Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Tennis Elbow

After I've built my boat, after I've drifted with the currents of Buzzards Bay, after I've tested water and pumped out poop and greeted visitors for the Buzzards Bay Coalition, and after I've spent two years rowing with the New Bedford Community Rowers -- Then I will go to the spot where my great-great-great-great grandfather's body was found and row across Buzzards Bay to his home town.

This will be a huge undertaking. And one of the biggest challenges is building the physicality necessary. It has been and continues to be a very slow process. Last fall, I dealt with tendonitis in my right elbow. Now it's struck in my left. I slowed down my rowing work-outs to twice a week. Then, last week, I reduced them to zero. Again, this week, I can not row.

Unfortunately, my bargain health insurance does not cover physical therapy. So I am using internet research to find exercises that will get me back on track. I have less than a year until my big row. So I am feeling some urgency. These look good:
Rehab For Tennis Elbow: The Super 7
The "super 7” exercises are an important part of treatment for tennis elbow. They are designed to strengthen the muscles in the forearm and increase flexibility through stretching. In most cases te these exercises will help relieve elbow pain in about 4 to 6 week Each stretching exercise is held for 15 seconds and repeated 2 or 3 times. This pattern is repeated 5 times a day.
Exercise 1. Stretching the muscles that extend the wrist (extensor muscles): Straighten the arm out fully and push the palm of the hand down so you feel a stretch across the top of the forearm.
Exercise 2. Stretching the muscles that flex the wrist (flexor muscles): straighten the arm out fully (palm side up), and push the palm downward to stretch. Strengthening exercises are performed twice a day following the stretching exercises. To perform these exercises, the patient sits in a chair with the elbow supported on the edge of a table or on the arm of the chair the wrist hanging over the edge. Use a light weight such as a hammer or soup can when performing the strengthening exercises. Repeat the exercises 30 to 50 times, twice a day, but do not push yourself beyond the point of pain.
Exercise 3. Strengthening wrist extensor muscles: Hold the weight in the hand with the palm facing down. Extend the wrist upward so that it is pulled back. Hold this position for 2 seconds and then lower slowly.
Exercise 4. Strengthening wrist flexor muscles: Hold the weight in the hand with the palm up. Pull the wrist up, hold for 2 seconds and lower slowly.
Exercise 5. Strengthening the muscles that move the wrist from side to side (deviator muscles): Hold the weight in the hand with the thumb pointing up. Move the wrist up and down, much like hammering a nail. All motion should occur at the wrist.
Exercise 6. Strengthening the muscles that twist the wrist (pronator and supinator muscles): Hold the weight in the hand with the thumb pointing up. Turn the wrist inward as far as possible and then outward as far as possible. Hold for 2 seconds and repeat as much as pain allows, up to 50 repetitions.
Exercise 7. Massage is performed over the area of soreness. Apply firm pressure using 2 fingers on the area of pain and rub for 5 minutes. 
If exercise aggravates any of your symptoms, contact a physician or physical therapist These exercises can be used to prevent or rehabilitate injuries in people who play sports or in those who do repetitive forearm work.
Tim L. Uhl, P.T., A.T.,C.