Tennis elbow and diet?

ironaufschlag

New User
Hi TW forums.
I'm a 5.5NTRP (UTR 10.50) and have experienced tennis elbow (lateral epicondylitis) pretty much ever since I began serving over 110mph about 4 years ago. I say serving because my tennis elbow only occurs when I try to hit above 110 (max speed 128 recorded recently). I can rally forehand and backhand for hours with no arm pain.
I've tried stretching, strengthening the muscles in my body and forearm (flexbar, deadlifts etc). I've analyzed my technique in attempt fine tune my motion (looser grip, no forced deceleration). Changed rackets to the Prokennex Kinetic, used soft co-poly and hybrided with soft synth. None of this seems to matter.
The one thing that does seem to influence weather I get tennis elbow or not seems to be diet. Specifically when I consume things that are considered "inflammatory" by some. If I avoid gluten, sugar, dairy and alcohol (beer has gluten and alcohol itself is inflammatory) I can play tennis at a high level without pain. If I play a hard match and deviate from the diet with say even one beer (night after the hard match, or breads before or after a match) I can count on having an inflammatory reaction in my elbow and be in pain for days and having to ice my elbow and pop ibuprofen to control the severe pain (enough to wake me in the middle of the night).
I want to hear what the TW community has experienced in regards to tennis elbow at the competitive level. According to experts in the scientific community on tennis elbow it should be a disease of recreational tennis players.
Maybe it's a placebo effect. Maybe someone here has a better idea on how to hit hard and not get elbow pain.
Let me know!
 
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mikeler

Moderator
I don't have experience with diet impacting tennis elbow but twice in the last 15 years I have gotten nasty stomach bugs while I had TE and it cleared after I recovered from the illness. @ollinger what happened there?
 

Louis33

Rookie
Only the very beginning stage of tennis elbow involves inflammation. The actual breakdown of the tendon shows very little inflammation involved. I work in the medical field, and have finally healed my tennis elbow of 8 agonizing months of no improvement. The things that helped me recover were using graston technique (this actually produces inflammation which helps healing). Proper warmup before tennis, and changing my racket (I was using a low flex racket before) and changing strings. It also helps to do very light grip training working up very slowly to strengthen surrounding muscles. I was lifting heavy weights and grip training during the same time I got tennis elbow. I suspect this contributed to my tennis elbow.
 

dman72

Hall of Fame
Only the very beginning stage of tennis elbow involves inflammation. The actual breakdown of the tendon shows very little inflammation involved. I work in the medical field, and have finally healed my tennis elbow of 8 agonizing months of no improvement. The things that helped me recover were using graston technique (this actually produces inflammation which helps healing). Proper warmup before tennis, and changing my racket (I was using a low flex racket before) and changing strings. It also helps to do very light grip training working up very slowly to strengthen surrounding muscles. I was lifting heavy weights and grip training during the same time I got tennis elbow. I suspect this contributed to my tennis elbow.
Wait, you switched to a stiffer racquet to cure tennis elbow?
 

ironaufschlag

New User
Wait, you switched to a stiffer racquet to cure tennis elbow?
Just noticed that he wrote low flex. That is an interesting and counter-intuitive idea and one that I have discussed with an aerospace engineer. I had described my tennis elbow and the racket technology. I explained that I used a the prokennex kinetic which has a low stiffness and more flex and that I used soft strings. He said that it would make more sense from a physics standpoint to have a stiffer racket and a stiff string because less energy would then be transferred through the frame and then my arm and instead more energy would go back into the ball.
It made more sense when he explained it.
I may give this a try. However I believe that I initially obtained my tennis elbow from using the babolat pure drive and babolat hurricane tour string. Although that could be coincidence since that was about the time when I started hitting the ball harder and playing some pro events. I know that if I play recreational tennis and don't hit the ball hard on my serve that I have no elbow pain. It's only when reach speeds above 85mph on the serve that I start to feel it. And only when I hit 120mph+ during a match that I feel like my arm might fall off from the pain.
 

