TE, when to start to play again

Discussion in 'Health & Fitness' started by kevint, Jul 2, 2007.

  1. kevint

    kevint New User

    Dec 19, 2005
    I am just recovering from the severe TE (GE) after a little more than a year. I got very little pain/twinge when poking around my elbow, and I am afraid I might re-injure it if I play too early. However, I have tried to play some light tennis (half an hour at a time) wearing the elbow brace, and it felt a little sore afterward. I don't think I could be able to play w/out the brace yet. (I do play w/ elbow-friendly racket with natural gut string now).

    Should I wait until the pain is completely gone or 100% normal before start playing again? Thanks for any advice.
  2. LuckyR

    LuckyR Legend

    Jun 2, 2006
    The Great NW
    This is a very interesting question. Here is my take on it and my reasoning. I recently developed GE, say about 8 weeks ago. I had had TE about 4 years ago due to poor racquet selection. A better racquet/string combo and some free weights got rid of the TE and it has never come back.

    Anyway, I had to rest the GE because it hurt so much there was no way I could play. I rested for about 4 weeks, then played an hour of singles and last week (7 weeks out) started my normal regimen.

    Sure, it hurts a twinge when warming up and on a big shot, but I don't pay any attention to it. Why? Because I figure that I have rested it enough for the tear to scar over, and we all know scar tissue is not as elastic as normal tissue, so of course there is going to be some shearing effect during use (between an elastic and nonelastic surface). This will be felt as pain, but doesn't necessarily mean there is more injury.

    This may seen a strange idea to a young individual (who is used to 100% recovery from injury), but I guess you will have to trust me that there comes a time when injuries never go back the way they were before. Kind of an adjustment of expectations, if you will.
  3. Midlife crisis

    Midlife crisis Hall of Fame

    Sep 24, 2005
    It's generally a very good idea to wait until there's no discomfort before playing again. The problem can become chronic, which in your case it sounds like it almost did become this way.

    There are some exercises that really helped me when I had this after coming back to tennis following about a 15-20 year layoff. The primary one is to hold a large hammer or monkey wrench in your hand by the end of the handle, lay your forearm on your thigh, and there rotate the hammer/wrench through 180 degrees of rotation using forearm pronation/supination. One direction of rotation will be more tender than the other, corresponding to whether you have TE or GE.

    I did this exercise (and still do to this day, two years later) for a few weeks and came back to painfree tennis.

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