Tendinitis

Quit whining. Drink bourbon. Climb more.
Shamis
bottom feeder
Posts: 1343
Joined: Tue Jan 02, 2007 8:11 am

Re: Tendinitis

Post by Shamis » Fri Dec 16, 2011 3:24 pm

As I mentioned in my original post, I think stretching the biceps is important. The number one trigger for me when I start to get tennis elbow is really tight biceps.

I haven't found anything as telling for golf elbow. Ice/ibuprofen/rest days were the only solution I could find for that.

Doing a few pushups on off days definitely seems to help me, and warming up. A great way to combine the 2 is to do 10-20 pushups before you start climbing, it helps you warm up and it will get you into a routine of working some of the opposing muscles.

Shamis
bottom feeder
Posts: 1343
Joined: Tue Jan 02, 2007 8:11 am

Re: Tendinitis

Post by Shamis » Fri Dec 16, 2011 3:28 pm

Oh, I almost forgot. Never neglect to assess your work ergonomics when dealing with tendinitis. I really believe that poor ergonomics at work setup tightness in the muscles/tendons around the elbows which then quickly flares up into tendinitis when you go out climbing. All the more reason why you need a good warmup to help loosen things up before you get on anything hard.

One of the worst things for elbow tendinitis is using a crappy mouse. A dirty or unresponsive mouse will often lead to a lot of extra twitchy movement to get the mouse where you want it quickly. Make sure you have a good, clean, responsive mouse, preferably with an ergonomic shape. If you don't work on computers then look for other repetitive use that could trigger it. Typing on a crappy keyboard can also trigger it.

Kelly
Gumby
Gumby
Posts: 3
Joined: Sat Oct 23, 2010 12:19 am

Re: Tendinitis

Post by Kelly » Fri Dec 16, 2011 6:02 pm

In the hopes that it helps you, JeffCastro, I'll share my recent story. Sounds pretty similar to yours, I believe, minus the PT visit.

I just came back from ~3 months completely off of climbing to let my Tendonitis lighten up.

BACKSTORY:
I was glad to be climbing a bunch this Summer (all in the gym), and felt like I was really excited to be feeling stronger. Towards the end of summer, i started pushing it and overdoing it. On top of already frequent gym visits (~4 times a week, probably 15 hours/week avg of time spent in gym) I really overdid it one day. I spent an hour or two rope climbing stuff about two or three letter grades below my limit, then bouldered casually for about an hour, then got really psyched on a problem that was at my limit. At this point I didn't feel injured, just tired. I probably gave more than a dozen tries on the problem with almost no effective rest between goes (think 1 to 5 minutes, usually). Finally got the problem, and even though I felt tired, I felt strong, and psyched. I left the gym feeling tired, but not at all injured.

The next day I felt stiff, but still not injured. It wasn't until the next time I tried to climb that I realized I'd eff'ed up. A couple days after overdoing it, I got on something 2 number grades (8 letter grades) well below my limit. I could barely hold on to rest jugs without major discomfort bordering sharp pain. That was it for the day.

I tried to climb a few more times in the following days with the same result. Finally admitted to myself I'd developed a mild but persistent medial epicondylitis.

THERAPY/ REST:
I decided I was going to rest the elbow completely until it felt back to 99%. No climbing, no pullups, only very light activity with occasional low weight reverse wrist curls. If an activity caused any elbow pain, I didn't do it. I took Advil when my elbow felt stiff, and sometimes just because I was thinking about it. Tried to massage it often, but I certainly wasn't disciplined about it, and hardly ever iced it. I started jogging a lot more to stay active and also promote blood flow. No visits to a PT, but lots of looking around online for recommended therapy and lots of talking to friends who'd nursed tendonitis as well.

RECOVERY:
It's been about 4 months since the day I overdid it. The time away from climbing was a nice emotional break from a very addiciting and life-consuming activity, but I was psyched to feel well enough to return. I spent a week or two climbing nothing that was anywhere near my limit (think 8s and 9s instead of 12s). I still felt very slight stiffness, but it felt more like an atrophy thing that inflamation. After a few weeks of very casual climbing I started pushing the grade again. After ~3 weeks of that I feel like I'm getting back to where I was before the injury, but I still try to be very cautious and aware of how my elbow is responding to climbing at any difficult.

