frame or relatively inelastic poly strings?
     
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  4. TennisNinja

    TennisNinja Hall of Fame

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    I have the same thing. Once you come back, an arm brace helps. I use the band it one, it works well, along with a compression arm sleeve to help my arm warm up.

    What you're doing with the ice and exercises are great, they actually do help a lot. I haven't ever used acupuncture, but I've heard it's worth it if you have a match the next day.

    I had physical therapy, and personally I can say that it was not worth my money. What you find on the internet is just as good. Wrist curls are great, and so is squeezing a stress ball, and other exercises are good too.

    Hope you overcome this!
     
    #4
  5. Visceral

    Visceral New User

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    I was using a very arm damaging frame and poly strings. But since I've developed these problems I haven't been using poly and I've switched to the ProKennex Ki 5. I'm still having the problems, but I think I may have not given the elbow long enough to heal to give the ProKennex a proper evaluation.

    A pro identified that I did not pronate my wrist enough on my serve, and I was "arming" my serve. The serve is the shot that really aggravates my elbow. I can hit groundstrokes for a while before the pain sets in. I've attempted to work on a new service motion with a grip that induces more wrist pronation, but it still aggravates my elbow a lot. I've also tried having my arm and hand loose "like a noodle", but the pain is still there. I know that my serve needs some more work, but right now I can't even seem to work on the motion without aggravating the elbow further.

    I hit a close stance forehand when I was younger and learned to play. When I came back a couple years ago, I started hitting with the open stance. I may also need to work on that a bit, because that shot also has a tendency to hurt my elbow.
     
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  6. subaru3169

    subaru3169 Semi-Pro

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    what if you used a kick serve every single time then?? that kind of serve requires a lot of pronation.. also, i'm not sure if it'd help, but have you tried playing with only a half swinging serve?? as in, starting from the top and not having a full windup.. the serve will lose power/momentum for sure, but at least continuing to play is a lot better than blowing out your elbow permanently
     
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  7. yellowoctopus

    yellowoctopus Professional

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    I'm treating my medial epicondylitis right now.

    -It's been 2 and a half weeks since I picked up a racquet; I plan to continue this for at least 2 more weeks. It is critical for you to stop playing tennis to allow proper healing. There are a few folks that will tell you that they 'played through' it--more power to those folks because of their above average ability to recover.

    -I'm also doing PT, per my orthopaedist's order, and taking prescription anti-inflamatory. I agree with TennisNinja's comment about the worth of PT; however, my doctor believes in the 2+2 = 5 rule, so we are doing with both PT and drugs to allow for synergy.

    -I only wear the elbow band (band-it) while driving (manual transmission) and when I'm cooking or washing dishes.

    -Your PT can suggest exercises and stretching that is appropriate for early stage of recovery--I haven't seen this on the web.

    -For icing, which I do religiously, I use the neoprene wrap with cold pack inside. This combination allows me to walk around instead of just sitting still while icing, which can be quite boring and result in less motivation to ice.

    -I also tried 'Flector patch' in the begining, before going to my orthopaedist. It seems to reduce the imflamation pretty well. You will need prescription for this.

    -Don't be macho. If certain tasks give you even a slight pain, resist the temptation to ignore it. Avoid the task, or use the other hand to do it.

    -Lastly, I used the time away from the court so far to improve my legs strength, stamina, and balance. It's a great opportunity to push those legs and core muscles to the max.

    Best of luck
     
    Last edited: May 28, 2009
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  8. Visceral

    Visceral New User

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    Your response is exactly what I was looking for. Thanks for the advice. I believe I need to find a new orthopaedist. Mine just suggested the cortisone shot and nothing else. He said PT was unnecessary and did not prescribe any ant-inflammatory medication. He did give me some gel for arthritic patients, but I think this only numbs the pain.

    I'm also trying to focus on what I can improve during this time away from the court. My leg strength and endurance are good, but my quickness is lacking, so I'm doing some agility drills.

    Thanks again for the advice!
     
    #8
  9. Kobble

    Kobble Hall of Fame

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    Things that help.

    Part of the R-I-C-E method

    Rest- Can take as long as 6 months. So go easy on the strokes that aggrevate it.

    Ice- Twice a day can help.

    Massage - Cross friction. Look it up on Youtube.

    Stretch - Namely pulling your fingers backward for at least 15 second.

    I think it goes in phases of swelling reduction, repair, and remodeling.

