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-   -   Can a certain racket really help protect against tennis elbow/shoulder ? (http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=435265)

TimeToPlaySets 08-07-2012 08:07 AM

Can a certain racket really help protect against tennis elbow/shoulder ?
 
I have seen this mentioned a few timers in the forum.

I always used to dismiss "tennis elbow" as a kid in the 80s. I never got it, and would play 5 hours at a stretch.

Getting back into it, now I'm at the age where I can get little nagging issues. And, I hit harder than ever.

What types of rackets are bad for this? Which save your joints?
Is it the one's with extra dampeners? Cortex?

So, if Babolat's Cortex DOES absorbs some shock away from your own joints,
I can get on board with that. At 3.0, I am not good enough to need the more subtle feel.

The purist might not like Cortex, but for a weekend warrior, Cortex and others are probably a good risk/reward or cost/benefit proposition. Right?

Or, is it all BS?

SystemicAnomaly 08-08-2012 02:22 AM


The Cortex system is designed to reduce harmful frame shock & vibrations from reaching the arm (shoulder, elbow, wrist). While the system may very well do this to some extent, I'm not certain that it does it well enough to qualify any of the Babolat frames as arm-friendly. Many of Babolat's frames are considered to be a bit harsh by some/many users. There appears to be 2 versions of the Cortex system. The system pictured on the right (above), is used in the "Pure" series. The Cortex version shown on the left, is used in other Babolat frames.

There are quite a few threads in the Racquet forum that discuss racquets that are considered to be arm-friendly frames by users. The ones that are at the top of my list are the following:

Volkl V1 Classic
Prince O3 Hybrid Shark (MP)
Prince ExO3 100 (both versions ok, tho the 16x18 might be slightly better)
ProKennex (various frames in the Kinetic and Ionic series)

Other possibilities to consider:

Prince ExO3 Rebel 95
Volkl Organix V1 (MP ok, OS?)
Volkl DNX 10 (MP)
Volkl PowerBridge 10 (MP)
ProKennex Ki Q series
Boris Becker Delta Core London
Pacific (formerly Fischer; various frames0
Donnay (various frames)

Here are a few links for more ideas on this subject. The Babolat Pure Storm Ltd GT is listed in a secondary group. Ironically, I don't believe that any of the Babolat frames mentioned in the 2nd and 3rd groups use the Cortex system (NO Babolat frames appear in the top arm-friendly group).

http://ggtennis.wordpress.com/2010/04/25/arm-friendly-tennis-racquets
http://www.racquetresearch.com

Say Chi Sin Lo 08-08-2012 02:35 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by TimeToPlaySets (Post 6789125)
I have seen this mentioned a few timers in the forum.

I always used to dismiss "tennis elbow" as a kid in the 80s. I never got it, and would play 5 hours at a stretch.

Getting back into it, now I'm at the age where I can get little nagging issues. And, I hit harder than ever.

What types of rackets are bad for this? Which save your joints?
Is it the one's with extra dampeners? Cortex?

So, if Babolat's Cortex DOES absorbs some shock away from your own joints,
I can get on board with that. At 3.5, I am not good enough to need the more subtle feel.

The purist might not like Cortex, but for a weekend warrior, Cortex and others are probably a good risk/reward or cost/benefit proposition. Right?

Or, is it all BS?

I call BS on those Cortex thingies. Even the ad uses the word "vibration." But it's shock that you want to avoid, not vibration. I don't think any one frame can cause tennis elbow. But, I think certain types of frames can accelerate the onset of tennis elbow due to bad technique/fitness.

Stiffer frames will transmit more shock to the arm. Rubber gimmicks do nothing on shock.

Ramon 08-08-2012 03:40 AM

I can tell you from personal experience, that my Babolat Cortex frames did not help my elbow one bit. The frames I owned were the Aero Storm Tour GT and the AeroPro Drive GT, both of which had the Cortex system designed to dampen the most vibration. There are numerous posts on this board from people who had arm problems with Babolat Cortex frames.

