Paddling and Tennis Elbow

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    • #7988
      • Total Posts: 69

      As some of you know I have been fighting this injury since last year.  When I first learned about TE, most websites said Recovery 12-18 months.  That sounded ridiculous, but here I am 14 months in and I am still recovering.  Injury began last year Oct 3-4 at the Gauley.  I had a brand new Werner Sidekick paddle (really stiff).  I got my first cortisone shot last New Years Eve 2015.  Not much help.  Got my second cortisone shot on April 1st.  Much improvement.   I sold my Werner Sidekick to Gary Cooper last May and bought and Advanced Technology AT Flexi2.   The shaft is much more flexible than the Werner.  Suppose to simulate a wood paddle.  Supposed to be easier on an old man’s Tendons and Ligaments.  By June I was feeling near 100%.  July was even better.  Turns out most people who get a cortisone shot for TE have a re-occurrence of the injury with in 6 months.  Turns out I am like most people.  I had a serious re-injury in July after cutting wood with a chainsaw for 2 days straight.   Hesitant to get a 3rd shot, this time I tried 3 rounds of acupuncture.  Really cool but not much help.  Wanted to be ready for Gauley 2016 so I went to Therapy.  Lots of visits, exercises,  and strengthening.  Feeling only slightly better for the Gauley I had to tape both arms for fear of another injury from overuse.  Especially since we did the Gauley Marathon on Sunday.  I managed to paddle just fine but continued with much pain on various arm and gripping usage afterwards.  Got my 3rd Cortisone shot in November.  Feeling much better.  Normal day to day use, there is no pain, but any extended usage of my right hand involve grip or lifting it quickly becomes sensitive to pain.  At this point, I am always nervous about another re-injury.  I won’t be paddling this Winter.  Going to Rest until March to hopefully let things heal.  Going to Alabama again in March.  I hope I am 100%

      FYI, the AT Flexi is a good paddle, but the blade area is smaller than the Werner and the blade shape doesn’t grip the water was well.   I miss the Werner but don’t think my body could survive using it again.

      SYOTR this Spring.


      • This topic was modified 7 years, 1 month ago by WillPaddle.
    • #7991
      • Total Posts: 418

      Hope for the best recovery man i really do ive been babyin a sholder injury from kayak sledding down the mountain last year and still isnt much better… well speedy recovery and hope to see you on the water!

    • #7997
      • Total Posts: 102

      Hey Will! Sorry to here about your tennis elbow.  I can relate having been plagued with shoulder problems for many years. Keep at the physical therapy, both strengthening and stretching.  I do PT year round and my shoulders are better than ever these days.  I also do a lot of repetitive motion gripping in the lab that can sometime give pain in the wrist and elbow. Stretching the fingers and thumbs 1, 2 and 3 at a time helps as well as self massage of the forearm.  Best of luck! Stay positive!


    • #7999
      • Total Posts: 557

      Never had elbow problems- even after an estimated 40 million strokes. Major shoulder problems, and my bionic shoulder looks like it is getting better every day. Not a fan of PT;  and cortisone will leave you worse off than before. The #1 thing I would do is get a very serious look from another paddler you trust at your “style” of paddling. You may be able to put a little effort into changing your stroke with big payoff down the road. Many of us don’t use elbows in our stroke.

      • This reply was modified 7 years, 1 month ago by McChuck. Reason: Having four grandchildren at once in your house is like living in a bowling alley
    • #8005
      • Total Posts: 69

      Here is some prior paddler history about TE from Mountain Buzz.

      It is really not the elbow that is of concern in paddling.  It is the grip.  When I paddle water with a lot of pucker
      (like the Gauley) I definitely over grip (non-stop).  That along with a stiff paddle puts tremendous strain on the tendons that control your grip.  My elbow joint itself is unaffected.  Its from gripping my paddle hard just like a tennis player grips a racket.  That along with no formal strengthening of my grip previously other than using a keyboard (haha).  I do lots of grip strengthening now, but am currently limited but how much pain is generated from the strengthening itself.

      See example below from Mountain Buzz.

      DON’T go buy a bent shaft.   It will not get rid of the problem. I have had tendonitis with both straight and bent shaft paddles. I’ve had it in both arms (at different times) with both straight and bent shafts. I am pretty sure the cause of mine has been the use of a stiff paddle, and maybe some overgripping. I’ve found the best method for dealing with the ailment is prevention through working opposing muscles (pushups, various forearm excercises, climbing, etc). The only time I’ve had the tendonitis pop up since adopting this has been after paddling 20+ days straight (which is unfortunately rare these days). And the only cure that I know of is rest. Although vitimin A before and after boating along with icing seems to help alot. But aside from repeating what everyone else has already said, my point is getting a bent shaft, from my experience will not alleviate the problem.

      Chris Morrison

      • This reply was modified 7 years, 1 month ago by WillPaddle.
    • #8043
      Vincent Swoboda
      • Total Posts: 23

      I once had TE in my right arm. The pain  was in the same location in my elbow that flexed when I tightened my grip on my paddle. I feel my problem was from overgripping.   I was able to eliminate my TE by switching to from a Werner straight shaft to Werner bent shaft. I feel that the reason this cured my problem was because I naturally hold a bent shaft with less gripping force. MY TE only returned upon using a straight shaft in several mile kayak race. After that I sold my straight shaft paddles and my problem never returned. I personally think it is worth a try.  I have discovered that it takes very little force to hold a paddle especially while doing the forward strokes. You do not even have to have your grasp around the shaft but just push with an open palm to paddle forward.

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