    Ice helps swelling.
    Rest helps repair.
    Massage, and rest, helps remodeling. Meaning the collagen needs to be remodeled to it natural lengthwise structure, instead of random.
     
    #9
  10. Bud

    Bud Bionic Poster

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    This is the RIMS method :-D
     
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  11. Kobble

    Kobble Hall of Fame

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    It's the ghetto version. LOL
     
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  12. Goyo

    Goyo New User

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    I agree with all of the above.
    Two more tips that helped me after the rest period.
    1) very very important, change your serve motion, concentrate on going forward not upward, anyway that helped me.
    2) change strings, use a multi string i suggest x-1 at a tension no more than 60.

    hope this helps, gl
     
    #12
  13. Visceral

    Visceral New User

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    My elbow pain is about the same now. I have not played tennis for a week now, but I believe washing my car last weekend aggravated it. On top of that, it seems many other things aggravate it, including brushing my teeth, washing in the shower, etc... These are everyday things. I've also been experiencing a "pins and needles" sensation in my elbow this week that is new. Usually it is just a burning sensation. I had my doctor call in 800mg Ibuprofen and I'm taking that every six hours, so I'm thinking that may have something to do with the pins and needles feeling.

    I'm going to see Todd Ellenbecker, the so-called guru physical therapist on the elbow, on Monday. Hopefully he will have some answers for me. He probably will tell me exactly what you all have been telling me on here!

    Thanks for all the advice.
     
    #13
  14. Goyo

    Goyo New User

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    Please let us know what he says so we can know what to do if this happens to us.
    gl!
     
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  15. Visceral

    Visceral New User

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    Sure thing.
     
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  16. Kobble

    Kobble Hall of Fame

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    Man, I feel bad for you. You might have it real bad, and will need like 2+ months rest. I here it takes like 100 days for full collagen regeneration. If it is that serious, you are doing the right thing by seeing a professional.
     
    #16
  17. Visceral

    Visceral New User

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    I wanted to give a little update. I went and saw Dr. Ellenbecker, and he seems to know exactly what to do with my condition. He gave me a full exam, and found that my right shoulder rotator cuff muscles were weak, so he has me doing exercises for that. Apparently that will help preventing the tennis elbow injury in the future.

    I've been off tennis now for 11 days, and he instructed me to lay off tennis and upper body weight lifting (except for the rotator cuff exercises) for another 2.5 weeks. I'll probably lay off tennis for at least another 3 weeks just because I know my body and I want this to be the last time I have to take a break.

    I'm going to video tape my serve and open stance forehand and he is gonna to critique them. Hopefully he can give me some good advice on how to change my technique on my serve so that I don't have this pain in the future.

    As part of my first day, I also had electro-stim on my elbow, and they gave me medication that seeped through my skin through some sort of electrical charged process. I did the rotator cuff exercises, got an elbow massage, and then they wrapped ice around my elbow for the drive home. It was a very pleasant experience and Dr. Ellenbecker instills confidence in his patients that everything will heal up fine.

    I'll give another update in a few weeks on how my elbow feels on the tennis court.
     
    #17
  18. eagle

    eagle Hall of Fame

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    Here's what I did:

    - Physical therapy

    - Laid off tennis for two months; absolutely no hitting, not even picking up a racquet for shadow swings (couldn't do it anyway due to pain)


    When I went back to tennis, this is what I've done to prevent reinjury:

    - Ice after each session

    - Pain cream (cool/heat type) as needed

    - Hit mostly spin shots. This made the biggest difference for me. I'm a flat hitter mostly but I switched to exclusively top spin to reduce the shock absorbed by my elbow/arm/shoulder. I noticed the difference after I made the conscious decision to hit all spin including serves. The post-session tinge on my elbow was significantly less!

    Good luck.

    r,
    eagle
     
    #18
  19. momtogrif

    momtogrif Rookie

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    I'm currently dealing with TE right now that started in February when I switched to a lighter racquet. The pain has actually moved around my elbow and is now giving me trouble in the back of the elbow where the tricep meets the joint.
    I've been in PT for 6 weeks now and I'm not having much relief. I go back to the ortho next week and I know he'll say cortisone shot. One thing that is working is that I'm doing strength training for my shoulder, wrist, and bicep muscles as per my PT's instruction. I also was so desperate to get out on court that I started hitting with my other arm!! Talk about frustrating. But, it was still fun to be out on court even though I lost a few balls over the fence. LOL!
    My PT has said that I'll be stopping therapy b/c I'm not really improving. I know my technique is off, too, and I'm really frustrated that I can't get out there and fix my strokes right now.

