Thread: Tennis Elbow
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Old 01-24-2013, 08:07 AM   #2
Location: Massachusetts
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 3,056
Re: Tennis Elbow

I've got plenty of experience with tennis elbow, in both elbows. It's like any other tendinitis, in that it is aggravated by activities of daily living and not necessarily great big athletic feats or obvious trauma, and that it easily becomes chronic if not cared for properly. It can get bad enough that even trivial activities like picking up a very light weight can be extremely painful.

If you don't have much experience with soft tissue injuries, you'll probably make some mistakes about when it is "healed", and do at least some of your learning the hard way (if you learn at all; some people are stubborn and never do). I don't believe that total rest is really good for tennis elbow in most cases (maybe even all cases, since the activities of daily living that can aggravate inflammation are so many and so trivial, even if you're "resting" you're aggravating it). In my all-too-extensive experience, the solution is to control the range of motion, manage inflammation, restrict activities as needed, and be patient. Control the range of motion with a good tennis elbow strap, which I recommend wearing pretty much constantly at first, not just for athletic activity - it will provide the right amount of compression and restrict your range of motion just enough to reduce the aggravation of the elbow. Manage inflammation with your anti-inflammatory of your choice -- used properly as an anti-inflammatory, NOT as a pain reliever. Restrict activity by cutting out some things altogether (pull-ups are probably a bad idea) and reducing the intensity and duration of others (suburi is doable for many degrees of tennis elbow, but lots of suburi with a big fat club of a suburito is not). And patience, well, we all have to learn that one with injuries. Learn to monitor the injury, to become sensitive to its moods and to learn the subtle signs: at the point where you feel "ow, PAIN", you've long past overdone it. It will come around if you do the right thing; if you don't, you'll just keep cycling back to zero, or worse.
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