LESSONS LEARNED:
In hindsight, the tendonitis developed not because I was climbing, but because I was climbing too much, and with no discipline. The theory is entirely anecdotal, but I think that when my back muscles got tired from climbing all day, my tendon's started taking even more of the strain, and that's while they had already been worked hard that day. (In addition to the tendonitis, a feeling like some muscle/tendon/cord was out of place or loose around the back bottom of the shoulder/armpit -- if you put your left thumb in your right armpit and grasp that lump of muscle/tendons on the backside, thereabouts.)

There seem to be tons of suggestions for how to recover from tendonitis, and all forms of therapy, but I didn't see anything while researching that was a magic bullet, quick fix. The sound advice was always RICE. There seem to be plenty of expensive measures offered, but no really strong case for anything other than time-off and trying not to aggravate the inflamation.

So I think the key take-away is to focus on and preach prevention rather than recovery.
Preventative Rules I'm now living by:
1) Learn to take it easy. Climb and push grades without overdoing it. You only get stronger while resting.
2) Be paranoid about tendonitis. Warm up, stretch, exercise opposing muscles, etc...
3) Don't climb when tired or sore or in pain. Even tired back or core muscles seem to make it more likely that I'm going to bit unwarranted strain on the medial epicondyl

QUESTIONS FOR THE COMMUNITY:
1) Given that Medial Epicondylitis seems to be one of the most common injury among climbers, is there any single source/repository of information on RRC.com or elsewhere (a book specifically about Medial Epicondylitis) that people have found very informative and useful? (Think quality college biology textbook, only specifically for tendons and tendonitis, ideally medial epicondylitis specifically)

2) The thing I was wondering the whole time I was on the disabled list was that I feel like I almost never hear about pro (or even elite but not pro) climbers being disabled by tendonitis. Falls, broken bones, etc, sure... Does anyone have any theories and/or evidence about this? Are the elite just genetically less predisposed to tendonitis, and that's part of why they climb so hard? Are the elite more disciplined? They seem to climb more and climb harder than other climbers, I'd expect you'd be more likely to hear about injuries from climbers in the v10-v15 range rather than the v0-v9 range, but I definitely feel like per capita I hear more about injuries from average joe rather than perenial dirtbags or the elite, regardless of age, experience, etc.

3) When my neck is sore, my elbow seems to be flaring up more than usual, and vice versa. The inflamation/pain/tension from the elbow seems to extend down to my forearm and up my tricep, including the back side of my shoulder and in my neck. Has anyone else noticed this in their experience with tendonitis? Any physio-therapists in the community that can talk smart about how muscles/tendons/ligaments etc are connected? Could Neck/Shoulder massages help alleviate / prevent tendonitis?


ANYWAYS, sorry if this rambled on, but tendonitis sucks, and it gives you a lot to think/talk/commisserate about. I'd love to see RedRiverClimbing.com provide a solid repository full of quality anecdotes and links to reputable info sources for the prevention and treatment of medial epicondylitis. (Though SCIN may have that completely covered with the link to the Colin McNulty/Todd Scott respources,http://www.colinmcnulty.com/blog/2008/0 ... ondylitis/) I bet there's too many blockheads like me out there without the intelligence or self-control to worry about preventing tendonitis unless the community over-emphasizes it.


Kris, I'd love to hear more about how youve been using the Flexbar. How long? How have you used it? What makes you think its been effective?

Andrew and Bcombs, where'd you guys learn about sleeping with your arms straight to prevent/recover from tendonitis? Is this anecdotal, our are there studies to back it up? It's an interesting idea!

Andrew
Happy Tee Hee
Posts: 3814
Joined: Mon Oct 07, 2002 5:40 pm
Location: Cinci

Re: Tendinitis

Post by Andrew » Fri Dec 16, 2011 6:23 pm

I bet you would have recovered will still climbing full time if you slept with your arms straight. I only have anecdotal evidence, but I don't know of anyone who it hasn't worked for, but I do know a few people who refused to do it. They still suffer through tendonitis.
Living the dream

KD
Pooparazzo
Posts: 3163
Joined: Sun Dec 14, 2003 9:21 pm
Location: Under the sky so blue

Re: Tendinitis

Post by KD » Fri Dec 16, 2011 6:59 pm

I have tennis elbow in both elbows and my threapist gave me excercises to help and it worked. Try using threabands they are great! Build up you forearms to take the stress from your elbows. I still get flare-ups but not like it was.

User avatar
pigsteak
The Crocodile Hunter
The Crocodile Hunter
Posts: 9684
Joined: Tue Jun 17, 2003 2:49 pm
Location: Like Prince my name has now changed..please call me Piglovely.

Re: Tendinitis

Post by pigsteak » Fri Dec 16, 2011 11:21 pm

man you guys are old and crotchety.
Positive vibes brah...positive vibes.

