Tennis elbow and racquets

Discussion in 'Classic Racquet Talk' started by hacobian, Jan 29, 2010.

  1. hacobian

    hacobian New User

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    Hi everyone,

    I am a 3.5 player who was has been using a Prince Speedport blue strung in the high range for all of last year with no tennis elbow problems. The Babolat flex index is 67 for the Prince.

    I switched to a Wilson K tour f/x strung mid range this year with a flex index of 63. My elbow is killing me after 3 games and I can tell the racquet is definitely worsening the pain so I got rid of it and went back to my Prince strung mid range with Xtreme.

    1. It seems to me based on that experience that the stiffer racquet is better for my elbow, can this be true?
    2. I'll work on my technique but does switching to a particular string type really help?
    3.Do particular balls help?
    4.Is there any benefit in wearing bands or is it a waste of money?
    5. Finally, what else can i do to accelerate the healing and play again next week?

    Thanks for all your help[
     
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  2. pshulam

    pshulam Hall of Fame

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    RDA flex rating is only one of many factors that can lead to tennis elbow. There are others, such as weight, weight distribution, string type, string tension. Heavier weight is better in stability and thus help to minimize twisting. Head light balance is better. Softer string with lower tension (50 - 55 lb) should help absorbing shocks.

    Stiffness is definitely NOT good for TE.

    Elbow brace can alleviate pain during hitting.

    Stretching and putting ice pack on your arm may help healing. Good luck.
     
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  3. Tina

    Tina Banned

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    I just purchased a package of Dampener. Does that help reduce the amount of vibration to avoid tennis elbow. Thanks. -Tina
     
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  4. tennis005

    tennis005 Professional

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    Vibration dampeners only get rid of the ping sound the racket makes when you hit a ball without one. They really don't help prevent TE.
     
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  5. Tina

    Tina Banned

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    Thanks. I see. -Tina
     
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  6. Virginia

    Virginia Hall of Fame

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    One of the best racquets for tennis elbow sufferers or those who want to be sure not to get it, is the Prince Vortex. No longer produced unfortunately, but they crop up fairly regularly on the Bay.

    Never use kevlar or any polyster string - good old Prince Synthetic is as good as any, though there are other soft strings like Leoina 66, which are also good.

    There are quite a few threads on T-W on this subject, but from my experience, they tend to confuse rather than help, as everyone has their pet theory. :)

    There are also a few current Pro Kennex racquets that are good - I think it's the 5G that's best. Bud or someone else will confirm that for you.
     
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  7. mikeler

    mikeler G.O.A.T.

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    ....................
     
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  8. matchmaker

    matchmaker Hall of Fame

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    1. Stiff racquets certainly can worsen TE, but the RA ratings are measured over the whole frame and do not tell you where the racquet flexes. I would say that you need at least a sub 67 RA racquet. But more important is the swingweight and the static weight. Heavier racquets transmit less shock to the arms, less twist and torque. They do the work for you, you just have to be there on time.
    2. Generally syn guts and multis are way better than polys and certainly kevlar strings. But again, one should not overgeneralize. Certain polys in certain racquets are tolerable for me.
    3. Dunlops and Tretorns tend to be heavier than Penns. The hardcourt Penn balls are both quite easy on the arm and last longer than the claycourt Penn balls.
    4. For me, it did not do a thing except giving the impression during play it hurts less, untill I took it off and it actually hurt a lot more.
    5. Rest, rest, rest, at least for a week and at the slightest twinge of pain stop playing. When you feel pain and continue, you are destroying your elbow.
     
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  9. pshulam

    pshulam Hall of Fame

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    Is the flex of the hoop most important?
     
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  10. pshulam

    pshulam Hall of Fame

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    Racquet Research ranked the Kinetic Pro 5g as one of best for arm/shoulder safety in 2002.
     
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  11. jbleiman

    jbleiman Rookie

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    the racquet that has helped me the most for tennis elbow is one that few would conside...it goes against all conventional wisdom that people subscribe to about the best racquets for t.e.....it is the wilson n3
     
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  12. matchmaker

    matchmaker Hall of Fame

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    I have that impression. If the hoop is too stiff I start to feel it in my elbow.

    There does not have to be a big flex in the hoop a la C10 pro, but a little flex there seems to absorb the unwanted vibrations in the frame.
     
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  13. MichaelChang

    MichaelChang Hall of Fame

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    1. Stiffer rackets are worse for your elbow. Flexier/heavier rackets are better. also if you use a mid and mishit a lot, try use oversize or midplus which at least will make you hit more balls on the stringbed rather than on the frame.
    2. avoid poly strings. use guts if you can afford. and string your rackets in lower tension rather than high tension.
    3. not really.
    4. elbow support bands may help but it does not solve the fundamental problem. The problem is the vibrations hurting your elbow. you should also use vibration dampeners on the racket.
    5. play less. do not play through pain.
     
