My new tennis elbow plan (long)

Discussion in 'Health & Fitness' started by flydog21, Sep 14, 2004.

  1. flydog21

    flydog21 New User

    Sep 4, 2004
    Well it’s really Golfer’s elbow (medial) but is the result of tennis. Here is the background:

    First, I am 58 years old, USTA league level 3.5 on a good day, have been playing tennis a really long time. Never had any issue with tennis elbow until recently. I have determined the cause was acute injury and was from trying teach myself how to “kick serve. I am now aware of the lunacy of this endeavor for someone at my age.

    I have now been struggling with this condition for nearly two years. Went through multiple Orthopedic and Sports docs, several phys therapists, multiple cortisone shots, many different treatment options and listened to all kinds of goofy opinions. Purchased two PK Pro 5G sticks and my own stringing machine. All to no avail. Got so sensitive I had to stop playing for a year. Hit racquetballs and pickleballs during this time with no problems. The condition slowly got better and I recently started tennis again. Got a flare up immediately and have decided on the following course of action.

    Following consultation with a new phys therapist, I have discontinued any ice treatments or NSAIDs. This is based on some research that indicates chronic tendonitis does not respond to these treatments and they may be detrimental to healing blood flow. Instead, I am on a high rep (over 100), low weight exercise program that is intended to irritate the tendon slightly to promote blood flow. This includes deep massage and aggressive stretching.

    I noticed that when I started playing again, the most painful situation was when I was at the net and had to quickly react to a forehand volley. Second most painful was returning hard forehand ground strokes. So I though about what the difference is with R-ball racquets and tennis racquets. I’m thinking the there is something about the length, weight, and tension that I can play around with.

    I am probably a lunatic, but I decided to park the current sticks, then purchased two PK 5G junior racquets from TW. They are 26 inches long instead of 27, and are 20 percent fiberglass. I built up the handle to my size which resulted in a racquet weight of over 11 ounces which is very head light. They are strung at only 50 pounds using various “comfort” strings. I might try some gut next. Also, I found that the type of overgrip has a large effect on how tightly I have to grip the handle, which contributes to the pain level. Items like Wilson’s H2O grip are way too slippery and caused me a lot of problems. I have started using some kind of Kirschbaum that is very tacky and much better. I have a variety of weights that I am experimenting with, adding to the hoop to see if swing weight has any effect. There has been a positive effect on the side, which is that I have to watch the ball intently in order to hit it in the lower and shorter sweet spot. This concentration has resulted in the most reliable ground strokes ever.

    Have never read anything about trying a shorter stick as a way to reduce pain so here it is.
    Plus, way lower tension and careful choice of overgrip. I would be interested in any comments, experience, suggestions, or directions to the local asylum. Will continue to post as the experiment goes along unless someone tells me to shut up.
  2. BSousa

    BSousa Rookie

    Jul 5, 2004

    Do keep us (or at least me posted).

    I have (had ?) tennis elbow for a while and I decided to stop for a month. This completly healed it, until I picked up a racquet again and it started to hurt again, but thankfully, not as much. I got prescribed NSAIDs but I refused to take them (only way I take medicine is if I'm dying or something, otherwise, I won't :shock: ).

    I've found out that low weight exercises seemed to be the best to my elbow. These were the ones found on most tennis elbow help sites. Care to share some of your own?

    About those PK 5G sticks, you interested in selling them ? :)

    I think the reason the forehand volleys hurt more is because a) you're not used to hit forehand slices (volleys) as in the backhand, and because volleys, usually put more stress on your hand since the ball is at higher speeds. Also, it may seem odd, but you thought of changing to a 2 handed forehand? I started playing tennis with a 2 hd forehand, and then switched to one handed. When my elbow started to hurt, I tried 2 handed again and it seemed to help, alot. Shame my tennis was a bit worse, but pain was easier to sustain.

    I use the Cat 10 with Volk SuperOvergrip (or something like that). I like the overgrip ALOT. It absorves sweat well and it isn't slippery. I've found the H2Overgrip a decent grip, but it caused me finger air bubbles (??). I would stay away from Prince Duratac if I were you since these seem to be the ones I feel pain in the elbow more.

    In any case, good luck
  3. flydog21

    flydog21 New User

    Sep 4, 2004
    Thanks for the response Bruno.

    The pain with forehand volleys happens before the ball is struck. The quick motion of moving the racquet from in front to the side and stopping it quickly seems to be the irritant. That's why I think a shorter, lighter racquet might be less stressful.

    I had never considered a two handed forehand by golly. I just might give that a try and report back. Thanks for the tip!

    Regarding the two Pro 5G racquets, I intend to keep them for a while and hope that I get some healing accomplished. Then I can take them for a ride again.