After I switched to the Pro Kennex Ki 5x, my elbow improved and my game improved, largely because I was free to swing away like I did when I was younger. The arm-friendliest racquets I tried were:

Prince EXO3 Tour 100 (most comfortable)
Volkyl Organix 10 325 (next most comfortable)
Pacific X Force Pro
Pro Kennex Ki 5, Ki 5x, and Ki 5 PSE

I suspect that the other racquets in SystemicAnomaly's list are arm-friendly as well. The Ki 5x was actually the least comfortable of all the racquets on the list that I tested, but it fit my game the best, and it was certainly much easier on my arm than the Babolat Cortex racquets I owned.

SystemicAnomaly 08-08-2012 04:33 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Say Chi Sin Lo (Post 6790811)
I call BS on those Cortex thingies. Even the ad uses the word "vibration." But it's shock that you want to avoid, not vibration. I don't think any one frame can cause tennis elbow. But, I think certain types of frames can accelerate the onset of tennis elbow due to bad technique/fitness.

Stiffer frames will transmit more shock to the arm. Rubber gimmicks do nothing on shock.

It is true the string dampeners will reduce some string vibrations but will do nothing about frame shock. I suspect that the version of the Cortex system that maximizes comfort may reduce a little bit of frame shock in addition to reducing frame vibrations.

For a couple of years (nearly 10 yrs ago), I was using a very light racquet (under 10 oz). I believe that this racquet delivered quite a bit of shock to my arm and resulted in shoulder damage to my arm. Very light frames, in general, tend to produce more shock than heavier ones. Best to go with the heaviest frame that is comfortable for your arm.

Frame shock is related to shoulder crunch, elbow crunch & wrist crunch. Some racquets deliver quite a bit more of this shock to the arm than others.

http://www.racquetresearch.com/sevencri.htm#Shock
http://www.racquetresearch.com/seven...houlder Crunch

In general, stiffer frames tend to produce more shock than more flexible ones. However, this is not really the best criteria for determining the shock delivered to the arm. The Volkl V1 Classic has a rather high stiffness rating (~69) but is considered by many to be the most arm-friendly racquet on the market. OTOH, a number of users have reported some racquets with very low stiffness ratings (~50-60) that were not arm-friendly at all.

TennisCJC 08-08-2012 07:06 AM

Yes, rackets and strings can help prevent or ease elbow pain. But, if you have an inflamed and hurting elbow, you need to rest it for about 30 days.

Volkl rackets in general are excellent for comfort and reducing vibrations. Pro Kinnex too.

Soft strings and lower tensions like gut or multis in the 50-55 lb range can help too. Poly should be strung low 40-52 lbs for comfort. You can still bet plenty of control and tension from poly at these tensions

Ramon 08-08-2012 07:39 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by TennisCJC (Post 6791172)
Soft strings and lower tensions like gut or multis in the 50-55 lb range can help too. Poly should be strung low 40-52 lbs for comfort. You can still bet plenty of control and tension from poly at these tensions

If you have elbow problems, I would suggest avoiding poly altogether, at least until your elbow fully heals. I've tried poly as low as 35 pounds. I've tried hybrids with poly in the mains and poly in the crosses. I've tried co-polys that were supposed to be softer and longer lasting than older polys. No matter how I string it, poly feels ok for about 3-5 hours, then when it loses elasticity that's when my elbow feels it. I have a sensitive arm, and in my experience, gut or a soft multifilament between 50-60 pounds is much better for your arm than poly at any tension.

LuckyR 08-08-2012 11:59 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by TimeToPlaySets (Post 6789125)
I have seen this mentioned a few timers in the forum.

I always used to dismiss "tennis elbow" as a kid in the 80s. I never got it, and would play 5 hours at a stretch.

Getting back into it, now I'm at the age where I can get little nagging issues. And, I hit harder than ever.

What types of rackets are bad for this? Which save your joints?
Is it the one's with extra dampeners? Cortex?

So, if Babolat's Cortex DOES absorbs some shock away from your own joints,
I can get on board with that. At 3.5, I am not good enough to need the more subtle feel.

The purist might not like Cortex, but for a weekend warrior, Cortex and others are probably a good risk/reward or cost/benefit proposition. Right?