ByeByePoly

G.O.A.T.
Just noticed that he wrote low flex. That is an interesting and counter-intuitive idea and one that I have discussed with an aerospace engineer. I had described my tennis elbow and the racket technology. I explained that I used a the prokennex kinetic which has a low stiffness and more flex and that I used soft strings. He said that it would make more sense from a physics standpoint to have a stiffer racket and a stiff string because less energy would then be transferred through the frame and then my arm and instead more energy would go back into the ball.
It made more sense when he explained it.
I may give this a try. However I believe that I initially obtained my tennis elbow from using the babolat pure drive and babolat hurricane tour string. Although that could be coincidence since that was about the time when I started hitting the ball harder and playing some pro events. I know that if I play recreational tennis and don't hit the ball hard on my serve that I have no elbow pain. It's only when reach speeds above 85mph on the serve that I start to feel it. And only when I hit 120mph+ during a match that I feel like my arm might fall off from the pain.
Did you ever take time off for healing? I couldn't play matches (mainly serve pain, and FHs) with TE for 8 months. 5 years of RPM Blast finally bit me. I think poly is the culprit ... we played stiff racquets for years with nylon strings with no issues. Flexy racquets are an accomodation for poly imo. I would have your aerospace engineer hit poly. ;)

Find your TE/tendon threshold:

I would try a fb of multi or gut once ... and hit your serves that cause the pain. This would tell you if strings matter for your TE or not. My elbow is now fine with fb Velocity (multi), but every time I try poly again ... even soft poly like Cream only in cross, the elbow twinges come back. I think many of us don't get tendons back to 100% ... ever.

Serves might be tricep related. I use a rollerbar to massage tricep and forearm before all tennis now. Easy thing for you to try.
 
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Soul

Semi-Pro
I don't play competitively any longer. What worked for me to get rid of tennis elbow and sore knees is similar to what you mentioned. Changing my diet, largely avoiding grains helped. Additionally what helped me with tennis elbow was concentrating on keeping my wrist tight. If I bent the wrist while serving hard the tennis elbow will come back.
 

ironaufschlag

New User
Great screen name, ByeByePoly.
Yeah I had given my elbow a rest from competitive tennis for a solid 2 years. Just taught kids and fed balls for a solid year and really didn't play at all. The second year I slowly got back into it and didn't hit any serves. Once I started serving again (hybrid co-poly and a synthetic gut in cross) my TE would come back. Third year I played tennis with a guy who is a physician and he suggested I lay off the grains and dairy and see what would happen.
I'm interested that Soul seems to have a similar experience to me.
I had recently played a prize money open in South Florida and played 5+ hours of tennis in a day with no elbow pain. But then that evening I went off the diet and had some grains and I had tennis elbow for 2 weeks.
It finally went away this third week after weeks of strict diet. Today I played a match and did phenomenally well hitting hard serves and playing out of my mind. Won 6-0, 6-0. Not even a hint of tendon pain right now. Full bed Tier 1 Durafluux co-poly at 55M-53C lbs with the Prokennex Kintetic Q5X+
 

ByeByePoly

G.O.A.T.
Great screen name, ByeByePoly.
Yeah I had given my elbow a rest from competitive tennis for a solid 2 years. Just taught kids and fed balls for a solid year and really didn't play at all. The second year I slowly got back into it and didn't hit any serves. Once I started serving again (hybrid co-poly and a synthetic gut in cross) my TE would come back. Third year I played tennis with a guy who is a physician and he suggested I lay off the grains and dairy and see what would happen.
I'm interested that Soul seems to have a similar experience to me.
I had recently played a prize money open in South Florida and played 5+ hours of tennis in a day with no elbow pain. But then that evening I went off the diet and had some grains and I had tennis elbow for 2 weeks.
It finally went away this third week after weeks of strict diet. Today I played a match and did phenomenally well hitting hard serves and playing out of my mind. Won 6-0, 6-0. Not even a hint of tendon pain right now. Full bed Tier 1 Durafluux co-poly at 55M-53C lbs with the Prokennex Kintetic Q5X+
2 years ... bummer. South Florida $ open tennis ... I am impressed. My tournament singles peaked at 4.5. I guess if it isn't broke, don't fix it. If the diet works ... stick with it. Also ... if it's a big enough deal to your body that tendons feel better, you figure it's good for your health in other ways. Very interesting, I have never heard of diet and TE being related. TE still isn't well understood, so who knows?

It's still possible you have a tendon threshold that would tolerate something like gut/soft poly without diet change ... but South Florida and gut sounds expensive if you are a string breaker. Man ... I'm glad my tournament days years ago were Prince sg and not poly. I would have risked my elbow all the time if it meant winning.
 