    Just came from the Phys Ther this morning. He gave me some "tracking" excercised to do so I now have another complicating factor. He suggested I may have to stop playing for a month or so in order to determine what is helping and what is hurting. Not good news. Yikes!
  4. hifi heretic

    hifi heretic Rookie

    Mar 30, 2004
    I agree......

    Fly dog,

    ..I too have endured for quite some time with tennis elbow and finally decided that I was tired of interminable breaks from playing, unending equipment tweaking, braces, salves, cortisone shots, prolotherapy shots, etc.. and elected to finally have it fixed. I had an "epidcondular release and debreedment of the elbow" done by arthroscope three weeks ago by a doc at the Univ. of Pennsylvania. I already have less pain than I did the day before the surgery! I had the same procedure done through open surgery on my left elbow two-years ago. ..Recovery was much much slower. Can't say for sure (sample size of one!) that chosing to have it done by arthroscope was the difference, but it sure seems to make sense as it was a much less invasive procedure.

    And I also have heard from more than a few sources that NSAIDs and Ice are to be avoided in the case of tennis elbow. TE is NOT tendonitits (chronic swelling), but rather is more aptly described as tendonosis which is a fraying and deterioration of the tendon. NSAIDs and Ice work against the healing process in connective-tissue injuries as they tend to reduce blood flow to a tissue that is already somewhat blood-deprived. ...Fresh blood to the injured area is necessary as it delivers the building blocks for new, healthy tissue. NSAIDs and Ice are appropriate for muscle tears where the swelling is so profuse that it is counterproductive to the healing process.

    I agree with your comment about forehand volleys. ..If you think about it, the muscles involved in moving a racquet from the neutral (out front) position to the ready position of a forehand are the same muscles (tendons, etc...) used in hitting a backhand. And if - as many here and at argue - you chose to play with a really heavy stick (or long!), there is more force needed to accelerate and decelerate the racquet.

    My advice... If you've been battling the problem this long AND you have exhausted every imaginable conservative treatment (rest, cortisone shots, raquet switches, physical therapy..etc..), it may be time to think about surgery.

    In my case, the doctor excised a half-inch length of tendon (right at the insertion point) that was so frayed and battered that it would have never properly healed - regardless of how much time off. ..Just three weeks after surgery I'm alreay almost completely pain-free. The doc. says that I can return to play Dec. 1st or even sooner. ..BTW, I'm 40 years old.

    Lastly, the doctor feels that the reason why I developed this in both elbows is quite possibly due to bad typing posture!! ..Tennis and golf simply brought it to a head. I've quit typing on a laptop and am now using one of those ugly orthopaedic, ergonically-correct keyboards.
  5. flydog21

    flydog21 New User

    Sep 4, 2004

    Thanks for the comments! Tendonosis is the probable diagnosis here as well, although a tracking issue has not been ruled out. My latest Ortho (a sports Ortho too!) stated that I am not a good candidate for surgery, but I may look for another opinion. For the next four weeks, I am planning to do the excercises recommended and play with the short racquet. At the end of the four weeks, I may ask for a referral for another opinion if there is no improvement. I will post the results of the short racquet test as it seems like a somewhat unusual approach.

    Regards and thanks to all who responded.
  6. lanky

    lanky Rookie

    Mar 11, 2004
    I have had tennis elbow -lateral epicondylitis. I have virtually cured it by learning a double handed backhand and like yourself effectivelyshortening the stick. I bought 5g strung low tension soft string and deliberately moved my hand up the grip.I now effectively play with a 26 inch 5G. I regrip right the way up to the top of the neck of the racquet so my top hand can get on.I found from trial and error that holding racquet further up the grip helped the stress on the wrist and elbow-presumably reduces swing weight 10-20 pts. nobody has even noticed the way i hold the racquet so it cant appear extreme only when they see the very long grip do i get comments.Also more control less power.
  7. JGR

    JGR Guest

    Long story made short. Had bad tennis elbow. Took NSAIDs, cortisone injections, iced religiously, and tried PT. Laid off tennis for three months. The TE was actually getting worse.

    I read that NSAIDs and ice were bad for TE. I stopped both. I have a three pound dumb bell in my car. Lots of curls and reverse curls.

    Also, went to standard length racquets (Volkl V1 Classics) from PK 7Gs. In my opinion, the Volkl's are much better on my arm.

    I am playing with virtually no pain.

    Oh, by the way, my orthopaedist thinks it's just coincidence that I'm well. He says PT, ice and NSAIDs are the answer.
  8. paulfreda

    paulfreda Hall of Fame

    Oct 3, 2004
    Bangkok, Thailand

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