Or, is it all BS?


A lot of issues.

First, racquets and strings (not to mention gadgets and doodads) do not improve TE. Tennis by it's nature is tough on elbows. Certain setups are less stressful, others are more stress on the elbow, but not playing tennis is the only way to improve TE. The goal is to be able to play tennis and keep the stress level below the threshold for causing pain.

Soft strngs, low tensions, flexible heavy yet headlight sticks are optimal.

Dampeners do nothing for TE.

Various racquet tech (beyond weight, balance and flexibility) may or may not help but my guess is their influence, if it exists at all, is minor compared to the above stats.

Stroke mechanics and time spent playing the game are probably the other big factors.

floridatennisdude 08-08-2012 12:00 PM

Yes, a racket can decrease the likelihood of TE. However, there isn't a one-fits-all frame that can do it. Each person's swing speed and technique are very unique.

As others have eluded to, there is an amount of shock when racket meets ball. Dampeners and cortex technology don't alleviate shock...they simply lessen the sensation of vibration.

The only formula I have found for finding a racket that is "arm friendly" is trial and error. Some folks need a very heavy and very stiff frame. The other extreme is folks that prefer very light and flexible frames. The goal should be to find (by trial and error) the heaviest and stiffest frame that you can play with. Problem is that what I consider heavy, the next guy thinks is light.

TimeToPlaySets 08-09-2012 05:38 AM

A lot of talk about proper form.
Can someone explain what exactly is the BAD way to swing that causes TE?
Excessive wristy top spin?

BORISK 08-09-2012 05:54 AM

Can someone explain what exactly is the BAD way to swing that causes TE?

Too close to your body.

Ramon 08-09-2012 06:06 AM

FYI...Pro Kennex makes some pretty bold claims that their Kinetic technology is the only one proven by independent scientific research to reduce shock and vibration. Here's a video that explains it:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZHjny9jjTHQ

I know you have to take the information with a grain of salt when you hear it from a Pro Kennex rep, but the difference I noticed between the Ki 5x and the Babolat APDGT over a period of a few weeks was astounding.

Also, this is not meant to take away from the other racquets I mentioned in my previous post, which actually felt more comfortable than the Ki 5x. I probably would have noticed big improvements in my elbow with any of those racquets.

LuckyR 08-09-2012 08:18 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by TimeToPlaySets (Post 6793265)
A lot of talk about proper form.
Can someone explain what exactly is the BAD way to swing that causes TE?
Excessive wristy top spin?

A slappy one handed BH (since the tendon strain that is TE is the one strained by the BH, the one strained by FHs causes Golfer's elbow, not TE).

usta2050 08-09-2012 09:25 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ramon (Post 6790877)
I can tell you from personal experience, that my Babolat Cortex frames did not help my elbow one bit. The frames I owned were the Aero Storm Tour GT and the AeroPro Drive GT, both of which had the Cortex system designed to dampen the most vibration. There are numerous posts on this board from people who had arm problems with Babolat Cortex frames.

After I switched to the Pro Kennex Ki 5x, my elbow improved and my game improved, largely because I was free to swing away like I did when I was younger. The arm-friendliest racquets I tried were:

Prince EXO3 Tour 100 (most comfortable)
Volkyl Organix 10 325 (next most comfortable)
Pacific X Force Pro
Pro Kennex Ki 5, Ki 5x, and Ki 5 PSE

I suspect that the other racquets in SystemicAnomaly's list are arm-friendly as well. The Ki 5x was actually the least comfortable of all the racquets on the list that I tested, but it fit my game the best, and it was certainly much easier on my arm than the Babolat Cortex racquets I owned.


+1, cortex is a marketing gimmick.

SystemicAnomaly 08-10-2012 01:18 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by usta2050 (Post 6793825)
+1, cortex is a marketing gimmick.

Not too certain about that. As the TW racquet (technology) reviews mention, there are 2 versions of the Cortex technology used in Babolat raquets. One of these might have some effect on frame vibration and perhaps only a marginal effect, if any, on shock. The other version may very well have a greater effect -- it may very well offer some moderate dampening and isolation.