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  14. matchmaker

    matchmaker Hall of Fame

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    You see: different strokes for different folks. The one racquet that helped me is a vintage mid. I get TE mainly from serving. For some reason, serving with any midplus will end up in TE for me. With heavy mids though I can play without pain.

    I have the impression the trampoline effect and weighting of a midplus, with the weight further from the center of percussion, lead to more pronation on the serve which brings the tendon under immense stress, because it has to absorb the shock of the serve in the most stretched position.

    A mid seems to be more compact and when I serve it seems I have to overextend less.

    Anyway, for me that has been the solution, but for others, other solutions might apply.
     
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  15. pshulam

    pshulam Hall of Fame

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    I heard that vibration dampers only dampen the sound but not vibration. It's kind of confusing.
     
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  16. pshulam

    pshulam Hall of Fame

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    I am glad that the Wilson N3 works best for your TE. Which racquets did you try that didn't do much for you?
     
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  17. hacobian

    hacobian New User

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    Thank you everyone for the helpful comments.
     
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  18. jbleiman

    jbleiman Rookie

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    i tried some of the racquets most people say work best....prokennex 5g,several low flex fischers etc...all using syn gut at lower tensions...but the n3 worked best
     
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  19. pshulam

    pshulam Hall of Fame

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    It's plausible the N3 is okay since it has a stiffness rating of 47 (very flexible) and a swing weight of 328.
     
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  20. Don't Let It Bounce

    Don't Let It Bounce Hall of Fame

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    Not much to add to the helpful replies already given...

    2. I'll work on my technique but

    Don't underestimate this one. As a 19-yr-old, with a teenager's titanium joints, acute lateral epicondylitis (TE with sharp pain) came a-knockin' with a vengeance on every backhand hit with a Prince Graphite Comp. (Note that we're talking about a racquet that modern elbows have wet dreams about.) I switched to a 2HBH for a few weeks so I wouldn't have to quit, improved my 1HBH, and went on to play without pain for 20 years, including a decade and a half with too-light Hammers that make elbows cry.

    does switching to a particular string type really help?

    Already answered well, but I'll add that the difference between natural gut and everything else is HUGE. Go here and click on column 4 to sort strings in order of how they treat your arm (and, coincidentally, how they keep their tension). And, though you probably already know it, any given string can be made more arm-friendly by stringing at a lower tension.

    3.Do particular balls help?

    Dunlop, despite its reputation for hard balls ("Dunrocks" made me snort, BTW), makes a brand called "Absorberz" that is supposed to transmit 10-15% less shock to string/racquet/arm.

    5. Finally, what else can i do to accelerate the healing and play again next week?

    You may have to choose between the two. An arm band will probably reduce pain enough to let you play but will slow down the healing.

    Virginia mentioned the Vortex, which along with nat gut is the direction I went when the Hammer Years finally caught up with me. The Dunlop Max 200G and its injection-molded relatives reduce shock in a similar way (a way not shared by any modern frame), but it is harder to find an affordable one.
     
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  21. Virginia

    Virginia Hall of Fame

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    I didn't mention it above, but for me, the ultimate arm friendly racquet is the Chris (probably any model, but particularly the Competition and Avenger, because they contain S2 fiberglass - 20% in the case of the Competition and 50% in the Avenger). Another model is 100% graphite and the top (most expensive) model has boron as well, so they won't be as flexible as the other two.

    They don't come up that often and when they do, I usually snaffle them up! I have three Competitions, one of which has never been strung and three brand new Avengers. :evil:
     
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  22. athiker

    athiker Hall of Fame

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    An arm band is designed to move the stress point from the tendon down the forearm and more in the muscle. It seems to help, but I occasionally would then have tenderness in the top forearm muscle after a solid hitting session! So besides correcting technique (the most important thing IMHO), you will probably need to strengthen your forearm muscles. Exercises can be found on youtube, etc using a hammer or other weight. Flexbars are popular right now too. I use both a mini sledge hammer and the "tyler twist" using a flexbar. Google flexbar, tennis elbow and NY Times blog for info.

    Icing after use seems to help keep the pain down for the next day. Try to just ice the inflamed area, not the whole arm/forearm. I would hold a baggie of ice & water on it or dip in a bowl of water with ice cubes.

    Using too much arm instead of shoulder on my 1HBH was killer for me and if I hit the ball late instead of out in front, that was brutal. I really try to get my shoulder turned to bring the racket back and ready in prep for my bh now.

    It is usually not a quick heal. Several guys in my tennis group got it bad. It happened within the first year of returning to the game after a long layoff. We were also demoing various rackets. Its taken all of us a long time to to heal trying various things. Mine is nearly gone now. I managed to keep playing for the most part, but it was tough at times. Finally the pain started tapering off, probably due to strengthening, technique and less playing time during the winter. Now that most of the inflammation is gone, there is still a bit, I'm still exercising it and also doing some tendon massage along the tendon/muscle (with the grain so to speak) in hopes that it will completely heal smoothly.