Shroud

G.O.A.T.
2 years ... bummer. South Florida $ open tennis ... I am impressed. My tournament singles peaked at 4.5. I guess if it isn't broke, don't fix it. If the diet works ... stick with it. Also ... if it's a big enough deal to your body that tendons feel better, you figure it's good for your health in other ways. Very interesting, I have never heard of diet and TE being related. TE still isn't well understood, so who knows?

It's still possible you have a tendon threshold that would tolerate something like gut/soft poly without diet change ... but South Florida and gut sounds expensive if you are a string breaker. Man ... I'm glad my tournament days years ago were Prince sg and not poly. I would have risked my elbow all the time if it meant winning.
Well it makes sense to me. Grains can cause inflamation and well te is kind of chronic inflamation.
 

ollinger

G.O.A.T.
even one beer (night after the hard match, or breads before or after a match) I can count on having an inflammatory reaction in my elbow and be in pain for days
quite a lot of data show that low to moderate amounts of alcohol actually decrease various measures of inflammation, while the excessive amounts seen in alcoholics will increase inflammation measures.
 

Shroud

G.O.A.T.
quite a lot of data show that low to moderate amounts of alcohol actually decrease various measures of inflammation, while the excessive amounts seen in alcoholics will increase inflammation measures.
Can you link the studies? Do they qualify the type of alcohol? It could be beer and the wheat in the beer vs. alcohol itself.
 

Louis33

Rookie
Wait, you switched to a stiffer racquet to cure tennis elbow?
So when I initially started getting tennis elbow I was playing with a pro kennex copper ace. Very flexible racket, but the vibration dampening qualities weren't that great for me. I switched to a Wilson k six one tour 90. I think the Ra for this racket to be around 67? This racket always felt like it had a good amount of flex, and vibration dampening is excellent. Funny thing is I switched to a copoly at the time my elbow was the worst and it helped. I get the same amount of power with a copoly strung high 40s vs a synthetic gut at 60 pounds, and the copoly plays much softer.
 

dman72

Hall of Fame
Well 20Lbs of tension is the real point here. I use kevlar mains at 43 lbs and it plays much softer than synthetic gut at 60lbs in the same racquet. and if you use synthetic gut at 43lbs, good luck controlling the ball.

Poly at low tensions I've tried, but the vibration is maddening. I don't like using vibe dampeners. With Kevlar, the vibration is much less. I use a 70RA Prince Lightning currently. It's not as comfortable as my 63RA NXGs but it's still fine.
 

antonmartin

New User
Only the very beginning stage of tennis elbow involves inflammation. The actual breakdown of the tendon shows very little inflammation involved. I work in the medical field, and have finally healed my tennis elbow of 8 agonizing months of no improvement. The things that helped me recover were using graston technique (this actually produces inflammation which helps healing). Proper warmup before tennis, and changing my racket (I was using a low flex racket before) and changing strings. It also helps to do very light grip training working up very slowly to strengthen surrounding muscles. I was lifting heavy weights and grip training during the same time I got tennis elbow. I suspect this contributed to my tennis elbow.
what strings do you use now?
 

Mac33

Hall of Fame
I've developed a bit of a tendon injury in my elbow. I've been putting coconut oil on it around three times a day and I've noticed a large improvement almost straight away.

Google essential oils - there have have been studies done showing improvement using these as well.

If my arm issue continues I'm going to buy some organic essential oils.
 

Crocodile

Legend
For PK I would get the Q Tour 325 ( Current model) and make the grip large and string in gut.
Diet is a tricky one, because it's an individual thing for everyone. For example I know this customer of mine who went off gluten and dairy and therefore went more protein ( red meat and fish) and fats and he developed really bad arthritis ( of the gout type due to raised uric levels). He was told to go back to carbs by his doctor.
I thing the best diet for tennis is to get the balance right. For an anti inflammatory effect most recommend omega 3 foods and lots of anti oxidant fruit and vegetables. Yes straight sugar and anything processed is not great.
The debate about dairy is quite controversial. You here arguements that are very conflicting. Many health journals recommend Greek yoghurt for its gut health properties and the same goes fir gluten. Some say it makes you gain weight whereas others say that whole grains are good foods for heart health and cancer because they contain good forms of fibre. Many gluten free alternatives are more processed and high in salt.
In the end you need to balance things out. You should see a physician and perhaps consult with a tennis professional that knows how to make mechanical improvements that can fix your tennis elbow.
 
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