KD
Pooparazzo
Posts: 3163
Joined: Sun Dec 14, 2003 9:21 pm
Location: Under the sky so blue

Re: Tendinitis

Post by KD » Sat Dec 17, 2011 12:57 am

i was working on the house with scaffolding. while raising it up another level, I felt a bump swell in my wrist - damn ganglian cyst is what the Dr later told me. So... yeah, I guess I am.

512OW
Master of My Own Reality
Posts: 3040
Joined: Mon Oct 21, 2002 5:43 pm
Location: steadily moving up the points list...
Contact:

Re: Tendinitis

Post by 512OW » Sat Dec 17, 2011 1:57 am

Kelly wrote:

Kris, I'd love to hear more about how youve been using the Flexbar. How long? How have you used it? What makes you think its been effective?
Kelly, for how, I pretty much followed the directions that the manufacturer gives. How long? During bouldering season, nearly daily. Sometimes as a preventative measure, and always post workout. I tried using it to warm up... didn't seem to help me. During route season I don't touch it unless I'm doing a strength or power phase in the gym. I use the green one.

Before using it, my elbows got so bad I could barely stand it. Lots of ibuprofen. After only a few weeks, and without taking any time off, it was mostly cleared up. Now, I only feel little twinges when doing alot of compression climbing.

As far as that sleeping with your arms straight business... did nothing for me. I sleep with my arms bent, and the flexbar cured it anyway.
"Sticking feathers up your butt does not make you a chicken."
-Tyler Durden

www.odubmusic.com

User avatar
pigsteak
The Crocodile Hunter
The Crocodile Hunter
Posts: 9684
Joined: Tue Jun 17, 2003 2:49 pm
Location: Like Prince my name has now changed..please call me Piglovely.

Re: Tendinitis

Post by pigsteak » Sat Dec 17, 2011 10:18 am

my wifey informed me just now it is not so much about the position of your elbow (sleeping with straight arms) but the position of your wrist that is more important. when I had this issues a year or so ago, she made me a wrist brace and it helped the elbow....go figure. since she is a therapist, I'll take her word for it.
Positive vibes brah...positive vibes.

Shamis
bottom feeder
Posts: 1343
Joined: Tue Jan 02, 2007 8:11 am

Re: Tendinitis

Post by Shamis » Sun Dec 18, 2011 9:02 pm

pigsteak wrote:my wifey informed me just now it is not so much about the position of your elbow (sleeping with straight arms) but the position of your wrist that is more important. when I had this issues a year or so ago, she made me a wrist brace and it helped the elbow....go figure. since she is a therapist, I'll take her word for it.
Seems like something a hand therapist would say ;)

Shamis
bottom feeder
Posts: 1343
Joined: Tue Jan 02, 2007 8:11 am

Re: Tendinitis

Post by Shamis » Sun Dec 18, 2011 9:05 pm

I think i'm gonna order one of these flexbar's. I've increased my bouldering workouts and I'm getting the twinge.

User avatar
pigsteak
The Crocodile Hunter
The Crocodile Hunter
Posts: 9684
Joined: Tue Jun 17, 2003 2:49 pm
Location: Like Prince my name has now changed..please call me Piglovely.

Re: Tendinitis

Post by pigsteak » Sun Dec 18, 2011 9:08 pm

no doubt....lol
Positive vibes brah...positive vibes.

crazyhair
Gumby
Gumby
Posts: 88
Joined: Wed May 25, 2011 7:36 pm
Location: Wolfe County

Re: Tendinitis

Post by crazyhair » Tue Dec 20, 2011 5:19 pm

Not sure if this would help with Tendinitis- but it couldn't hurt and seems to be a good workout. http://www.dpmclimbing.com/articles/vie ... should-do/

KD
Pooparazzo
Posts: 3163
Joined: Sun Dec 14, 2003 9:21 pm
Location: Under the sky so blue

Re: Tendinitis

Post by KD » Tue Dec 20, 2011 6:17 pm

Drugs are real nice too.

Shamis
bottom feeder
Posts: 1343
Joined: Tue Jan 02, 2007 8:11 am

Re: Tendinitis

Post by Shamis » Fri Dec 23, 2011 3:21 pm

I ordered a green flexbar, i did a bunch of the exercises and they all felt too easy to me, so I just ordered the blue one. Green might work if I was having a bad flairup, but I'm looking at more preventative measures now, and I think blue might do that.

I'm guessing the color you need may depend on your weight, being a fatty, I'm going for big blue.

Post Reply