    I've talked to a few people who take the better part of year off from tennis to let their TE heal. Quite frankly, that would really be a HUGE bummer but I guess I just have to wait and see how I heal!
     
    #19
  20. Visceral

    Visceral New User

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    You may want to try acupuncture. My PT says that's a good option when nothing else is working.

    I've had quite a bit of pain where the tricep meets the elbow. I originally thought I had tricep tendonitis. I still think that I may have that, but I was diagnosed with golfer's elbow. I have pain on the inside of my elbow, on the back where the triceps meets, and on the outside. This pain alternates areas and comes and goes.

    I am also very frustrated. This is a ridiculous injury. I've injured both my shoulder and wrist, and at least with those I knew I would be better every week and my body would slowly heal itself. My body seems extremely slow to heal this tendonitis. I haven't played tennis for 3 weeks, and my elbow feels about the same as it did 3 weeks ago.

    Everything I do aggravates this injury. Brushing my teeth, washing the dishes, driving my car, typing on a keyboard.

    My advice to all tennis players who don't currently have this injury: If you feel any pain in your elbow whatsoever, immediately retire from the match and rest a couple of days. My problem was that I continued to play on the pain.
     
    #20
  21. Kobble

    Kobble Hall of Fame

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    I would go out and hit against the wall left handed just so you can get practice seeing the ball.
     
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  22. lovin'it

    lovin'it Rookie

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    i am curious what the rotator cuff exercises are...as i think that is a problem for me, too. i have t.e. and have been off six weeks or so. actually, the desire wanes a bit, and i have substituted several things in its place...jogging, weight room, golf. am going to p.t. and have a few more weeks til i see the doctor. no pain, now, really. strength seems better. my pt is working me on grip strength, too, which i think is going to help. seems all these muscles act as your suspension/springs...and the more strength, the less each individual muscle has to carry. and like a chain, it breaks at the weakest connection.

    do give it a rest, it was REALLY HARD to quit, but in one sane moment, i got subs for the entire summer and am now just strengthening. i know my game will suffer, but what can ya do?

    i plan to start from the beginning once i do start, and try to reduce some of my poor form. i, like you, have pain in the serve. i like some of the tips here,

    anyway, good luck, keep us posted, and let it heal!!
     
    #22
  23. chess9

    chess9 Hall of Fame

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    This is a very good thread. Thanks to visceral for following through with the good doctor who diagnosed the rotator cuff weakness.

    As others may have noted from my posts, I think a lot of injuries arise from muscle imbalances. I'm not a physical therapist, just an old stupid jock, but I've found that lifting regularly, and training the shoulders and back and core really do keep a lot of injuries at bay. I've been lifting since I was 8, and I've never had elbow or shoulder problems.

    -Robert
     
    #23
  24. ricardo

    ricardo Professional

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    Is it really tendinitis or tendonosis???

    Is it really tendinitis or tendonosis???

    Before you embark on a treatment regimen, you first have identify what you really have.

    Tendinitis and tendonosis are two different things and require different treatment.

    Tendonosis is a severe complication of tendinitis. While tendinitis requires at most two weeks of rest, tendonosis may require months or years of rehabilitation.

    Tendonosis started out as tendinitis. It became tendonosis because you continued to use your arm in spite of the pain. You only stopped when you can no longer lift a cup of coffee, turn a doorknob, shake a hand, or hold your tennis racket. at this point, severe tendon damage has been done.

    Recommendations:
    - Research tendonosis
    - research friction massage
     
    #24
  25. Visceral

    Visceral New User

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    Update

    I wanted to give an update on my elbow problems. It's been about a year since I first started experiencing the symptoms of Golfer's Elbow. I was really forced to quit tennis for about six months. Judging from the previous post in this thread, I probably had tendonosis. The pain has VERY SLOWLY gotten better. But, I still have mild elbow pain when I play tennis with my brace. I still have soreness the next day when I do any activity that requires repetitive arm motions (bowling, using a screwdriver, etc...). But, the pain is much than it was. I did about three or four months of PT on the elbow and just gave it a ton of rest. I stopped lifting weights and stopped playing tennis entirely. Right now I can FINALLY do all those activities again on consecutive days without extreme arm pain. I still haven't tried playing in a weekend tournament that would include 4 or more matches. I would assume that would be too much for my elbow even a year later.

    Learn from my mistakes. If you feel pain in your elbow, STOP PLAYING TENNIS for a while and consult a doctor if it persists.
     
    #25

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