Tennis Elbow despite heavy flex Racquet

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by peli_kan, Nov 15, 2009.

  1. peli_kan

    peli_kan Rookie

    Mar 30, 2009
    I'm entering week three of using the Dunlop Black Max, and for the first time in my life I'm experiencing elbow pain.

    Dunlop Black Max
    85 square inch, 370g, 8 pt. headlight, 50 flex, 45# Gosen Sheep Micro 17g

    I doubt that it's the racquets fault since the strings break before going dead. The frames themselves are also specced well, and in like new condition despite their age. The sweet spot is liquidy smooth on these Black Maxes, though whenever I swing out I can make a crunching noise, even with the ball dead center in the stringbed. I can't tell if it's sound from the strings or the frame itself. Hmmm...

    I'm posting here because I'm trying to diagnose what parts of my technique may be contributing to this problem. I have a very whippy open-stanced full western forehand that doesn't flatten out, a one handed back hand slice, and two handed backhand everything. I've had my one handed back hand looked at, and though I lead with my elbow I never use it for flat drives or topspin. The pain is most acute when I'd play a forehand after I've been hitting for a while, and eventually the pain reaches my shoulder.

    I suspect that the pain lies in the fact that I've been shanking alot lately since I'm returning from a sprained ankle, though I'm at the point where I'm not longer compensating for a weak ankle. What should I do besides pay attention to footwork, flatten my forehands, and use two handed backhands when possible?

    paulfreda - I've been playing 8-10 hours per week for a couple months. How to describe the pain... akin to running into a wall, hard, elbow and shoulder first. Deep throbbing pain at the shoulder and elbow joints, as if my arm had been held together under pressure but now allowed to decompress and pull itself apart. Lasted a good 30 minutes after play.
    papa - Yes, I've been arming the ball in more than I should. Sprained left ankle + I'm a lefty + forehand = things get sloppy.
    eagle - I'm working on a video.
    nellie - Previously I'd used the Dunlop Hotmelt 200g in my sig for a good six years, same weight and balance as the Black Max.

    From what I've gathered so far, I need to step through my forehands while using less arm, tuck my elbow in, and don't swing out with one-handed backhands. I do have natural gut on hand, they're going in hybrid with Gosen Sheep Micro next time I restring. I believe strongly that the root of my tennis elbow lies mostly in the quantity and variety of shanks I've been displaying. Every mishit yields a sickening crunching sound that's likely tearing up my tendons. Most importantly though, I'll be sitting out for a week so I can put myself back together.
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2009
  2. paulfreda

    paulfreda Hall of Fame

    Oct 3, 2004
    Bangkok, Thailand
    Where exactly is the pain.
    A doctor will ask that as his first question.

    Very unusual for a 50 flex frame strung at 45# to cause the problem.

    TE is not necessarily the result of bad technique.
    It can more often just be the result of overuse.
    Do you play more than 10 hrs per week ??
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2009
  3. papa

    papa Hall of Fame

    Jul 13, 2004
    Tennis elbow is generally caused by striking the ball wrong - using too much arm. Can be caused by other things but its the mechanics of the stroke that get players in trouble.

    You mentioned an ankle problem - maybe your not balanced throughout the stroke and trying to compensate with using too much arm.

    Give something a try. Keep both hands on the same side until the ball bounces and try to extend the non-hitting hand to the side fence. Then just try using just the twisting action in your legs opening up to provide the power. See if you can keep the arm relatively passive throughout the stroke with the wrist laid back and the arm bent at the elbow (if you can hit with a straight arm, most can't or shouldn't, than fine). Try that for a basket or two and see if that helps - it should.
  4. dozu

    dozu Banned

    Feb 19, 2004
    goodness you are getting TE with 45# string tension.... really odd.

    prolly the technique then.

    1hbh or 2hbh?
  5. eagle

    eagle Hall of Fame

    Sep 16, 2004
    Kona, Hawaii
    Peli kan,

    You might want to post a video of your strokes.

    It's difficult to give you advice without seeing your mechanics.

    A vid would help members "diagnose" your strokes.

    Be advised though that most members of the board are not trained coaches or pros, so take the diagnosis with a grain of salt.

  6. yemenmocha

    yemenmocha Professional

    Jul 29, 2006
    If you're not hitting the sweet spot then a lot of that stress is transfered to your arm. 85 sq. inch head is challenging as far as consistently hitting the sweet spot.
  7. Nellie

    Nellie Hall of Fame

    Oct 4, 2004
    Also, did you just change from a lighter racket - you will often get some elbow soreness that is not tennis elbow, when switching to a heavy racquet.
  8. MichaelChang

    MichaelChang Hall of Fame

    Aug 26, 2007
    well, how often do you hit the sweet spot with the 85sq head size? Every time you misshit, the shock goes onto your arm. These rackets are heavy and flex, it does help you, but overall you want to avoid any shocks, thus if you find yourself mishit over 10% you should get a bigger head size. There are heave/flex rackets in bigger sizes. In that regard I could recommend the older POG oversize.

    And since your are in pain right now, I would suggest you play less to let it heal a bit first.
  9. charliefedererer

    charliefedererer Legend

    Feb 13, 2009
    Your tennis elbow is probably due to your arm not being in as good condition as usual returning from your ankle injury, plus the vibration from mishits as you return from that injury.

    Stop playing until the pain subsides. Pain=inflammation. There are micro tears in the tendon that need to heal. Just as the body starts to heal, you break the area down if you are hitting too soon.

    Start some rehab on your own to redevelop your arm after the pain subsides. Do these exercises:
    You may also want to get a Thera Band Flex Bar, as they are relatively inexpensive and seem to be helping many with tennis elbow:

    When your arm is better and you start up tennis again, keep the hitting sessions short at first and avoid serving the first few times out so as not to have an early relapse.

    Good luck.
  10. siata94

    siata94 Rookie

    Jan 3, 2007
    plenty of blame to go around:

    - too many mishits w/ 85" racket
    - gosen is not the softest string (avg for synth gut)
    - over use

    you can easily change the first 2 but it's much harder to stop playing or play less.

    there are tons of recs for rackets and nat gut. Give them a try.
  11. mikeler

    mikeler Moderator

    Sep 26, 2008
    Central Florida
    I tried the Gosen synthetic gut 17 for the first time 1.5 weeks ago. It broke in the 2nd set of play and boy was I glad. That was by far the hardest synthetic gut on my elbow. Personally, I find the Gamma synthetic gut to be quite soft on my elbow compared to Gosen or PSGD.
  12. OrangeOne

    OrangeOne Legend

    May 31, 2006
    Unless I've read something incorrectly, you've changed racquet from one to another. There's my key suspect right there... the change.

    BUT I'm not a physio, and even my physio, who is immensely qualified and has been treating me for a decade... will not diagnose me over the phone even, and yet there a bunch of people above me diagnosing you over the internet, and I'd bet dollars to cents that they aren't qualified sports physios (because if they were.... they wouldn't diagnose over the net!).

    IMHO: Go to a physio. Get checked out. Find the problem, resolve it. You only get one body. That is only IMHO.

Share This Page