Babolat racquets seem to have a reputation for being arm-hostile (unfriendly). However, from TW tester reviews it appears that some of the Babolat frames have very good comfort ratings. Even so, I would not suggest most, if any, Babolat racquets to someone seeking an arm-friendly frame.

Ramon 08-10-2012 03:52 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by SystemicAnomaly (Post 6797175)
Not too certain about that. As the TW racquet (technology) reviews mention, there are 2 versions of the Cortex technology used in Babolat raquets. One of these might have some effect on frame vibration and perhaps only a marginal effect, if any, on shock. The other version may very well have a greater effect -- it may very well offer some moderate dampening and isolation.

Babolat racquets seem to have a reputation for being arm-hostile (unfriendly). However, from TW tester reviews it appears that some of the Babolat frames have very good comfort ratings. Even so, I would not suggest most, if any, Babolat racquets to someone seeking an arm-friendly frame.

I think there are now 3 Cortex systems that you'll commonly find today in Babolat racquets. These are the 2 older systems:

The one on the left is found in the Aero series of racquets and is supposed to be the more comfortable version of the two. The one on the right is on the previous (pre-2012) Pure Drive and filters out less vibrations to give more feel (probably due to complaints about earlier PD's having a hollow feel).

The newest Cortex system is the Active Cortex on the 2012 Pure Drive.

Unfortunately, the description of the new technology on TW and Babolat's websites are vague. It reminds me of when a company says "new and improved". Sometimes there's truth to it, and sometimes it's nothing more than a marketing gimmick or even an excuse to make a change that lowers manufacturing costs. If anyone knows anything about the new Active Cortex, feel free to chime in.

In my personal experience with the Aero Storm Tour GT and AeroPro Drive GT, I found both frames to be harsh on the elbow. Both of them have what is supposedly the more comfortable version of the original Cortex system. Judging by the abundance of posts associating the ADPGT and PD to tennis elbow, it seems I'm not alone in thinking that these particular models are not good for players with elbow problems.

stringertom 08-14-2012 05:23 PM

The laws of physics cannot be ignored...lighter objects vibrate more when an equal force is applied to them. Ergo, play with as heavy a racquet as you can to generate needed racquethead speed to impart spin. Likewise, hollow objects vibrate more than solid items. Ergo, stay away from wider profile frames...they have much more "open" space inside the racquethead. If you choose Babolat, the Pure Storms are gonna be better but not ideal.

One thing I've found is my arm usually only hurts from off-center hits. If your skill level is such you can play with a smaller head, denser pattern, straightish beam (22mm or less), then choose a soft, thin, playable string (no polys) at moderate to low tensions and restring frequently. That should keep the Advil in the medicine chest.

If you want a new stick, try the aforementioned Pro Kennex Kinetics...the lower numbers in the series will work best. Also, Yonex' isometric head shape makes for a bigger sweetspot, resulting in less jarring ball impact.

TimeToPlaySets 09-22-2012 09:33 AM

My brother swears by this tennis elbow strap. Does anyone else feel these things help? Or just more placebo marketing snake oil?

http://tinyurl.com/8nodd3h

TimeToPlaySets 09-22-2012 10:42 AM

delete delete

TimeToPlaySets 09-22-2012 02:49 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ramon (Post 6793322)
FYI...Pro Kennex makes some pretty bold claims that their Kinetic technology is the only one proven by independent scientific research to reduce shock and vibration. Here's a video that explains it:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZHjny9jjTHQ

.

It has free floating lead pellets inside frame which add weight to the frame via momentum. In the video, he says it’s like going from 11oz to 13oz.

This comment made me wonder what my Dunlop weighs. Lo and behold, I went to the grocery store after tennis today, and noticed a produce scale.
After loading up the trunk, I took my racket into the store and weighed it. Yea, that was awkward. .78 pounds = 12.48 ounces. So, if 13oz is good for tennis elbow, one pack of lead tape can get it over 13oz. I will do this, and demo the Pro Kennex as well.

What about the Ki5 ”PSE”? This weighs 13 ounces, instead of 11.5 ounces (Ki5) Heavier is better for the elbow, right?


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