    Good luck, I hate to say it but if you keep playing without changing anything it will probably get worse before it gets better so its good you are seeking out things to try.
     
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2010
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  23. mikeler

    mikeler G.O.A.T.

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    This is all great info. The flexbar looks like a "too easy to be true" kind of thing, but it really does help.
     
    #23
  24. Ross K

    Ross K Legend

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    Post in 'health & fitness'... lots of very knowledgable posters who can really help and give benefit of experience.

    BTW I'm considering using a 'smartsorb' dampener which was heavily recommended to me as a shock absorber (i really don't like the look of it thb, but if the situation is serious enough, you'd obviously have to ignore such considerations.)

    R.
     
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  25. pshulam

    pshulam Hall of Fame

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    ^^I use a rubber band as a damper.
     
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  26. jimanuel12

    jimanuel12 Semi-Pro

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    what worked for me

    STIFFNESS IS NOT GOOD FOR TE!!!
    String dampeners do help reduce the vibration of the strings

    the kennex 5G and fischer m pro 105 are good rackets for TE
    ice on the arm
    stretching exercises help too
    see a doctor if the pain does not go away on its own
     
    #26
  27. Virginia

    Virginia Hall of Fame

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    Actually string dampeners do nothing at all to reduce vibration.

    After 8 months or so of not being able to play tennis last year, the fitness consultant I went to, finally got me "cured" with special exercise sessions. She'd been a pro tennis player herself and her treatment program was unique.

    She told me to start playing again immediately (being careful of couorse) and to always wear an elbow support. She also said that ice treatment was NOT advised for elbow injuries. Radical I know, but she got me back on the court, after a physio and two sports physicians had failed to make any difference.

    The flexbar sounds like something she would endorse, so I'll tell her about it and see what she thinks.
     
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  28. pshulam

    pshulam Hall of Fame

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    That's what I have heard, but it does change the sound on contact.

    I am considering buying one.
     
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  29. mikeler

    mikeler G.O.A.T.

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    Absolutely buy a flexbar. Just make sure you get the correct amount of resistance. You may want to consider picking up all 3.
     
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  30. BigHitterSE

    BigHitterSE Rookie

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    A 3.5 player should look at the ProKennex Ki15, Ki15PSE, or Ki20PSE.
     
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  31. Tina

    Tina Banned

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    Me too, I will buy a flexbar.
     
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  32. Virginia

    Virginia Hall of Fame

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    I'm going to get the medium weight to start with and move on to the heavier one later.
     
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  33. mikeler

    mikeler G.O.A.T.

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    I think the flexbar exercise for Tennis Elbow (TE) takes more strength than the Golfer's Elbow (GE) exercise. I'm having no problem with the largest flexbar (blue) for my GE. Just Google Tyler Twist for TE and Reverse Tyler Twist for GE.
     
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  34. jimanuel12

    jimanuel12 Semi-Pro

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    it seems everyone has an opinion on this, but i disagree, i feel they DO reduce some of the string vibration and therefore reduces the amount of vibration to your arm.

    http://www.doittennis.com/buyers-guides/racquetfaq.php#tenniselbow

    but everyone to his/her own, that's cool
     
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  35. Virginia

    Virginia Hall of Fame

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    When you consider the miniscule weight of the dampener, compared to the force and velocity of the ball hitting the strings, it doesn't seem likely it would make any appreciable difference. It does however mute the sound of the strings and that seems to give the impression of less impact.
     
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  36. jimanuel12

    jimanuel12 Semi-Pro

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    what do i know, i have only been playing tennis since 1967.
    that makes me a classic!!!!
     
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  37. Virginia

    Virginia Hall of Fame

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    One school of thought...

    It's been clearly demonstrated by several competent authorities that dampeners do nothing to reduce shock to the arm. Simple physics proves it.
     
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  38. pshulam

    pshulam Hall of Fame

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    Here is another study to support that.
    Title:
    String vibration dampers do not reduce racket frame vibration transfer to the forearm
    Authors: F-X Li a; D. Fewtrell b; M. Jenkins b

     
    #38
  39. Tina

    Tina Banned

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    How about use a rubber band instead?
     
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  40. Virginia

    Virginia Hall of Fame

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    Same effect - but cheaper! That's what Agassi used. :)
     
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  41. pshulam

    pshulam Hall of Fame

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    That's what I used also. It does the same thing at a friction of the cost.
     
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  42. jimbo333

    jimbo333 Hall of Fame

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    It's seems to logically make no sense, but I also find that using string dampners reduces vibrations in the racquet and the arm!

    I know they shouldn't make any difference, but for me and some others they do seem to!

    It is probably all in my head, but dampners do seem to work for me:)
     
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  43. jimbo333

    jimbo333 Hall of Fame

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    That CHRIS racquet I used really was surprisingly excellent!

    I was really impressed with it:)
     
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