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Old 07-26-2006, 02:23 PM   #1
Elliot Royce
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Not that the state of my shoulder and elbow is of particular concern to anyone, but my experience might be instructive in some way.

Almost 3 months ago, I gave myself an instant case of golfer's elbow by rotating my wrist forward while doing ring dips. Almost exactly a month ago, I followed up by giving myself rotator cuff tendonitis by overuse and poor form.

After cortisone injections in both areas, active release therapy and the passage of time, the pain has largely disappeared. I observed that, as the pain decreased in the original area, it seemed to move into surrounding areas or even non-contiguous areas and become more diffuse. So for instance on the elbow instead of being just on the inner point of the elbow, the pain moved along the under-forearm and could be massaged more effectively (the muscles felt like someone had been hitting them with a hammer but were more maleable). On the shoulder, I used a good book on trigger points to identify some areas where I could roll myself on a lacrosse ball. One such area was the outer side of the deltoid near the bony protrusion on the top of the shoulder. This was not where I felt the pain but the area there was extremely sensitive to massage.

My theory is that initial muscle tension prevents or hinders healing in the affected area but that as the muscle relaxes over time, it allows the toxins and other things that cause pain to move along the related muscles and thereby get healed by the body's natural healing mechanism. I was amazed at how painful some of the muscles could be weeks or months after provoking the original injury - this is a strange mechanism for the body to use but I guess it's a way of ensuring proper healing time.

I also learned that you can't rush it. I don't know yet whether there will be a recurrence but I do know that preventive maintenance and avoiding the problem is critical. No more 90lb snatches with poor form for me! And if you've got tendonitis, I would just back off. Every time I tried to work through it, it just got worse. I think the body needs to "reboot" that part and get the muscle and tendon rebuilt.

It's amazing how limiting (and annoying) tendonitis can be. The only unintended benefit is that I've been focusing on my legs since most upper body exercises have been out (try doing much without a shoulder or an elbow!).

Now I just need to get back into things slowly.
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Old 07-26-2006, 05:25 PM   #2
Joseph Hart
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I hear ya. I have tendonitis in opposite elbow and shoulder. I am trying to give them a little rest and work around them, but it is somewhat difficult.
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Old 07-27-2006, 05:22 AM   #3
Frank M Needham
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I also believe that finding some way to release tension in the affected area is key to healing. My knees had extreme tendonitis due to my job and fallen arches to the point that it was painful to just stand. Through doing deep squats held for up to 15' per stretch I found that the inflammation got broken up over time and to this day have permanent relief. I can't run the 10-15 miles I used to anymore but there are better ways to stay in shape anywho. Glad I found CF!
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Old 07-27-2006, 07:10 AM   #4
Bryan Edge
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Being only "medium-old" I find that I am still running into tendonitis problems. Since starting Crossfit my chief area was my left back/shoulder area. I had to treat it with cortisone and some heat.

My wrists also give me grief, though more due to childcare-related repettitive stress injuries (picking up kids and the like) than to Crossfit.

Now I'm contending with a bad elbow due to my starring role in Armbars Gone Wild, courtesy of my local BJJ school.

SO -- what exercises do you guys do when your wrists/elbows are acting up? What type of Crossfit WOD are you doing?

I'm having a heck of a time figuring out a way to keep Crossfit-style workouts when the type of exercises I can do is so limited. And after doing crossfit, extended runs (which I used to like) seem to bore me to tears any more.
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Old 07-27-2006, 08:22 AM   #5
Elliot Royce
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Bryan:

The easy answer is to do lower body work and there is plenty of that in CF. Many of us overemphasize the upper body (pecs, delts) anyway so think of the time off as focusing on your lower body. So many different lower body exercises you can do (squats of endless varieties, deadlifts, lunges, stepups, etc. etc.). Similarly, core training: abs of all different kinds, back work.

Using lifting straps may help on some of the upper body stuff: you could do some shrugs. It may also be time to go back to a few machines for rehab. But frankly, I think you're better spending your time on the lower body. They always say, if you want to build your chest, do squats, and I have to say that I haven't seen a huge reduction in my upper body strength from laying off (maybe a bit less pumped but easy enough to get back into it).

Avoid the dips, bench presses, stuff like that. You can try burpees if it doesn't bother the shoulder.

Also, do Tabata-style workouts on anything and you'll get CF benefits (credit to Keith W for suggesting this).

As you can see, there's plenty of stuff.
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Old 07-27-2006, 10:38 AM   #6
Bryan Edge
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Thanks Elliot. My first workout back was a 5x5 Back Squats, followed by 100 situps, 100 back extensions, and a 1 mile sprint. (I usually like to polish off just about every workout with a little rowing or running.) :-)

I'm reluctant to do much that involves the arms at all right now (even deadlifts), but that should ease up in 1-3 days. I'll figure out some circuits with lunges, box jumps, etc. Beyond regular old situps, I'm not sure I have a large reperotoire of ab/core work. I'll dig up some new ones.

We need some more "Legs only" WOD... :-)
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